Local Search Ranking Factors

Local Search Ranking Factors

Local search continues to see significant growth and change.

Each Year MOZ (A world-leading SEO and SEO Software Company) publishes a Local Search Ranking Factors survey results and the 2018 results are in!

As the landscape of local search changes year to year, it’s exciting to see the shifts in the areas that require focus and dedication to beat the competition and earn the top-ranking positions in search results.

We’ve reviewed the Local Search Ranking Factors survey results for 2018 and cut through some of the technicalities to provide a brief summary of the key factors that have changed, and that are affecting local search results in Google.

The biggest shift this year is happening in Google My Business signals, but there’s also an increase in the importance of Google Reviews.



So, it’s important to understand exactly what Google My Business is.

Google My Business is a tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By setting up, claiming and verifying your Google My Business Listing and then editing, optimising and maximising your business information, you can help customers more easily find you as well as maximise the exposure of your business products and services, plus help your business and website stand out on Google.

These Google My Business listings also appear in keyword searches. This makes them very important to ensure they are up to date and optimised especially with such a rise in searches made on mobile phones. The reason for this is they are amongst the first things a searcher will see in the search results pages, usually under the paid adverts, then the Google My Business listings, then the organic search results. However, in some cases where no paid adverts appear, they appear first!


As part of the Google My Business platform, which was introduced late in 2017, Google ramped up the opportunities for business for local search by introducing Google My Business feature Posts. This feature allows you to publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search (in the Knowledge Panel) and Maps. Google Feature Post content appears in both Google search and map results.

To read more about Google My Business Feature Posts click here.

The 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey from MOZ stated: “GMB Feature Posts are one of the more interesting opportunities in local SEO these days. The control you have over the messaging allows for a lot of creativity. In particular, we are seeing traction in cases where branded searches are “leaking” clicks to other domains in the SERPs. GMB Feature Posts are a great way to attract more engagement and clicks from potential customers who are already searching and may be in buying mode.

What’s more, Google is now placing more emphasis on these Feature posts!


The other key output we took from the results was that the Google Reviews, like them or hate them, are on the rise!

To find out more about how Google Reviews can impact your business click here.

Review signals for local search have also seen continued growth over last year. In fact, the importance of Google Reviews signals have steadily risen since 2015 when they were listed as contributing 10.8% and in 2018 showing an importance factor of 15.44% that’s a 43% increase in the importance of review signals in 3 years!


The final thing we took from the results was that Citations remain very important although the signals are slightly less than 2017. Very importantly citations are still very valuable and very important for local search.

To find out more about Citations for local search click here.

So, let’s, break it down to simplicity and what you should be doing to increase your business and website exposure in 2019:

Make sure your Google My Business profile is 100% complete and fully optimised. (oh, and if you haven’t got a Google My Business profile – get one NOW!)

  • Start using Google Feature posts NOW.
  • Regularly upload new photos and videos to Google My Business.
  • Work on getting more Google reviews (obviously). Ask every customer.
  • Encourage keywords in the reviews by asking customers to mention the specific service or product in their review.
  • Respond to every review.
  • Seed the Google Q&A with your own questions and answers.

Why spend your time on these activities? Besides the potential relevance boost, you’ll get from the additional content, you’re also sending valuable engagement signals to Google. Regularly logging into your listing and providing content shows Google that you’re an active and engaged business owner that cares about your listing, and the local search experts are saying that this is also providing ranking benefits. There’s another engagement angle here too: user engagement. Provide more content for users to engage with and they’ll spend more time on your listing clicking around and sending those helpful behavioural signals to Google.

Need help? Did you know that Clark Marketing & Design can help you with all of the above, along with a number of important website and SEO services.

Local Search Ranking Factors

Why Blogging Will Help Your Website

Why Blogging Will Help Your Website – 5x Key Reasons

Good quality, regular blogs will help your website, it can increase visibility, attract more customers and highlight your services, expertise and more!

What is a blog?

A blog is a regular update to a website or web page. It’s often written in an informal or conversational style.


What does a blog do?

