It can be confusing to know how Google chooses the businesses that will show up on its local pack. This much-coveted spot is every business’ target since it gives them better visibility among searchers. So if you want to go past your competitors, the first thing you have to do is to understand how the ranking works.
So how does Google picks the businesses? Here are three of the major ranking factors that are at play here:
This factor is where Google asks if a business is relevant or extremely related to the query that the user entered. It’s a simple concept that applies across the web, regardless of business type or niche.
For example, if a searcher looks for “bike shop near me” your business will not show up in the search results if you’re selling motorcycle parts. But if you happen to sell bike parts as well, make sure that you optimize for related keywords so Google will give you a chance for the local pack.
Take note that Google filters out businesses in a blink of an eye. So if you want the best visibility, you might as well stay relevant to your niche.
Next, Google considers the proximity of the business to the searcher’s actual location. This is one of the defining criteria of which businesses will be picked for the local pack.
Here’s an example: if a searcher looks up “bike shop near me” and she’s on Fort Lauderdale, only bike shops within that area will be generated for the local pack. This is regardless of whether your business caters to Fort Lauderdale if you’re in a different area. Unless you optimize for that locality, it’s unlikely that you’ll be chosen for the local pack.
Also, it will help to put an accurate address on your GMB. That way, Google will associate your business with the right search location.
The last of the three factors is prominence. This is somewhat caught up in the middle of relevance and proximity.
For example, if a user searches for “best bike shop”, only the most prominent business results will be shown. This is regardless of the location. The results are reliant on the level of optimization and how relevant the business is to the search query.
Also, if a searcher looks up “bike shops in Palm Beach” and she’s from Fort Lauderdale, Google will give results from Palm Beach. That’s because the businesses in Palm Beach are the most prominent for the entered query, which happens to be location-specific.
Traditional factors are also important
Aside from the three factors above, traditional ranking factors will also affect which businesses grace the local pack. Some of these are click-through rates, domain authority, keywords, and so on. Some businesses will show up on the local pack even if they don’t satisfy all the three factors above.
With this, you should optimize your Google My Business account with the most relevant keywords. That way, you will have an edge over your competitors.