Local search is a hot topic at the moment and now the focus is moving beyond just getting a local listing for your business. With major search engines like Google and Yahoo! displaying local listings in the main search results, the challenge for businesses is to get their local listing ranking above competitors. Below I look at some of the factors that can help your business improve its local ranking.
The top 3 local listings for any local searches are now appearing at the top of normal search results on Google.com and Yahoo.com. This means that by ranking high for the local search “Plumber San Jose” in Google or Yahoo! local, you will also appear at the top of the organic search results – a place every local business would love to rank!
I decided to do some research on some of the top listings in order to find out what factors Google Local uses to rank its local results.
Investigation 1 – “Restaurant San Jose”
1 Business’s receiving details from multiple sources tend to rank higher than others. This means that you should have your business listing in multiple local search engines including Super Pages and Insider Pages.
2 Surprisingly the top 4 results belonged to restaurants in well known hotels. This could mean that Google places more trust on established hotels and therefore ranking them higher.
3 Yelp.com is one of Google Local’s main providers for restaurant reviews.
Investigation 2 – “Plumber San Jose”
1 A business listing with a URL associated to it seems to rank higher than one with no URL.
2 A business listing with more web pages linking to it seems to rank higher than those with fewer inbound links.
Investigation 3 – “Window Tinting San Jose”
1 All business listings that contained information in their details section came from Super Pages.com and the top listing had multiple sources providing business information.
2 Having the “search term” contained in your business name does not necessarily mean it will help your ranking, but it does help to make your listing stand out in the results (visually).
While the small sample I’ve investigated is probably not conclusive, I believe that in order to rank well in Google Local you need an up-to-date enhanced local listing in as many local search engines and directories as possible.
Local listings with the most reviews didn’t necessarily get the top ranking, but these enhanced elements of a local listing surely play a role in Google’s algorithm.
One thing I have not yet explored (that may affect the way Google Local ranks listings) is the number of links and the quality of the web pages (Page Rank) linking to a listing. In my next article I will post my findings.