How Google determines local search ranking
Like all SEO, local search ranking results are based on the #1 most important factor which is RELEVANCE! Are you the MOST relevant when someone searches for the keyword that you want to rank for? Relevance is followed closely in second by distance. You can not be the most relevant if you are the furthest away and everyone closer than you is also relevant.
It’s not going to happen, so you might as well give it up.
Yes, you can get a whole bunch of addresses in different cities but why? Stick to what you can effectively cover as a service area and work your way up to additional locations from there. Last and pretty much least is prominence. This isn’t even always an SEO factor in real life but according to Google support it is, so I am going to list it here. In my experience, being the most “prominent” means nada, zip, 0, zilch! Unless there is no one more relevant than you, of course.
These factors are combined, but most heavily weighted on relevance, to help find the best match for your search. Sometimes Google will shake things up a bit, like this Bedlam update, Nov. 2019 and the listings will temporarily shuffle, but eventually the most relevant will always end up floating back to the top. I have seen so many times that Google’s algorithms decided that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results. In fact it is typically the case.
Here is how Google defines their top local search ranking factor terms:
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. What you can invest in is optimizing your local listing to the fullest opportunity. If you want the best Local SEO company to do this for you then contact us today and be on top in a couple of weeks!