Content marketing is very much alive and a vital aspect to any website. Okay, so you may think that people read less physical printed content and books these days, but it doesn’t mean they read less! Now, because of the convenience, people mostly read or gain information they are after from the Internet. What’s more, they could be reading your website content!

A well-made, frequently updated blog can attract new customers to your website; it can convince them that your products or services are worth engaging and it can keep them coming back for more.

A professional blog added to your website is a great investment. Of course, you have to either put aside your own time and effort to write engaging content or hire a professional copywriter to do it for you on a regular basis.

Once you have your blogs written, the other key to maximising the value of the blog content is having it formatted and optimised for SEO purposes when you are physically adding the blog to your website. We won’t go into detail here, but this is something that Clark Marketing & Design can assist you with, as part of our SEO and website services.

Now let’s look into the key reasons why you should add blogs to your Company’s website and the advantages that can be gained.

1. A Blog is great for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – It can increase visibility for your website

What-does-a-blog-doLet’s say you’re looking for information relating to creating a better website user experience for your clients, and type into Google “creating better website user experience.” The first page of organic results on Google will most likely link you to various website blogs relating to this subject. The chances that your search will stop right there, and you’ll go to the various blog page for more information are very high. What’s happening here is that the Google algorithm has decided that the blog posts provide the most valuable information regarding this query.

These blogs usually contain valuable information, and whilst they may not be directly selling or promoting something, the simple fact is that someone has found your website and because of the nature of the query and search, it’s most likely to be highly relevant to their needs. In fact, a blog can answer many specific different queries and bring many people to your website and once there they will immediately become aware of your product or services. The more high-quality content your website has, the more valuable it will be to Google. And the better your visibility and traffic.

2. A blog highlights your expertise.

A well constructed blog can show your prospective customers that you’re an expert in your particular field. If you provide free, valuable information for your visitors, they’ll see at once that you know what you’re about!

3. A blog subtly advertises and promotes your products and services

By focusing the content of your blogs on information relating to products and services that you offer, it’s subtly advertising your company on the web. For example, like Clark Marketing & Design who offer SEO services, a series of articles on how to optimise your website for Google should link to the SEO services page.

By doing this, not only do you increase the visibility of your blog on Google and establish yourself as an expert, and you also lead your customers directly to your products or services, potentially providing them with instant solutions to their problems.

4. A blog attracts more customers

SEO means better visibility and more traffic. The expert image you’re building using the blog builds your readers’ trust. And these factors translate into more customers and more sales.
High visibility on the web means that people looking for information relevant to your products and services go directly to your blog. They will notice and become aware of exactly what you do and what you offer. A blog is an excellent marketing tool for any website.

5. A blog keeps your customers coming back

blogs-keep-customers-coming-backDo you have a newsletter or a Social Media Page?
You probably use it to notify your customers once in a while about a new product release, event, special, sale or new service. A blog gives you more reasons to write to your customers. Whenever you publish an especially interesting blog post, you can post it with the relevant link on your Social Media or even write a short e-mail inviting your customers to check it out.

This will increase traffic to your website and help your brand become more present. If they are interested, they’ll read your blog, maybe even buy something or engage your services since they are already on your website. If they find your blog valuable, they’re likely to share the information and tell their friends. Now, what’s not to like about that?

As the web becomes increasingly competitive, adding blogs to your website with good quality content can really help you stand out, increase visibility, highlight your expertise in your field, and attract more customers!

So get blogging!

Local Search Ranking Factors

Creating Better Website User Experience

Providing Better User Experience on Your Website

In order for your site to meet a higher level of success, increased attention and effort should be placed on user experience or UX. It doesn’t matter how optimised your content or how creative your web design is if visitors are having a hard time interacting with it.

Your website only has a few minutes to make a good first impression. Creating an engaging digital experience will give you the momentum to push visitors along the sales funnel. There are many tactics for achieving this, including those listed below.

Website planning for improving user experience

Think of the user first and foremost

Before you even think about colour psychology and other aspects of a custom website design, you should first determine the kind of users you want to target. Look at how they shop, how they find brands, what devices they use, and what products they prefer. Then, change the structure of your site to meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and make additional tweaks as well.

