Google-Confirmed Local Ranking Factors: Keyword match, Backlinks, HQ Reviews

Tim Kahlert 👑
Google-Confirmed Local Ranking Factors
In no particular order:
Complete and detailed business information on GBP
Keyword match
Distance from the searcher to the business
How famous a business is
Articles about the business
Directories that contain business info (Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) among others)
Review count
Review score
Organic ranking positions
129 👍🏽13 💟14577 💬🗨


So is it basically impossible to reach the top 3 pack if you don't have a physics business address and your competition does?

Mew » Mark
Depends on the niche. Always has. Some companies like plumbing and HVAC are service area based and don't have addresses, while doing just fine.
Mark » Mew
I don't think I've ever seen a business without an address ranking in the top 3 in a competitive market.
Mew » Mark
In competitive markets businesses in the top 3 are usually successful companies that can afford addresses. There is a strong correlation, you are correct. I've seen it both ways in Carpet Cleaning and Plumbing, as we have 150+ clients in these niches across the nation, but as mentioned above, sure in cities of 1M plus where a company is a multi-million dollar company, I would hope they have an office 🙂
Hallock » Mew
Can you expound on this? If what you say is true (and I'm not suggesting it isn't), why wouldn't all businesses just use "service area" vs physical address? Further, how do you even set that up? I had a good talk with Nathan yesterday and we touched on service vs other businesses but did not get into how Google sees the types of businesses differently. At the end of the day, even a business with a physical location will typically have a "service area" whether its a pizza restaurant, plumber or law firm.
Mew » Hallock
Because most businesses have physical locations, and there is only a select few that qualify as service area based.
Doctors Offices
Video Game Stores
Etc, all nave an address that people come to. There would be no point in marking a Law Firm as a service area based business, when people travel to you and need to see your address.
In addition, just because you have a service area based business doesn't mean you cover the whole service area. The individual above asked if they ever appear in a 3-Pack, and yes they do, but they still follow geo-relevancy of the searcher and proximity algorithms.
Google is still going to give you the closest carpet cleaner or plumber to you, but some of those plumbers are residential and have removed the address.
You guys are conflating two different understandings, when they don't mutually exist. Every business category has different signals and algorithms, and a law firm and a pizza restaurant do not work the same way in a map pack from an algorithmic standpoint.
Hallock » Mew
My question is in specific regard to law firms and I will challenge your assertion that law firms are not a service based business. Law firms are unique in that a client may meet with an attorney at their office, but there are also instances where the client will never even see their attorney, the attorney will travel to meet them (like an injured person in a hospital) or meet them at court. Whether or not Google recognizes this or cares is another matter. I'm specifically asking if a law firm can have a different business designation (that Google will accept) that will have a net positive impact on GMB rankings.
Mew » Hallock
It doesn't matter what you think a Law Firm is, what does Google prefer and how does it treat the niche. I've never seen one rank as an Service Area Businesses (SAB), that is correct, so based on data analysis, and not an opinion, I would go based off what I see 🙂
My expertise is with home services niches, and thus my origional comment was specific to those niches, which is why I stated that some niches can and do – law firms were not included.
Hallock » Mew
Agreed. And of course I am not picking an argument. Consider it a compliment that I respect your opinion enough to offer an alternate possibility. 😉
PS…it sounds like (keep me honest) that if you pick a business category in the Google My Business (GMB) setup, that Google has those categories categorized by physical location or Service Area Businesses (SAB) and there is nothing you can do to change that. Is that correct?
Tim Kahlert ✍️ 👑 » Mark
The address used to verify the business plays a role here. Whether or not you can reach the 3 pack depends a lot on the competition/infrastructure. I mean it‘s local and distance will most likely always be important – it‘s a huge factor for customers. If your biz is too far away from them they‘ll look for something more relevant to their needs. There‘s not much you can do other than increase authority or become more relevant (decrease distance).
Mark » Tim Kahlert
I agree. How competitive a market is probably the biggest factor. In my case, my city is small so I wonder if it's easier to rank better in larger cities since Google tends to recommend companies that are relatively closer to you in distance?
Tim Kahlert ✍️ 👑 » Mark
Yeah well businesses in larger cities mostly face a bigger competition too. So from that point of view I don‘t see how that would be easier. (I mean all businesses around a searcher would be loser to them) Ideally you have a higher population and only a few who work in your niche.
Mark » Tim Kahlert
Well the way I imagine it is that Google will recommend a company that is closest to you right? So if your competition is on the other side of town will Google still recommend them? If location is a big factor won't Google recommend a company that's closer? No sense in someone driving past several companies to get to a dominant competitor right?


How do they measure "How famous a business is"?

Tim Kahlert ✍️ 👑 » Petar
If you want to separate that, I would say that fame comes mainly from search volume and brand mentions which is a little different from Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP)/directory entries and articles about a business. And I agree with what Josh said, fame is just almost everything: backlinks, engagement (direction requests, calls, traffic, messages, maybe click behavior…), search volume, brand mentions, NAP, social shares, number of reviews, maybe even ad budget?!…

Scrap that number 3 has overruled all this in the 3 pack in my town i have all the other numbers locked down the best out of all competitors and yet number 3 has slapped down all keywords in the map pack. And one of my clients does not show at all anymore in the town as they live on the outskirts of the town its pants and only shows up if your near his premises which is a dead part of the town.

Tim Kahlert ✍️ 👑 » Sampson
I hear you. Though huge companies always need to weigh the capabilities of their new business locations with regard to profits and economic efficiency, why would that be different for smaller businesses… 🙃

Google confirmed? Can you share the source link, please?

Tim Kahlert ✍️ 👑 » Ahmet
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