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When it comes to boosting your brand or business website, one of the most important strategies to focus on is SEO. However, we often view SEO as a large-scale push across different cities, regions, or countries. This is referred to as “National SEO”.
But, what if I told you there are organic local SEO ranking factors that can help gain visibility among local searches for your products or services?
There are a few factors or “signals” that determined Google’s algorithm, and how content is ranked and organized in search engines. These signals trigger the algorithm to categorize them based on relevance and importance.
National SEO vs. Local SEO
As mentioned above, large-scale SEO is known as national SEO.
“National SEO is the process of optimizing a website for Google search results to achieve higher rankings for keywords or phrases relevant to a business’s products or services. National SEO is aimed at companies with nationwide reach, as opposed to businesses with a local or regional focus.”Source: Forbes
On the other hand, local SEO is aimed towards local businesses, that have specific keywords or phrases to attract local customers.
Therefore, the biggest differences between national and local SEO are the target audience and keyword research. Whereas larger companies need to target a larger audience across different regions, local businesses need to target local audiences.
This goes with keyword research as well. National SEO includes keywords and phrases that broadly define their products or services, usually leaving out any geographical words. Local SEO on the other hand, may include phrases to define the region. For example, the local keywords may be something such as, “bookstore near me” or “bookstores in Boston.”
There may also be differences in website designs for national SEO brands and local SEO brands. Whereas national SEO websites aim to attract as many people as possible, local SEO sites want to engage their local community, meaning there may be a higher emphasis on the location, phone number, and name.
Local SEO Factors in 2023
Okay, so now let’s get into the local SEO factors, that determine what triggers Google’s algorithm to rank local search results. This can help your business decide what to focus on, to better position your business and gain visibility.
Whitespark compiled a 2023 Local Search Ranking Factors report in which they surveyed the top experts in local search to determine what is local SEO in terms of rankings and conversions.
Although there are over 100 potential factors in Google’s algorithm that trigger rankings, there are only a handful of factors that impact businesses’ rankings the most.
The top local organic SEO ranking factors in 2023 are the following:
- On-page signals: name, address, phone, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.
- Link signals: inbound links, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.
- Behavioral signals: click-through rate, mobile clicks, dwell time, etc.
- Google Business Profile signals: proximity, categories, keywords in the business name, etc.
- Personalization: search history, search location, device, etc.
- Citation signals: location data, name, address, phone, citation volume, etc.
- Review signals: external reviews, review quantity, review count, etc.
What’s the Difference Between Local Pack and Local Organic Factors?
As you can see in the pie charts above, there are local pack/finder ranking factors, and local organic ranking factors.
Local pack/finder results include all of the Google Business Profiles. These are the businesses that appear next to Google Maps.
Local organic results are all the classic blue links that appear under maps, and the advertised businesses.
So, What Does This Mean?
Now that the technical part is over, let’s jump into how these factors are important and how your business can utilize these to better position your website, and ultimately reach more customers.
If we look at this graph of ranking factors over time, we can see that compared to 2021, Google Business Profile and link signals have slightly decreased, while on-page and behavioral signals have increased.
This means that whereas many businesses are still utilizing GBP for SEO purposes, more and more brands are focusing on creating content for their website that is both optimized and of high quality.
Businesses are still revamping their Google Business Profiles, however now with a push to increase behavioral actions and signals.
Want to easily manage your Google Business Profile? With Metricool, we make it easy. Schedule content, reply to reviews, and analyze performance, all in one place. Learn more about it here.