Remember that less is more

Customers need to be lured in as quickly as possible. This can be done with a clean and simple interface that embraces negative space. Pages should only include necessary information, like what your company is about or how to contact you. There should be some space between each page element too. This will invite visitors to explore on their own with minimal distractions.

Catch the eye with images

Harness the power of visual information in your web design to keep your visitors focused and interested. High-quality imagery in the form of video clips, screenshots, infographics, graphs, and pictures can be effective for connecting with the audience. Not to mention that they make it easier for the user to process and retain your brand message.

Establish a structure to follow

Note the products and services you’re providing then create a framework around them. Ensure that the flow makes sense by emphasising on your main offerings and grouping related goods together. At the same time, post only content that is relevant and informative to your niche. Don’t group everything onto one page or you’ll only annoy and/or confuse your visitors.


Make it mobile-friendly

At this point, you should be aware that more and more people prefer phones than desktops when it comes to searching for stuff online. Hence, you should be sure that the web design Melbourne professionals are providing you with is optimised for tablets and smartphones. It should be responsive so that it would be suitable for use on any mobile device.

Make full use of your content

Text is crucial for sharing any piece of information and should be used wisely. Regardless if you’re writing long-form or minimal copy, ensure that it will hook the user and keep them engaged. Apart from being able to provide value to readers, it should also be readable through a smart choice of font types and sizes. Every word you write should serve a purpose in moving prospects towards conversion.

Integrate your social media profiles

You likely already have a presence on social media so you shouldn’t treat it separately from your website. Make it convenient for your audience to share and promote your content on their channels by placing links and buttons somewhere they can easily be noticed. This will also enable you to interact with your customers better.

Call users to take action

Your calls-to-action (CTA) should fit your small business website design as well as draw attention to themselves. Their main purpose is to prompt visitors to do something, be it to subscribe to your newsletter, avail of a free quotation, or download an eBook. So, choose colours that pop, be concise with your words, and place CTAs in strategic spots around your pages.

Need expert help in improving the UX on your site? Don’t hesitate to give us a call on (03) 9739 5445.

We at Clark Marketing & Design offer a wide range of website design services to cater to your every need. Not to mention that we always take into consideration your users when it comes to your project. Find out how we can assist you today.

Local Search Ranking Factors

Easier Google My Business Reviews

Do you want to provide an easier way for your customers to quickly write a review for your business on Google My Business Maps?Getting-Google-My-Business-Map-Reviews

Sure you do!

Here is a quick and easy way to give your customers a single link that they can click on to take them directly to the review form on Google My Business Maps for your business.

Follow the 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Go to Google’s Place look up tool and search for your business.

Step 2: Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map.

Step 3: Click your business name in the list that appears.

Step 4: Your Place ID will appear on the map, beneath your business name.


Step 5: Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link:

So, for Clark Marketing & Design, the direct link would look like this:


Now if you find the above link a little daunting in length, then you can go to this website and shorten the URL: https://bitly.com

Simply copy and paste the above link into bitly and it will automatically shorten it to the below much friendlier URL – try it:


Which can be simply added to your emails or thank you messages when you request a review of your business.

Local Search Ranking Factors

Google online reviews turning a negative into a positive

Customers are and always will be king!

But today customers are also more vocal and sometimes more cynical than ever before.

A consumer survey by Bright Local, a leading SEO and online marketing company suggests that over 90% of consumers read and use reviews to evaluate local businesses before engaging with the business.

The fact is consumers love reviews! With Google My Business Maps reviews have been a solid fixture on Google’s for some time now and they are here to stay.

With the world going crazy about online reviews, it’s great to know that positive reviews have a positive impact on your local SEO rankings. In fact, in an article by Moz, 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors according to Google and other search engines take into account 10% of your site’s online reviews to determine your website’s rank!


But what about a negative or poor review?

Ouch, they can hurt! But you simply can’t ignore a negative review.

The most important reasons being, customers expect a relatively quick response, usually within 7-days or less, and the nearly 80% on consumers feel that a business that responds to reviews, positive or negative, is one who engages with their customers and cares about the consumers.

So, how should a business respond to a negative review? We believe the best way is by acting in a positive and professional business manner. Here are 4x top tips to convert a negative review into a positive experience.

