google-logoGoogle’s help page has been updated, and it’s been named Improve your local ranking on Google.  Originally, there were five paragraphs of text that centered around relevance, distance and prominence for ranking in the local results.  The updated document has been greatly expanded by Google.

The things that are covered in the new document includes:

  • The local 3-pack
  • How to be included in that pack
  • How Google does ranking in that local pack
  • And more

We are told by the document that we should be aiming to have as much data as possible about our local business in Google My Business.  We have to make sure that we’ve verified that business, posted accurate hours, responded to and managed our reviews, as well as to add photos.  The purpose of completing these tasks is so that people will be able to find your business in the local results.

Here’s the revised content found in the document in terms of outlining Relevance, Distance and Prominence:

Relevance

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.

Distance

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

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.

You are not able to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google.  It all boils down to trying to be as fair as possible to those who work hard for that ranking.

Check out the before and after screen shots to compare the new and old documents.

The first to spot this change was Mike Blumenthal.

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