Close Third All searches on Google have a local target – that is, the searcher is looking for something that is nearby or located in a specific area.
Often (but now always) when Google determines that a local intent exists, it will display the best local results in the map package above the search results.
Companies can appear in organic search results for queries with local intent as well.
How close is the researcher actually to the business impact ratings? let’s see.
Claim: Physical proximity to the researcher is a ranking factor
The idea here is that the distance between the actual location of the business and the searcher is a key ranking factor in local search.
Evidence of physical proximity as a ranking factor
Researcher proximity to the workplace has dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the Moz industry List based on survey of local search ranking factors in 2020.
This is not just a common belief among SEO professionals.
The Google Tell us flat This affinity is one of the three main factors in determining local search ranking:
Local results are primarily based on relevance, distance, and popularity. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search.
“Distance takes into account how far each potential search result is from the location term used in the search. If a user does not specify a location in their search, we will calculate the distance based on what we know about their location.”
Why would Google show someone a list of pizzerias in Toronto, Canada, if they’re just wandering the streets of Medellin, Colombia, looking for a slice?
The big question for SEO professionals and local business owners is, how do you make your site visible to Google to ensure that you appear in relevant search results?
There are some concrete ways:
- Ensure citations are accurate (local lists) And that your business appears where people search for local products, services, etc.
- Claim And verification for you Google My Business listing.
- Get a Google Maps API key and improving venues and itineraries to provide researchers with a richer, more immersive experience.
- for service area companies, Make sure your profile is set up correctly In order not to violate Google’s guidelines for properly presenting the business.
Show closeness without physical proximity
Moreover, you can help Google understand the context of your site for relevant local queries and also improve the experience of your potential customers with content improvements.
For example, Google might be aware of your location’s map pin and realize that your location is at the crossroads of First Ave and Lyon St S in Ottawa.
Google knows this neighborhood is called The Glebe, so you’re already optimizing for searches like [restaurants in the glebe] And [dinner nearby] If the researcher is close to your actual location by virtue of having a GMB verified profile and accurate citations.
But – to borrow a few examples from sports – what about it [dinner before the Jay’s game]?
or what about [senators game dinner]?
I’m nowhere near the cities these two teams play in, and the query doesn’t have enough local intent to draw a MapPack.
But maybe I’ll be heading there tomorrow.
So who will help me find dinner?
The first restaurant I find in the top 10 organic Google results for the Senators example isn’t even a website or local menu; It’s a Facebook post:
It’s a clever play on what’s happening locally in your blog posts, GMB posts, social media, etc.
Here is another example of demonstrating proximity to a searcher’s need when you are not physically near the searcher at the time of the query, yet you are physically close to the need:
OSSO Restaurant uses video to appear at position zero of the search results for this locally relevant query even though I am currently 1,550 miles away.
If you want to get in front of searchers who plan but aren’t in your immediate neighborhood yet, create relevant content locally.
Physical proximity to the researcher: our judgment
Yes, Google uses proximity/distance as a search ranking signal.
It’s important not to leave it to Google to highlight only your business where the searcher explicitly uses the term location or Google can figure out where they are.
Include local organizations, sports teams, neighborhoods, or activities in your content so Google has more ways to tell if you’re actually close to a searcher’s need.
Think about customer personalities and the problems you might be able to solve for different types of people.
Make sure you’re incorporating local information into your content where it makes sense so that Google can tell you to fulfill any local intent.
Featured image: Robin Biong / Search Engine Journal