Turning a negative review into a positive experience

Tip 1. Don’t ignore the review. Keep ego out of it, be honest and make every effort to correct things even if it is not your mistake! When responding, don’t let anger and frustration take over. Let cooler heads prevail and Apologise, if needed, by saying you are sorry for their experience and explain how this is unusual in your business.

Tip 2. In some cases, respond with an offer to discuss the complaint in private or via phone.

Tip 3. Put it all into perspective, in business, it is highly unlikely that you will always provide a five-star experience to every customer. A few bad experiences are inevitable. Take each one as an opportunity to learn, develop and improve. In fact, a few negative reviews might help your reviews look natural and normal.

Tip 4. If the reviewer is just trying to stir things up for the heck of it by writing a negative review, don’t engage in a back and forth conversation online. Revert to tip #2. They’ should get the message.

Many businesses fear negative reviews, without realising that they are generally easy to deal with and can actually have a positive effect on your business.

Local Search Ranking Factors

The Impact of Local Reviews on Google


Google My Business Reviews

A little background Information!

With the initial release of Google Maps many years ago, reviews were not part of the initial release, but have been a solid fixture on Google’s for some time now and they are here to stay. The fact is consumers love reviews!

A consumer survey by Bright Local, a leading SEO and online marketing company suggests that over 90% of consumers use reviews to evaluate local businesses. 84% of them trust reviews. it’s, therefore, no wonder that Google likes them too and features them so prominently.

With reviews and star ratings now displayed in search results, they can affect the way people find your business online and may determine whether they want to engage with you.

It also stands to reason that if consumers love reviews, Google’s ranking algorithm does too. Businesses with strong and positive review profile on Google tend to be rewarded with higher rankings.

So why are reviews important? By encouraging customer reviews will lead to more reviews, which in turn lead to better online visibility, which leads to more customers, which again will result in more reviews. It’s one of the highly important marketing techniques any business can engage in to increase their online presence.

How Google Evaluates Reviews

Well Google, as secretive as it is we can only guess, but many local SEO and search experts have theorized for years that Google primarily evaluates reviews across some key attributes. I’ve listed the major ones in below.

Number of Reviews

In Google’s world, popular businesses rank near the top of search results. Less popular businesses rank further down. Reviews are one way for Google to assess popularity.

All other factors being equal, popular businesses tend to serve more customers than less popular ones. So, if your customers leave reviews of your business at a higher rate than your competitors’ customers do, your business will appear more popular and stands a good chance at outranking the competition.

Content of Review

Not only is Google looking at the number of reviews when assessing the popularity of local businesses, it’s looking at what people are saying about local businesses in those reviews.

For example, plumbing contractors whose customers mention the kind of projects they execute, such as “bathroom renovation,” are likely to rank better for searches for those kinds of projects.

Google’s ability to analyse reviews through semantics includes a sentiment filter. Adjectives like “great,” “terrific,” or “best” are likely to rank your business higher than reviews with adjectives like “poor,” “average,” or “OK.”

The content of your customers’ reviews isn’t generally something you can control. But prompting your customers to think about specific questions as they write their review e.g. “What service did we conduct for you – bathroom renovation or laundry renovation?” “How would you rate our overall service – excellent, very good, fully satisfied?” can help improve the effectiveness of those reviews with respect to your rankings. Obviously, you need to customise these questions according to your business.

Star Rating

Google’s algorithm seems to value volume and the content and sentiment of the reviews more strongly than the star rating that customers leave for a business. However, from a consumers point of view, 5 stars always stand out!

Diversity of Reviews

A common misconception is that Google does not use third-party reviews to rank local results. They do! In some cases, reviews on sites such as Facebook, True Local etc., can also improve your rankings even more.

It’s not only a best-practice, but it’s also valuable to gain reviews from your customers on some other sites beyond just Google.

Getting ongoing positive reviews is what will lead to long-term success.

Implementing a review request strategy and processes should be part of any business full transaction cycle and part of a strong marketing regime with their clients.

Like to find out more about Google My Business and online strategies, we ‘d love to help, call us on 03 9739 5445 or take a look our range of SEO Services.