Google Search Ranking Factors-2023
Local business owners always ask us how Google decides how to rank one business (website) over another in local search results. The answer is complex obviously as I see their eyes glaze over in confusion. I need to find a better way to simplify the answer. But this isn’t easy.
Ahhh...The Good Ole Days of Local Search Optimization
It used to be. Back in 2009 when (949) Local was born all we needed was a “Google Places” listing, 15-20 key citations and BOOM! Page One, baby.
That’s because back then Google needed help. They relied on “3rd party data” like business listings (citations) in online directories (think Yelp, YellowPages.com, Better Business Bureau, etc.) to provide “authority”. The more citations and backlinks you have, you win! Easy-Peasy.
It’s not so easy anymore.
A lot of “bad actors” have taken advantage of previous “ranking signals” so much that Google eliminated them from their search ranking algorithm.
Keyword stuffing, links from “link farms”, etc., did not just work anymore. Those tactics actually penalized those using them. These were “Black Hat” tactics anyway so we always stayed away from them.
It is never a question of using such tactics. It is never a question of “If”, but of “When”. Google’s many algorithm updates have proven this.
The days of “Easy, Peasy” were over.
I forget exactly when this happened. 2012, 2013…?
Whatever. It struck me that I had to learn and employ traditional SEO strategies.
Great! Another skill we had to master, and quick.
So, we did. And let me tell you folks, this was NOT an easy learning curve.
Meta Tags, Alt text. Content creation & distribution… the list goes on! But we had to do it to stay ahead of Google’s curve. And to serve our clients better.
Where We're At
We are always looking for Google ranking signals. Google, however is not exactly forthcoming in it’s adjustments to their local search algorithm. In fact, they are outright oblique. It is, what it is.
However, I recently came upon an article by @BradSmith on #SearchEngineJournal that offers a very comprehensive list of what is, what was and what was never a known ranking factor. If you are working on improving your website’s visibility on search engines, and Google in particular, it is well worth the read.