In today’s digitally-driven world, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business, big or small. With the rise of local search and the increasing importance of local SEO, it has become vital for businesses to strengthen their local presence. However, with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and the endless factors that affect search engine rankings, it can be challenging to know where to focus your efforts. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top 25 local search ranking signals that will help you boost your local presence and improve your chances of being found by potential customers in your area.

From the importance of citations and reviews to the impact of website optimization and mobile-friendliness, this article will delve into the key elements that can significantly influence your local search rankings.

So whether you’re a small business owner looking to increase foot traffic or a digital marketer aiming to improve your client’s local visibility, this article will provide you with valuable insights and actionable tips to enhance your local presence and drive more customers to your doorstep.

Enhance the likelihood of your inclusion in Google’s Local Pack

Achieving a high ranking for a local business can be quite challenging due to several factors. Firstly, the increasing number of mobile users has led to more people relying on their smartphones to discover businesses in their vicinity. This trend creates a highly competitive environment as more businesses recognize the importance of local SEO and strive to optimize their online presence accordingly. Moreover, the alteration in Google’s Local Pack, previously consisting of seven top results but now reduced to three, further intensifies the competition for visibility.

To secure a prominent position in these fiercely contested local search results and effectively reach potential customers seeking products or services similar to yours, you need to implement various strategies. In this article, you will gain insights into 25 specific local ranking signals that you must comprehend and optimize to maximize your performance in local searches.

Before delving into these strategies, it is essential to understand how the recent changes in Google’s Map Pack/Local Pack have revolutionized the playing field for businesses.

Recent Map Pack Changes You Need To Know

The Local Pack offered by Google serves as a valuable resource for users who are looking for local information. This tool displays the top three most relevant results above the regular search listings whenever someone searches with a local intent.

It is evident that Google recognizes the significance of the Local Pack and is continuously working on enhancing its functionality to better serve searchers. A recent announcement from Google revealed their plans to introduce an update to the desktop search interface. This update will enable users to conveniently view local search results alongside a map when they search for nearby places or businesses, such as “restaurants near me.”

To illustrate this, imagine someone performing a search using the query “restaurants near me.” With the updated interface, they will be presented with local results on the left side of the screen and a corresponding map on the right, providing them with a comprehensive overview of nearby dining options.

Do Not Overstate It

The significance of Google’s Local Pack cannot be overstated. It serves as a valuable tool for searchers, enabling them to swiftly locate businesses in close proximity and access crucial information such as operating hours, contact numbers, customer reviews, and more, all without the need to navigate through a website.

Securing a prominent position within your local area is of utmost importance for your business. To achieve this, incorporating local search engine optimization (SEO) into your overall optimization strategy becomes imperative. By doing so, you significantly enhance your chances of attaining a favorable ranking within Google’s Local Pack.

It is important to note that Google’s algorithms do not provide a foolproof recipe for reaching the top position, as the competition in this space is undeniably fierce. However, this article aims to provide you with valuable insights and actionable steps that you can implement to establish a strong local online presence. By doing so, you can greatly improve your prospects of achieving a successful ranking as a local business.

What Are The Top Local SEO Ranking Signals?

I have categorized the comprehensive compilation of significant SEO Ranking Signals into two overarching groups:

Essential Foundations: This encompasses the pivotal ranking signals that serve as the bedrock for successful SEO. These signals represent the easily attainable factors that are crucial for achieving a high rank.

In-Depth Local Ranking Signals: This delineates the intricate and advanced local ranking signals that are imperative for surpassing competitors and securing a top position. By understanding and implementing these signals effectively, you can elevate your website’s visibility and prominence in local search results.

The Basics

1. The Google Business Profile

formerly known as Google My Business, offers a hassle-free and cost-free solution for claiming your online presence. By taking advantage of this platform, you can significantly enhance your local SEO, boosting your visibility and attracting more potential customers.

You have two straightforward methods to choose from when claiming your Google Business Profile. In the first method, simply enter your business name and address, then select it from the search results. Alternatively, you can opt for the second method by locating your business on Google Search or Google Maps and clicking the “Claim this Business” option.

Taking control of your Google Business Profile not only provides you with an online presence but also opens doors for potential growth and success. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to establish a strong online presence and improve your local SEO effortlessly.

2. Google Business Profile Categories

Categorizations serve as a means to portray the essence of your business and facilitate seamless connections with potential customers actively seeking your services.

Make a discerning choice by selecting a primary category that thoroughly describes your entire business, ensuring optimal clarity and precision.

For instance, suppose you operate a business specializing in nail care. In such a scenario, it is recommended to opt for the category “nail salon” rather than opting for a more generic term like “salon.”

