Top 5 Local Search Ranking Factors + 1 Bonus Tip

Search Ranking Factors

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

March 6, 2022

Google’s Local Map Pack results are highly sought after, but have you ever pondered how to get your company to appear in them? The top three positions in Google Map Pack are won by combining the six most important ranking factors that we’ll examine today.

Moz released a study in 2018 analysing which components had the most influence on your organic and map pack rankings when it comes to ranking factors. Although the ability to rank in the top 10 organic search results and the top three are identical, Google’s algorithm regards rankings differently. Thus, it is not a guarantee.

Because of the Moz research, I highly recommend checking how much weight each component has for the two different ranking results.

According to the Moz analysis, these were the most important ranking factors (top = most important):

  • Set up an account on the Google My Business website
  • Backlinks are a second factor.
  • Recommendations
  • On the Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The following are examples of citations:

Indicators of behavioural patterns

To help you rank your law firm or other small, local business locally, we’ll break down each of these traits and provide you with a summary of what you need to accomplish.

It’s possible to rank for many of your target keywords by concentrating on only these six critical elements, but their piece covers a lot more than that.

#1: CREATE AND OPTIMIZE A GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING

Google’s Map Pack ranking relies heavily on your GMB (Google My Business) listing signals, so make sure you have them all. Why?

Every business in the Map Pack has a Google My Business page. This list might have been created by you or someone in your business. Alternatively, it’s possible Google came up with the idea independently.

These citations (as we’ll discuss later) appear when Google searches the web. Let’s say Google detects enough citations with similar and consistent information about your organization, such as your website, location, name, and phone number. Then it will be confident enough to include it in a listing.

You could find something like this if you search for your company’s name on Google:

If you choose “Own this business?” from the drop-down menu, a mailer will be sent to the address you provide on your GMB profile, asking you to verify your ownership of the company. Ensure you have access to the mailbox if you verify this location.

Check out our advice on setting up and optimizing your Google My Business page.

For the most part, your GMB listing’s success will be affected by the following factors:

  • Consistent implementation of the NAP
  • Category & Services
  • Distance from Search Location (or Search Location)

There is a lot of useful information in this article on Google My Business (GMB) listings and how they are used in local search results.

#2: To get high-quality backlinks

Regarding organic search rankings, link signals are the most important factor. Even if you’re a little business or a local law firm, you’ll need to do some link building, but it won’t be nearly as intensive as it is for large corporations. Is there a lot of competition?

One or two orders of magnitude separate the two groups in connection abundance. In the end, it’s all about how well you can connect with other people. If you want to understand more about the connections that every lawyer and law company should have, look at this page.

It’s best to focus on two sorts of linkages:

  1. Local business directories
  2. Connections between the Law and Society

Links to local directories are what we mean by “citations.” Other laws and society ties include websites like Law & Society, Legal Directory, and Law Blog. A prior piece highlighted the kinds of sites where you could find backlink opportunities for those kinds of connections.

If you operate a small business in a different professional services niche, you’ll likely find directories specific to your sector.

It’s an honor to appear in the search results since it shows Google that your business and the products and services it offers have merit. If Google has a high degree of confidence in your organization, it is more likely to rank it highly on the map pack.

#3: REQUEST REVIEWS

It’s the third most important factor on the list. Reviews are becoming more important for end-users seeking due diligence on the right business partner, ree algorithms, on the other hand, like it since it provides a solid base from which to work.

Though bots and fake reviews are still prevalent, search engines like Google, Bing, and Facebook are increasing their capacity to tell the difference between genuine and fake reviews… They’re just going to become better with time. If the current rankings are anything to go by, this will have a significant effect on the rankings in the future.

QUIZ: TELL ME WHAT MAKES A GOOD REVIEW

More than ninety percent of online shoppers consult customer evaluations before making a purchasing decision. This is a ten out of ten ratings. In contrast, a lengthy review board is much more important.

Your evaluations are ranked according to the number of words they include. More in-depth reviews appear first. Rather than being constrained by the publication date or star rating, buyers may read depending on their narrative and experience.

Customers benefit from it, and it also helps Google award a quality score, which is used to assess whether a real person or a robot authored the review.

