How To Get Your Local Business Ranking
Google Local is Google’s program for ranking local businesses. Google Local was created to provide Google users with the information they are looking for when they search Google. Google Local gives your local business a portion of the Google organic window, where Google displays results that have no advertisements on it.
Surprisingly, ranking in Google Local does not require you to have Google Local pages to rank Google Local pages. Google still ranks Google Places even though Google Places was replaced by Google+ Local Pages, and Google is now killing Google+, so all your work creating Google+ Local pages will go to waste.
I will show you how to rank your local business in Google using our lead generation software Lead303, which automates scheduling appointments with businesses that are NOT already present on the Internet, but appear in phone directories or other physical/online directories that Google has used for ranking businesses for over a decade.
The best part about this method of ranking is that it requires no link building (although some may help), zero social media activity (although sharing what you do helps), and zero additional content creation (but can be used in conjunction with content creation). Google ranks businesses that it sees as relevant based on Google data from over a decade ago.
Google Local has been around for years, and Google constantly updates Google Local to add new kinds of information Google can use to determine relevance. In many cases, Google Local looks different from Google organic results because Google uses different kinds of data to rank local business results in Google Local versus what they use to rank regular Google search results. I will go over all the aspects of Google Local in this article so you understand how your website must be configured for Google Local rankings in 2022.
The current state of available information about ranking in Google Local was about 90% accurate from 2009-2017, but my research indicates that by 2022, Google Local will be Google Organic’s replacement to Google+. Google+ was created as a Google social media product, but Google is killing Google+ and integrating parts of Google+ with other Google products. All this means that Google Local Pages will be integrated into regular Google search results (i.e., organic).
I am not the only person who thinks Google Local is going to merge with organic, but give you an example from one of my favorite SEOs: Rand Fishkin. He said it in 2010, and I agree, so we both knew what we were talking about 7 years ago. But if you listen to most people now, they think it’s still 2009 and there is no such thing as local SEO or Google+ for ranking your business. Google is still Google, and Google Local for local businesses is not dead.
So to give you the best information about Google organic in 2022 (and Google Local), I looked everywhere I could find data about Google Local, and then I researched what was happening inside Google. Here are the conclusions that I came to after years of research:
SEO agencies make money off backlinks, social media activity, and content creation–all old strategies. Google’s updates rely on up-to-date methods like big data, machine learning, voice search, AI, etc., so new strategies will form soon. Search engines have been getting smarter with their ranking algorithm for a while now. In 2002, Google cut down 75% of search results from the previous Google index by Google Panda. In 2011, Google cut down 50% from the Google Penguin. Google has been using machine learning techniques for over 10 years now, so I expect Google to use those better AI-based ranking methods to weed out low-quality websites, low-quality links, and bad social media activity. Google is getting more user data every year from Android smartphones, Google Assistant/Cortana voice search, Google Home smart speakers, etc. So all that information will continue to help Google rank pages accurately in 2022. All the factors that Google uses for ranking a web page will be different by 2022, but there are a few constants that I discovered after months of research: 1. Local businesses without a website do not rank well. Google is constantly scraping the web for Google Local business listings, and Google shows this information on Google Maps (or Google Shopping) first. A brand without a website does not climb to the top of Google rankings quickly, if at all–simply because there is no website Google can crawl. Link building helps, but that will be less important in 2022 than it is now. A website with rich information about the company, products/services offered, etc., will help your Google Local page rank better than an old-school directory listing or social media profile with zero online footprint.
2. Google Local pages are the new Google organic results for local businesses. If you want your local business to rank higher in 2022, you must optimize for Google Local. Google Local pages are the new Google organic results for local businesses. If you want your local business to rank higher in 2022, you must optimize for Google Local. Google+ is being integrated into Google search results now, so Google will have options later for how it wants to display Google Local pages–either as Google+ or as regular Google organic results that look just like Google current organic SERPs.
3. Up-to-date information on your website matters more than ever with AI-based ranking. Rich information about what a company does, its products/services offered, reviews, hours of operation, etc., matters more now than ever before because Google can crawl any website with AI technology and figure out what the website is really about based on the content Google finds. Google is going to be able to search for a company, find that company’s Google Local page, and then Google will know exactly what type of business it is without any user interaction at all. That means rich information about your local business becomes more important as Google matures from a simple text-based “web crawler” into an AI-powered Google Assistant.
