Learn More
Sign Up-It's Free

Case Study: How Does Google Rank Local Businesses?

Kevin James Curran
Jul 26, 2022 5:18:43 PM

Any local business owner that wants to increase traffic has probably researched their Google My Business listing. 


A Google My Business listing features the name, address, review rating, and phone number of nearby businesses.

Google My Business listing


Seeing your business show up on Google's local listing may be the ultimate goal, but let's take a look at some facts: 


  • The top 3 results on Google receive an estimated 75.1% of clicks. 
  • The number 1 spot receives 31.7% of all clicks
  • Position 10 receives only 3% of all clicks


Just ranking on the first page of Google may not be enough to move the needle. Let’s discuss what it takes to get the top local business listing on Google.


How does Google Rank Local Businesses? 


Google determines local business rankings based primarily on 3 factors: 


  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence


Google will use its algorithm to determine the best search results for your topic. If they determine that a business further away matches your search better, they will show these results more prominently. 


Google does its best to keep its algorithm secret, but here is what they reveal.



Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. To optimize your GMB profile for relevance, add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches.



Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn't specify a location in their search, Google will calculate the distance based on what they do know about their location history.



Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands are also likely to be prominent in local search results.


Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.


Factors That Influence GMB Rankings


Let’s use an example of finding a restaurant near me. Example: Downtown Tampa, Florida


A restaurant owner will want to rank a restaurant near me for as much of an area as possible. However, there are some factors that will determine the relevance that Google will display. 


1. Distance


Local Google Business Rankings

A simple restaurant near me will show to most prominent results regardless of the type of food they serve. These businesses are established and have over 500 customer reviews each. 


2. Relevance

how to optimize your GMB profile


The top listing Google my Business listing is optimized completely. This includes areas served and relevant keywords which Google will take into consideration when showing the most relevant results. 


3. Prominence


The domain authority (DR) doesn’t necessarily need to be high in order to rank for a local business. They can rank for the local term "restaurant near me" without building any backlinks. This is due to the lack of competition. However, they will have difficulty ranking for competitive search terms without building backlinks.


backlinks for local seo


Directory links are one of the most important factors in building backlinks that increase local SEO rankings. 


Directory links, or local citations, are business listings that include the business name, address, phone number, website, and photos. 


These links are built from already established sites such as Yelp. 


Learn how to fix bad Yelp reviews.

local citation examples

Optimizing your local citations


Each local citation should be treated as your own personal webpage. You have the option to add a lot of relevant information that will help Google know that you are the best result in your area. 

optimize your Yelp profile


This will also help you capture the potential traffic from each one of these directories. 


Click here to access a list of local directories.


How to improve your Local Business SEO?


To improve your local SEO presence, you should contact NewReputation to receive a Free local SEO audit


You can use a local business listing audit to fix any business errors and improve Local SEO. 


Next, start requesting your customers to leave a review about their recent visit. Learn how much online reviews affect SEO


Frequently Asked Questions


Is Google business listing free?


It's completely free to create a Business Profile on Google. You can create your profile for free and manage your business using Google Search and Maps.


How to Add your business through Google Maps


To get started creating your Google My Business profile, follow the following steps:


1. On your computer, sign in to Google Maps.


2. You can add your business in 3 ways:


  • Enter your address in the search bar. On the left, in the Business Profile, click Add your business.
  • Right-click anywhere on the map. Then, click Add your business.
  • In the top left, click Menu. Then click Add your business.

3. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish signing up for your Business Profile.


Claim your business through Google Maps


  1. On your PC, open Google Maps.
  2. In the search bar, enter the business name.
  3. Click the business name and choose the correct one.
  4. Click Claim this business. Then click Manage now.
    • To choose a different business, click I own or manage another business.
    • Select a verification option, and follow the on-screen steps.


Why is my business not showing up on Google Search?


Your business may not be showing up in Google Maps because it lacks location authority. To appear on Google Maps, your GMB listing (location), will need to have location authority. Or you must be within close proximity to your business location or stand directly there.


To create a local SEO authority, contact NewReputation today.

expert local SEO

Do you want to improve how you look online?

newreputation logo
Reputation management services focused on creating the best online image for your brand.
Get a Proposal

You May Also Like

These Stories on business

Subscribe by Email

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think