The local business you own or work for had a website built, but potential customers/clients are not finding you online. To extend your businesses reach beyond word of mouth marketing, the next step is to have your business rank locally by appearing at the top of local search results.
With around 80% of disposable income in the US spent within 20 minutes of home, it’s incredibly important to rank well locally.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the more common questions about Google Local Rank Tracking, as well as look at some of the ways you can easily improve your local seo ranking.
We’ll also tackle the ongoing discussion around Local Pack vs. Organic and the various factors influencing both.
Keep reading for our guide to Google local rank tracking and learn how to keep your local business in front of customers.
What Is Google Local Rank Tracking and Why Is It Important?
Google local rank tracking is designed to help you know how your website ranks for a given location and keywords.
It allows you to see the clicks and impressions your site gets from Google’s search results (SERPs) and shows other sites that may be competing with you to reach those top spots.
Tracking and analyzing your local rank is just as important as tracking and analyzing your overall site-wide SEO. In fact, a good local SEO rank tracker for Google will give you insight into your business that could prove invaluable.
Google updates the local algorithm fairly often. As a result, signals you previously worked hard to monitor may no longer be relevant. Part of the challenge of ranking highly for Google Local is keeping up with the constant fluctuations in the SERPs.
Organic Ranking vs. Local Pack Ranking
Organic ranking refers to results that are not ad or spend-driven. In other words, areas on your website which users found organically through search, rather than a direct effort on your part. Organic ranking is sought after as it does not incur a direct cost to businesses for traffic.
Above organic search results is the Local Pack, which is the small section of local businesses that are shown alongside maps, directions, and other relevant links as a result of a query. This area is coveted as it is highly visual because it appears atop organic search results.
Although strategies for marketing vary between Local Pack and Organic Ranking, there are several categories that overlap. Businesses find that a combined approach that adequately deals with both local and organic tends to produce better results over the long term.
Nevertheless, you may find that you have to make a choice over which area to focus on. Depending on your specific business needs, your keyword research may need to lean towards optimization for one or the other.
How to Track Google Local Rank
Firstly, we should note that Google has rebranded “Google My Business” to “Google Business Profile.” Consequently, any reference to GMB has been changed to GBP from 2022 onwards.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up a Google Business Profile (GBP) and optimize the information found there. You will also need to make sure your GBP appears in Google’s organic SERPs; this is done through Google local rank tracking.
Ultimately, Google Local Rank should form part of your comprehensive marketing strategy. The impact of local ranking on your business cannot be overstated. It can mean the difference between constant, high-quality traffic and a stagnating SEO profile.
Factors That Influence Google Local Rank
There are many factors that can influence local seo ranking, and they change constantly. The general trend shows that the importance of Citations and Links has dropped year on year since 2013. Conversely, the relative importance of GBP and reviews has gone up, indicating Google’s focus on user-relevant content and quality.
Your marketing and SEO strategies should, at minimum, focus on the following factors:
- Accurate information
- Google Business Profile
- Quantity and relevance of citations
- Quality and quantity of inbound links to your website
- The volume and quality of reviews on your Google Business Profile
- Relevant optimization
Well-designed and accurate information is critical to the success of your local business. A potential client who is unable to find your business due to an outdated address or incorrect contact information is a lost sale.
Moreover, having the right information on your Google Business Profile is likely to influence Google local rank more than many other factors. Keeping this information up to date and relevant to current high-ranking queries is an excellent investment of your time.
In reference to local SEO, citations refer to mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) that appear on a website you do not own. Higher-quality websites that carry your NAP have a greater influence on your citation ranking.
Google Business Profile
We have already stressed to some extent the importance of your GBP to your local ranking. Emerging trends show that the influence of GBP is likely to grow for the foreseeable future.
Predictably, the following GMB local rank factors that have the highest relevance are those most important to the user:
- Primary category
- Keywords in business title
- Proximity to the user
- Physical address
- Any extra GBP categories
Again, Google’s focus has shifted more towards the perceived value of information to users. Users around the world have found reviews useful, and so, we find that this factor has increased in importance. Particularly, review signals to watch out for include:
Velocity in this context refers to the frequency at which visitors leave reviews. Older or “stale” reviews will likely result in lower rankings in both the local pack and organic. You should be regularly reaching out to clients to generate a constant influx of high-quality reviews.
Ordinarily, quality backlinks would be an obvious category to focus on when developing your local rank strategy. However, depending on your marketing focus, you may find that links may not yield as high a return as before.
While links are still very highly ranked for Organic search, their importance for Local Pack ranking has been dropping steadily since 2017.
Optimization of your properties for both local and regular SEO is one of the most important factors to consider. This includes making sure that you pay attention to at the very least:
- NAP data
- Keyword use in titles
- Domain authority
As always, the volume of quality content on your site makes a significant difference to both your Local Pack and Organic rankings. Constant keyword research and tailoring your content to the target audience are essential in this category.
Get a Google Local Rank Tracking Strategy
Each year, Google increases the importance of proximity to users in Local SEO. This critical factor means that your marketing strategy needs to take local into account.
Let our experts help you to navigate the complexities of Google Local Rank Tracking. Contact us today for a free assessment and further consultation.