It is almost certain that clients who have been impressed by your level of customer service and the quality of your work on their legal matters will leave you with a plethora of testimonials. So make it concise and nice, since some people will appreciate how much you cared about assisting them out of that predicament.

Not all of your reviews will be sent at once.

Google will also consider the speed at which reviews are being submitted. You can see how often and at what rate your customers review your service. Having a lot of reviews in a short time might make Google assume you’re doing something incorrectly. For those who obey the rules, I wouldn’t worry about it.

The ideal strategy is to build a client review email list and distribute it over time. Our 30 percent conversion rate suggests that three out of every ten consumers who ask would post a review. Thus, we recommend sending out 3-4 emails each week for each review you hope to get.

When it comes to building an email list, how do I go about it?

We create a list of potential customers from whom to get feedback most of the time. To protect our customers’ privacy, we provide an Excel template to keep track of their lists. Name, email address, date of contact, kind of review sought, and evaluation time is all included in this form.

WHERE SHOULD I SEEK REVIEWS FOR MY COMPANY?

Online evaluations of local companies may be found on a slew of different sites and services. However, Google, Facebook, and Yelp need your whole attention and focus. How to get previous customers to post positive evaluations will also be covered.

GOOGLE CRITICISM REVIEWS

Google is the most important since these reviews will come first and immediately in your GMB ranking. Achieving objective feedback on your work is easier than you would think. We assist law firms in obtaining more complimentary comments from their clients. Every time they send out a review request to a client, they have to work with a template we provide them.

A connection to your Google My Business page is an easy process. To encourage consumers to leave a review, the email template contains a link that directs them to a website like this. For further information, see the Google help page.

Lawyers may expect to get an increasing number of favorable reviews if they perform an excellent job for their clients, according to my experience. All they’ll need is an email account with Gmail to leave a review. The purpose of this is so that Google can check the authenticity of reviews on their site. Despite what you would think, we’ve found that when our lawyers ask their clients to assess them on Google, we typically get a 30% conversion rate. Making the connection as smooth and friendly as possible is the most important part.

BE AWARE OF FACEBOOK REVIEWS AS THEY COME IN

The impact of Facebook reviews cannot be overstated. However, in comparison to Google’s review of your map pack rating, they are a distant second. As a direct consequence of positive Google reviews, the rankings of both of our law firms have risen dramatically. However, client evaluations on social media sites like Facebook and Yelp are still considered when determining search engine rankings. On your Google page, it displays under the headline “Reviews from the web.”

It is not necessary to have a Gmail account to ask previous consumers for Facebook evaluation advantages. We recommend that our clients connect their consumers to facebook.com/pg/BusinessName/reviews. They’ve probably already joined Facebook.

They may be able to write a review straight away if they’re already connected to Facebook on the device they get the email on.

Before the Facebook move to Recommendations, this article was written. Be aware that the URL pattern we stated before may have been altered by the time you read this.

YELP USER REVIEWS

Apart from map pack ranking factors, favorable Yelp reviews would undoubtedly help, especially since they are the principal source of evaluations on Bing’s Business listing (the Bing equivalent to Google My Business) and Apple Maps (the Apple Maps counterpart to Bing My Business). On the other hand, Google’s algorithm considers Yelp reviews to be reputable. Thus, they have value.

We hope this information helps you get more positive Yelp reviews. Two things should be kept in mind, though. To get started, they’ll first need a Yelp account.

First of all, Yelp employs a review-filtering system of its own. Consequently, a large number of evaluations for your company’s listing may be ignored or boring. This might have a big effect on your company’s overall rating.

#4: SEO OFF-PAGE

When you link your GMB listing to your website, Google will be able to quickly and simply check out your site and see how well it matches your listing. Your website must have the following parts up to date:

  • Keywords that appear on the page
  • NAP (Nickname, Address, and Phone Number)
  • NAME, PHONE NUMBER, and ADDRESS

Make sure that your website’s NAP is prominently displayed on the web. The legal name of your business and the way you promote it in promotional materials are all part of this (i.e., your company may be called Acme Inc., but you just refer to it as ABC, Inc on your site and in your GMB listing). A phone number and an address should also be included in your profile. The hours of your company or the fact that you only accept appointments might also be included. Although it’s an optional feature, best practices in user experience recommend it.