3. Photos On Google Business Profile

Business Profile Page allows you to enhance your online presence by incorporating captivating visuals. Whether it’s showcasing your physical establishment, highlighting your remarkable products, introducing your dedicated team, or featuring satisfied customers (with their consent, naturally), you have the flexibility to add both photos and videos to your page.

By incorporating these visual elements, you not only make your listing more visually appealing but also establish credibility among potential customers. Additionally, these visuals play a crucial role as a local ranking signal, contributing to the overall visibility and discoverability of your business.

4. Bing Places For Business

While Google undoubtedly reigns as the dominant search engine, it is noteworthy that Bing maintains a modest portion of the global market, comprising approximately 7% according to reliable sources.

To ensure comprehensive online visibility, it is imperative to establish your presence on Bing Places for Business. By embracing this platform, you can effectively reach a wider audience and maximize your business potential.

5. Online Directories/Citations

Ensure that your business gains the recognition it deserves by asserting ownership in various prominent online directories. T

ake advantage of the massive user bases of platforms such as Apple Maps, Yellowpages, Foursquare, and Yahoo’s Localworks to establish a strong online presence for your business. By claiming your business in these popular directories, you can significantly enhance your visibility and attract a wider audience.

6. Listings On Review Sites

According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review, the impact of review site listings on businesses is significant. The study reveals that a mere one-star enhancement in a business’s rating on YELP can result in a noteworthy 5-9% surge in revenue.

To gather reviews and gain credibility, it is crucial for businesses to establish their presence on various prominent review sites.

These include reputable platforms such as Yelp, Glassdoor, and Angie’s List. While Google reviews appear to hold the most sway, it is worth noting that listings on other review sites also carry substantial value for businesses.

7. Number Of Positive Reviews

It is essential to emphasize the significance of obtaining positive reviews and engaging with your customers through responding to their feedback. Google highlights the value of high-quality reviews in terms of enhancing your business’s visibility and boosting the chances of attracting more customers to your physical location.

However, it is crucial to bear in mind an important caveat when it comes to seeking positive reviews. Google strictly forbids the practice of purchasing reviews or soliciting reviews in exchange for incentives.

Likewise, various other platforms, including YELP, have implemented policies to prevent any form of manipulation in order to maintain the authenticity and impartiality of reviews.

8. Reviews With Keywords And Locations

The quality of reviews can vary significantly.

By incorporating the name of the city or relevant keywords in your reviews, Google recognizes your business as a reputable local establishment.

In case your business offers multiple products or services, it is advisable to encourage your customers to submit reviews separately, focusing on the particular product or service they have experienced.

9. Reviews With Responses

The proactive involvement of owners in their responses on Google demonstrates their active management of the page and their engagement with customers.

Additionally, Google emphasizes the significance of these replies as they contribute to the establishment of trust through customer reviews.

10. Percentage Of Negative Reviews Not Responded To

It is essential to acknowledge that both the presence of reviews with responses and negative reviews without responses hold significance. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a well-structured strategy for addressing all reviews, especially the negative ones.

For further assistance on effectively managing negative reviews, we recommend referring to the provided resource. Additionally, Google has implemented a system to address instances where you believe an inappropriate or negative review has been posted on their platform, offering a means to request its removal.

11. Create A Facebook Business Page

A significant number of individuals find great ease and familiarity in utilizing Facebook as a search engine, hence its inclusion in this compilation.

Ensuring the establishment of a business page on Facebook, equipped with regular updates containing crucial information such as website links, operating hours, and a comprehensive description, is highly recommended.

While the influence of social signals on social SEO may be somewhat restricted, it is important to acknowledge their definite impact.

12. Social Listings

Did you know that according to a recent survey of 3,200 customers, the average expectation for response time is approximately four hours? This means that customers nowadays anticipate quick and efficient replies from businesses on social media platforms.

To ensure that your business meets this expectation, it is crucial to respond promptly and provide lightning-fast turnaround times.

13. Consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)

Maintaining uniformity across all platforms in terms of your business name, address, and phone number is crucial to ensure accurate information is presented in Google search results.

Moreover, a consistent identity in your name, address, and phone number greatly facilitates seamless connections between your customers and your business.

Paying meticulous attention to these details plays a pivotal role in creating a lasting impression.

To illustrate, if your business is listed as Jon’s Burger, LLC on one website and Jon’s BurgerS on another, even a minor disparity in the name and entity could potentially lead to confusion.

The Nitty Gritty Local SEO Ranking Signals

15. Structured Data Markup

Utilizing structured data markups for local SEO offers numerous opportunities to enhance your online presence. By incorporating markups for multiple departments, hours, address, menu, website, and phone number, you can effectively optimize your local search visibility.

These markups come highly recommended by Google and can be easily added through their comprehensive guide or by utilizing helpful tools such as Schema.

