SEO: Top Local Ranking Factors

You’ve started small business and you want to make sure potential customers in your business’ service area know about it. It can feel overwhelming when you’re researching all the different ways to get more traffic to your website or store because there is so much information out there. Frontline Consulting is here to tell you there’s no need to stress!

Instead of spreading your efforts too thinly, focus on a few of the most important local ranking factors, first. As experienced digital marketing consultants, we have narrowed the list down to just a few of the top local SEO ranking factors to help get you started.


Keywords on their own aren’t a ranking factor, but how they’re used is. But before you can use them, you need to know what they are. Keywords are search terms or phrases that users enter in a search bar to find something they’re looking for. For example; if you are looking for shoes, you might type the word “shoes” into Google. If you are specifically looking to purchase a pair of black sandals online, then you might type “black sandals for sale online”.

Think about what your business is offering and find or come up with keywords that relate to it. Put yourself into your customers’ shoes (no pun intended); what would you type into Google to help you find your services or products? If you have a product or service that sells well, then you might like to focus on terms related to them.

There are many tools out there for researching keywords, such as SEMRush or WordStream. These can help you find out more about how often these keywords are used and how tough the competition is for those keywords.

Another quick and clever way to find more unique keywords is to type in one of your keywords into Google, then scroll to the bottom of the results and see the section called ‘Related Searches’. These are searches people have used that are similar to yours.

Website Content

Now that you know what keywords are and how to find yours, you can use them on your website to rank better. But there is more to your website than keywords. Google’s search engine will prioritize websites that have relevant, quality content. This one can be a bit of a balancing act. You want to include your business’ best keywords in your content so that your site shows up in searches involving those search terms. At the same time, you want your content to be informative and easy to read.

It may be tempting to cram as many of your keywords as possible into your pages, but this won’t help you rank better. Would-be customers will ‘bounce’ from your website, and this can harm your ranking instead.

Remember who your website is for; your customers. Write your content for your customers first and worry about Google after.


Potential customers are more likely to check out a business that has reviews, versus a business that has none. They are also more likely to visit a business with 4.8 stars and several hundred reviews than a business with a 5 star rating that only has ten reviews. People like to be informed about how a business is doing, and for that, they like to see a larger sample size of data, even if they’re only skimming it.

If your business isn’t getting reviews, the best way to encourage them is to politely ask your customers if they would like to leave you a review about their experience with your product or service. Make it easy for them to do so by linking directly to your review section.

Don’t be afraid of negative feedback! Treat this as an opportunity to improve your business, and you can start by responding to negative reviews, letting them know that you value their feedback and that you want to improve their experience. When other people come across the review and see your response, they will see that you care.

There is only one way to get better reviews; provide a quality experience for your customers.

Google Business Profile

This is the most important local ranking factor you should work on, and it’s thankfully the easiest. People will trust a complete Google Business Profile more than an empty one, or none at all. That, and Google will prioritize the more informative profiles using relevant categories. The elements contributing to your rank the most include your business name, primary category, and location.

If your business name contains a keyword related to your service, you are more likely to show up closer to the top of searches. However, it is against Google Policy to add any extra information or words to your business name in your profile that isn’t truly part of your business name. If you haven’t settled on a business name yet, consider adding a keyword to it to help people find your business. For example; if you sell shoes, you might name your business “Zappy’s Shoe Store”, instead of just “Zappy’s”.

Make sure to choose the business category that matches what you offer. This is a very simple step, but an important one, as this will determine what users will see your business in searches. If you list yourself as a ‘shoe shining service’, but you don’t actually perform this service, then it doesn’t matter that it’s related to shoes; users are looking for shoe shining, not shoes themselves. You want to show up for users who are in the market for your products.

Your location itself isn’t something you can control, but you can optimize your local SEO by focussing your efforts on the area you are in, rather than trying to encompass the other areas around you. If there is a business like yours in the neighbouring city, they are going to rank higher than you for that area, regardless of what you do. Focus your SEO efforts on your area.

With Google’s new Local Services Ads, it’s going to be more important than ever to get your local SEO down pat. Need more help with your local SEO? Contact Frontline Consulting today to book a free consultation, or explore more of the services we offer!