Wondering how Google Search works?
Have you ever been disappointed with your competitors showing up higher on search? Ever questioned what your business can do to get more customers? If so then, make sure to keep reading this article as this powerful guide will cover all you need to know about physical location business SEO, the emerging trends in 2022, and how local businesses can improve their rankings on Google.
Understanding How Google Search Works Is Essential
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average (visualise them here), translating to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
Nearly half (46%) of all Google searches consist of users seeking local information. These local searches consist of people searching for businesses in their local area or within a specific service area.
This means that the search results are often tailored to geo-specific searches, with Google’s algorithm determining which businesses are relevant to the user and worthy of ranking high in the search results.
According to Think with Google,
1.5B People visit 1.5 billion destinations every month related to their Google Searches
76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.
88% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a related store within a week.
If you want to drive more local customers to visit your business, you must invest in local search engine optimisation.
Check out the data from Google about changing consumer behaviours on search. Explore customer trends, analyse user behaviour, and find insights that show what people are engaging with and searching for to help shape your strategies.
To begin with, We Need to Understand How Google Search Work?
Google Search is a powerful tool. It enables users to find, share, and access an almost immeasurable amount of content. Regardless of how or where they connect, understanding how Google Search works is essential. If you have a “brick and mortar” local business that provides goods or services to a local population, and you want your customers to find you whether you have a Google My Business listing, website or social media profile. Google goes through an entire journey to find your business, categorise it, and show it to your potential customers to discover you.
First of all, Google needs to realise your business has a presence on the web. For this, Google constantly searches for your listings on different directories and online platforms to add to its vast catalogue. This discovery process is called crawling. Google wants to deliver the best, most relevant businesses to searchers; it makes perfect sense for Google Algorithm to use real-time engagement metrics to determine the quality of Local Listings accuracy and relevance.
The impact of the Accurate Local Listings
Google generally discovers business by the number and consistency of local business citations. Google pulls data from a wide variety of sources in continuously making up its local business index. When Google finds multiple consistent references to a business’s name, location, and phone number, it strengthens Google’s “trust” in the efficacy of that data. This then leads to Google showing the business with a higher degree of confidence by following links from page to page, directories to directories finding new data never seen before.
Note: We’ve realised a free tool that you can check all the basic business listings and citations across on the search. So, you will know how your business listings appear across online directories and how reliable they are. Check your local business accuracy score.
Completeness Score Of Your Business Listings
Once the Google crawler, which we call Google Bot, has discovered your business listings, it must understand what your business is all about, what kind of services you are providing, which categories of your business match in response to the user’s query. This process is called indexing. Just as you would organize the inventory of your store, whether it’s shoes, sweaters, or dresses, Google analyzes the content on your page and saves this information to its index, a database considered to be the most extensive library in the world. So how can you help the Google index understand your content better? First, you need to provide all the information about your business. Each local business has approximately hundreds of different pieces of information that they need to complete on all the various directories. If you are using OBENAN Local Listings, you can overview your profile completeness score. If you have incomplete information, you will be able to see which specific data you need to fill in to increase your findability rate.
Learn more about the importance of local listings.
All right, now Google has found your business listings or website, and Google Bot knows you have a restaurant that offers vegan lunch. What happens next? When a user types a search query, Google’s system sort through hundreds of billions of web pages, listings in the search index, looking for the most valuable and relevant results in a fraction of a second. This step is called ranking. There are thousands, even millions, of listings, web pages with potentially relevant information for a typical query. So Google has to determine the highest quality and most appropriate answers, returning the content that provides the best user experience and most relevant results. Some of these factors may include the user’s location, language, distance and even device type.
How Google Decides the Local Business Ranking?
Google says, “local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. 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, we’ll calculate distance based on what we do know about their location.
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 the completeness score we have mentioned above.
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 best practices apply search engine optimisation (SEO).
Reviews Are Important Ranking Factor
Review data falls into the prominence category. Prominence is defined as above: how well known a business is. Reviews are a determinative ranking factor. Specifically, when a customer uses the keywords in native Google, reviews are more powerful than even review scores or quantity of reviews. Every time your potential customers use words such as ‘best‘, ‘top‘, ‘great‘ and ‘highest rated’, Google will show them businesses with a review rating of 4.0 or higher in the results first. The higher the review score of your business location, the more likely it is to reach “nearby” customers.
You would assume that all you need is completing your business profiles, and having more content would be enough to rank your business higher, but online reviews still have a high impact on ranking.
Reviews (along with an owner’s response) show that consumers trust a business, which is a foundational factor in ranking. Therefore, Google takes review ratings, review amounts and review responses from multiple sites into consideration when determining the order of businesses it returns in local searches.
Responding to your online reviews from multiple platforms and using specific keywords influence local search engine visibility significantly. If you have OBENAN’s Review Management software, you won’t be missing any reviews across dozens of online platforms. To cut a long story short, love them or hate them, online reviews are the key to success.
What we learned?
So now you know that Google first crawls the web to discover new businesses, new listings, new content. Then, Google indexes them, categorise them as a catalogue, and Google’s ranking system scans the index to serve the most relevant results to users. Consumers search for a variety of local information. Local searchers are ready to act. Many visit a nearby location within a day and complete purchases at a higher rate than consumers who conduct non-local searches.
The question now arises, “Is my business location foundable on Google search?”