2017 Local Search Ranking Factors

March 10, 2017

Collective Measures

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Proximity is top local ranking factor

The 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors report was unveiled this week at MozCon by Darren Shaw, founder of Whitespark. The annual report summarized qualitative and quantitative input from industry experts and keyword data samples.

The main takeaway? Google local search rankings are more personalized, holistic, competitive, and valuable than ever before.

local search ranking factors


Per the report, the top five ranking factors for Google’s local search algorithm are:

1. Proximity of address to the searcher – How physically close is the customer to your business at their time of search?

2. Physical business address in the searcher’s city – Is the business close to the city where the searcher is located?

3. Accurate categories in Google My Business – Is the business defined properly in Google’s local listing management platform?

4. Backlink authority – Are the links pointing to this business’s website trusted, valued, and visited by potential customers in the area?

5. Citation consistency – Is the business’s information accurate on non-Google websites, such as Yelp, Facebook, and Apple Maps?

What it means for marketers 

The top two ranking factors make localized content crucial for success. Google’s top two local ranking considerations are uncontrollable barriers to consistent local search visibility. A simple location page is no longer enough to rank for local search, as Google expects your business to feature content relevant to the unique needs of each market. 

Google increasingly cares about a business’s local footprint. Any customer looking for a local business is going to care about that business’s impact on their community. Active marketing at the local level is critical for building a positive reputation that leads to local search visibility.

Local link building is the new public relations. Google pays attention to your presence on local websites, news organizations, and business directories. Businesses need a strong foundation of links promoting local business awards, events, and other community-based activities.

SOURCE: Whitespark

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