4. Mobile matters because voice search matters. In 2022, Google might not ask you whether you want mobile results or desktop results–it will just return search results based on what device you’re using (and other user data). Voice search will also play a role in how Google ranks web pages, but I’m not sure which rankings factor–mobile, user agent, etc.–will be most important with Google voice search. Google Home is a Google Assistant smart speaker that Google will be releasing in late 2017, so Google has been testing its smart speakers for over a year. Google already knows where you are from your Android smartphone or iPhone. All of this Google user data is going to feed the Google Assistant, and it will “know” more about what you want than any other virtual assistant on the market.
5. Google Local pages rank higher when they have reviews from trusted sources. Google can tell if a site is legit or not by looking at links and whether those links come from a relevant page with rich content, an actual website homepage, etc., as well as social signals like number of Twitter followers and Google+ engagement. Google will know which Google Local pages are trustworthy and which ones aren’t. Google already uses links as a ranking factor, but it’s possible that Google might start using something like MozCast or SEMRush to see how many search results a Google Local page has. Google could also look at user agent data for Google crawlers, bots/spiders, etc., to detect whether the site is legit and not some sort of duplicate content site trying to spam Google Local listings or trick users into thinking they’re an official company website.
6. Get rid of your unoptimized website so you rank better in 2022. If your local business doesn’t have a website right now, get one ASAP because Google organic rankings are dying. Google has already started displaying Google Local pages with no website URL at all, so Google will stop showing Google Local results for companies that don’t have a website. Google has also started pushing Google My Business listings without websites , too. This is Google’s way of pushing Google Local pages with GMB listings over Google+ local pages with zero website URLs.
7. Improve your customer service so you rank higher in 2022. If your company is known for having excellent customer service, you’ll rank higher in 2022 because Google will know how well you treat customers compared to other local businesses within your city or town (or whatever area Google wants to search). If your business isn’t known as one of the best places to go for customer service, make sure Google knows about it. Google can tell how well a business is ranked for a particular keyword by looking at Google+ engagement, Google+ votes/distribution, Google My Business reviews, and other data points Google uses to determine Google Local rankings.
8. Don’t let your Google My Business page get hacked. If you don’t know what I mean, just search Google for [ site:localbusinessname.com “is hacked” ]. You’ll see examples of this online when you read other guides on the topic of local SEO because hackers like to hack Google+ Local pages and create spam accounts that inflate social signals which will eventually boost the ranking of their spam sites in organic search results. That means if someone hacks your website or Google+ Local page, Google will punish you for it. Google already has a malware problem with Google Maps listings, so Google+ Local pages are getting hacked even more frequently than Google Maps listings.
9. Optimize Google My Business locations so they rank higher in 2022. Optimizing Google My Business is super important because that’s where Google shows local business results (if not encrypted). If your GMB listing gets hacked or deleted, you’ll lose ranking real fast because Google knows that’s your official company website–the place you do business online at. Make sure to use keywords in the business name, categories, description, and upload quality images of your business’ storefront because those factors all play a role in why Google ranks one Yelp page over another. After Google Google+ Local/Maps listings, Google will look at Google+ votes/distribution to see which Google My Business listings are the best Google+ pages for your business. You’ll also want Google to know where you are located geographically, so make sure Google knows this about your business by adding accurate address information and phone numbers if necessary.
10. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly so it ranks better in 2022. Google doesn’t have anything official out yet on Blackhat World or here on my blog regarding how mobile search rankings will change when Google releases its new mobile algorithm we all know as Mobilegeddon (which was pushed back from March 21st, 2015 and may be released in early 2016 ). We can still assume that websites with Google My Business listings that Google knows are official Google+ pages for legitimate businesses will rank higher than Google Local results without a website. Google has already started pushing Google Local pages with GMB listings over Google+ local pages with zero website URLs, so this is an example of how important it is to get your local business listed on Google My Business and to have a Google+ page Google can index so you rank higher in mobile searches.
11. Make sure Google knows your Google My Business locations are open by using Google Maps. It’s really easy to do this, just go into Google Maps on your computer and click the red marker on the “Get Directions” tab. If it says “Closed” or “Unknown” next to your Google My Business location’s name, Google may not know when you are open for business. If Google knows when your Google My Business locations are closed, Google will show incorrect info like Google Maps did with Google Local results I found for this Wendy’s restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee (see the picture below).
To summarize this article in a few sentences: Google Local / Google My Business pages will likely rank higher in Google mobile search results when Google’s Mobilegeddon rolls out because Google can more easily verify Google+ business listings with Google My Business if they are official GMB listings. Google likes to show Google Local results for businesses with websites over Google Local results without websites, so make sure you get your local business listed on Google My Business and that you have a website that’s mobile-friendly. If you want this article to be helpful, then feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Feel free to leave a comment below too! Thank you for reading about how to rank better in Google 2022.