The 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors

What you need to know to rank in Google’s local results

Local Organic Individual Ranking Factors

The local organic results are the blue links under the local pack. In this section, I ask the local search experts:

Which individual factors do you think have the biggest impact on localized organic rankings?

Here are the top 20 local organic ranking factors, as ranked by the local search experts:

What the Local Search Experts are Saying...

“Specifically though, focused on making sure GMB landing pages (and linked pages) are extremely thought out in terms of content, UX, conversion, etc. From there, earning links to these pages. Which is hard. Really hard. But worth it. Doing that through earned media and outreach. And we fail a lot. Not afraid to admit that. But baby, when we win, we win big with those links.”

David DiGregorio

Sterling Sky

“Content pruning. Taking a site that has hundreds of pages with no traffic and consolidating them into less pages that actually get traction can have very powerful results. Updating content that gets traffic and conversions to make sure it’s accurate and is capitalizing on all the long-tail keyword variations is crucial. Having a proper internal linking strategy is like an SEO goldmine.”

Joy Hawkins

Sterling Sky

Internal linking is so important, creating content silos, hub and spoke pages, especially for location-specific pages still works very, very well. Remember to link your “related” blogs to your pages and your pages to your blogs so Google can understand the connection and how these pages are relevant.

Sprinkling the term “near me” on specific service area location pages seems to be having a good effect at the moment. For example, if someone searches for “personal injury lawyer near me” and we have something like “Is your personal injury lawyer near me?”, on the personal injury page. Remember, Google typically knows where you are searching from, so organically Google will show you, below the local pack, companies that are near you (suburb, town, city). So we’ve found that our geo-focused location services pages, which contain some kind of “near me” message have been ranking quite well, usually within a 1 or 2 miles radius of the searcher. But as with everything, it depends, so test this one and see how it works for you.”

Andy Simpson

Digital Law Marketing

“Overall focusing on providing locally relevant and valuable content that your users want and need. The goal has always been to provide valuable content that will ultimately help a business’s clients or customers. I’ve found by focusing on the customers first, including location keywords, improving title tags and headings, and closing locally relevant content gaps can make a big difference.”

Liz Linder

Kick Point

“Really understanding the intent of a keyword and producing content to match the intent has been resulting in good ranking gains. Implementing traditional hub-and-spoke topic clusters that include quality internal linking strategies. We’ve also been really focusing on driving higher CTR’s with Rich Results (Product schema, FAQ, and Primary Image Of Page).”

Blake Denman

RicketyRoo Inc.

“Simplifying the main menu of the site to include only important category/service pages, and linking to subpages from those category pages (instead of trying to put the sub pages in the main menu).”

Yan Gilbert

Sterling Sky

“Treat every business as a service-area business. Yes, even if your or your client’s business is bricks-and-mortar. That means at least a few things. Make sure the footer, homepage, any “locations” pages, and extra-important “service” pages list the highest-priority communities you serve. Optimize your homepage and “Areas Service” or “Locations” page for “near you” terms.”

Phil Rozek

Local Visibility System LLC

“Creating city/state specific service/product pages for enterprise business with unique content to rank for services/products in local areas. Links. Internal linking between important sections of the website.”

Rachel Anderson

Local SEO Guide