However, it is important to acknowledge that there is still some ambiguity surrounding the effectiveness of including GPS coordinates within structured data.

16. Click-Through Rates From Search Results

Achieving success in SEO overall translates into favorable outcomes in local SEO as well – a logical correlation, wouldn’t you agree?

An essential aspect to consider lies in ensuring your meta titles and descriptions are meaningful, allowing users to locate precisely what they anticipate upon visiting your website.

17. Localized Content

In order to achieve success, it is crucial to maintain a regular and steady flow of published content. It is essential to establish a continuous content goal and diligently track your progress to guarantee favorable outcomes.

Moreover, it is important to seamlessly incorporate your primary keyword and location in an organic manner. One effective approach is to write about local events, thereby showcasing your brand’s involvement in the community. Another strategy is to share information about initiatives aimed at raising funds for local charities, which not only highlights your brand’s philanthropic efforts but also strengthens your local presence.

Additionally, consider addressing topics that are significant to the local community, as this demonstrates your brand’s understanding and relevance to the needs and interests of the community you serve. By carefully considering what aligns with your brand, you can create content that resonates with your audience and contributes to your overall success.

18. On-Page Location + Keyword Optimization

Take into consideration that merely focusing on the optimization of a generic term like “furnace repair” may not yield optimal results. Instead, directing your efforts towards the optimization of a more specific and localized term like “furnace repair Sacramento” can significantly enhance your outcomes.

19. Title + Meta Description

When possible, it is advisable to incorporate important terms and the location into your title and meta descriptions. Although this aligns with on-page optimization that considers both keyword usage and location, highlighting it separately emphasizes its significance.

20. High-Quality Inbound Links

In the realm of search engine optimization (SEO), the credibility and trustworthiness of websites linking to your site play a crucial role.

These inbound links originate from sources that have earned Google’s confidence, making them highly valuable for boosting your website’s visibility and search ranking. The topic of inbound links is multi-faceted and vast, encompassing numerous aspects that require in-depth exploration and analysis beyond the limitations of this particular article.

21. Diversity Of Inbound Links

To optimize your website’s performance, it is crucial to acquire a diverse range of inbound links that possess relevance, authority, and are obtained organically. Drawing a parallel to an investment portfolio, one would aim for diversification by incorporating various types of investments with varying levels of risk. Similarly, your link strategy should exhibit a diversified approach.

Efficiently enhancing your website’s visibility necessitates obtaining a multitude of links from a wide array of websites. However, it is essential to emphasize the importance of maintaining high quality across all acquired links.

22. Inbound Links From Local Relevant Sites

The presence of hyperlinks originating from local news websites, community blogs, and similar sources serves as concrete evidence of the trustworthiness bestowed upon your website by individuals residing within your vicinity.

Depending on the nature of your business, disseminating a press release to local news stations could potentially contribute significantly towards achieving this objective. Alternatively, actively participating in conversations on local social media platforms may prove to be a fruitful avenue to explore for other businesses.

23. Inbound Using Local + Keyword In Anchor Text

Are you prepared to establish an ambitious objective? Acquiring an incoming hyperlink from a reputable website that encompasses your city or neighborhood along with the primary keyword is comparable to discovering the ultimate treasure in the realm of links.

24. Proximity To The Searcher

The influence of your location on the searcher remains fixed, and there is no way to manipulate or enhance this aspect.

Nevertheless, it holds significant weight in determining rankings, which underscores the significance of having an established Google Business Profile that maintains a consistent name, address, and profile information.

25. Domain Authority To Your Website

Moz has introduced the concept of domain authority, which serves as a reliable indicator of a website’s potential to rank in search results. Enhancing your domain authority is not a task that can be accomplished hastily or effortlessly, yet the rewards it can yield are substantial.


Understanding the significance of various local SEO features can greatly impact the effectiveness of your local SEO strategies. It is crucial to realize that your Google Business Profile holds utmost importance when it comes to optimizing your local SEO ranking. Make sure you claim it and ensure it is complete and accurate. Take the time to choose appropriate categories and strive to gather reviews. Additionally, it is vital to respond to these reviews.

However, it is equally imperative to adopt a comprehensive SEO strategy that takes into account the bigger picture. Concentrate on developing a high-quality link profile, generating well-researched and useful content that incorporates both local and key terms, and optimizing your meta descriptions. Local SEO is a fiercely competitive field, but most businesses still possess the potential for growth and improvement.

By adhering to these guidelines, you not only enhance your chances of being featured in Google’s Local Pack but also significantly increase your ability to be discovered and engage with local customers.

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Moreover, if you looking for a Local SEO and Marketing Company to help you rank locally, we at Brian Zenarosa Digital can help you out. Book a discovery call today.