The bottom of your website is the most common place to include your NAP information. It will then appear on all of your pages, including subpages like ‘contact us’ and ‘locations,’ for instance. If you do not already have it, make sure you do so. Make sure it’s on your website and that it matches your Google My Business profile, at the very least.

Here are some of the page’s keywords.

When optimizing your law firm website for search engines, the same principles apply. I’m not advocating that you stuff the page with keywords, but at the very least, make sure they’re in there. These keywords should occur naturally in your website’s title, meta, header, and content. Place it where it will be of use. Your My Business page’s categories can help you identify the most important keywords to target.

Let’s say you did a good job of categorizing your business. Consequently, your website would most likely contain a single inner page only devoted to that category (e.g., family law, probate law, personal injury law, criminal law, property law, etc.). On-Page SEO benefits from having these inner pages, but your GMB categories must also match up with these service pages.

ADD YOUR SCHEMA MARKUP TO YOUR WEBSITE AND CREATE IT.

Schema markup or structured data may be created using this method.

It’s nothing more than a pre-formatted list of information about a business. It provides a wealth of information about almost any company, regardless of industry. To assist search engines in understanding what your site is all about, what your site should rank for, and where it should rank, you need to fill up that template with information about your organization (both position in SERPs and geo-location).

Lawyers and law firms are referred to by the words “Legal Services” and “Attorney.” According to Schema.org, the Attorney has been deprecated. If you use Attorney, it will still work, but you or your webmaster should change it as soon as possible. As “more thorough and less ambiguous” than other options, Legal Service should be sought out in this situation. Visit Schema.org for additional information on creating a website schema for your legal company.

#5: Appropriate Number of Citations

Double-checking the number of citations in online directories is the next stage for your firm. I citations are listings for your firm if you’re unsure what they are. Citations are similar to listings in that they appear on other websites. A listing is a copy of your GMB listing that may be seen on another website.

Citations may be found on Yelp and the yellow pages online directory. Google needs to keep track of how well they know other websites.

On the other hand, Citations and listings will supply information about your business that is extremely similar or identical. You may have figured it out by now, but consistency in this information is quite essential. You need to make sure your NAPs are the same to avoid confusion.

Make an effort to provide the best user experience and measure it.

SIGNALS IN THE FORM OF BEHAVIOR

The last ranking factor for Google’s local map pack is based on user behavior. That is, how your listing, website, and content are perceived by others when they view and interact with it. Three of the most important signs of human conduct are as follows:

  • CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • Mobile Calls by Simply Clicking
  • To call, click-through rate and mobile clicks are all included in this report.

The CTR (Click Through Rate) is the percentage of visitors that click on your link or ad. If one out of every ten people who see your listing clicks on your link, your CTR is 10%.

Mobile clicks to call are the number of times a person clicks on your company’s listing to contact you on their mobile device.

Aside from the blurred-out name of your organization in the photographs above, the listing title, whether or not the business is open when the user searches and the review rating are all factors that will affect your mobile site click to calls and CTR. Even though you have no control over the title of the listing, Your company’s advertising and reputation will impact the CTR and the number of mobile clicks to calls as it is your company’s name.

AMOUNT OF BOUNCE INVOLVED

The percentage of visitors that leave your site without interacting with it is known as the bounce rate. This number shows the importance of your website to search engines like Google.

Another way of asking this is: Do people who visit your website and seek something find it there?

I recommend a low bounce rate for your website. If your website has a high bounce rate, you should investigate why. In the graphs above, the average session time and the bounce rate are demonstrated to have an inverse relationship.

CONCLUSION

There are currently six major ranking factors that Google will use when selecting where and how to place your website. These six criteria can be improved straight away since the process is real-time. We normally observe an improvement in rankings within a week of addressing some of them. Ninety percent of our target keywords appear in the map pack after 4-6 weeks of completing all six steps – and we continue to handle things like link development and reviews.

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