Local search update: ‘Best’ filter invading the local pack


The trends for local businesses in current times indicate a sudden rise in searches on mobile devices. With most products and services available on mobile Apps, local searches have become popular. And, from the looks of it this trend is bound to continue. You can enhance the ranking of your business by using local SEO services. Local SEO services will increase in importance with time.
For small businesses such as a single location store or family owned retail stores, with a little knowledge of the field, the local SEO can be managed by a single person. But when it comes to larger brands or multi-location brands, more specialized SEO services are needed.
As of now the trends indicate that Google is laying importance on sites that provide quality products and services and ranking them higher in local SEO. This is apparent from the fact that all those products/services that receive the “Best” rating by their customers surge up the Google rankings.
Let us now delve into the types of rankings, factors that impact them and where the “Best” filter plays its role!
There are two types of rankings that are considered for the success of a business enterprise:



These are essentially the small box of results that appear on the top of the results page. This box contains details such as opening hours, contact details, addresses, location on Google Maps, and review.
This snack pack has far-reaching effects for a business especially if the reviews listed are good ones.

Organic Page Rankings

These are search results appearing for those searches that do not involve the local search aspects. However, since local searches are dominated by people looking for contact details, reviews, location, etc. it is snack pack rankings that are more relevant in the context of local SEO.
Hence, it is apparent that businesses need to focus on both types of ranking if they want to thrive.

So what should businesses focus on:

1. My Business Signals

Google My Business Pages is a vital factor that the business should ensure is complete in all respects.
For this, the business should ensure that:
The business is set in the appropriate category.
The Google My Business page should contain the relevant keywords in the title.
The website link should be functional and crawlable.
It should contain the working hours.
The address should be correctly indicated.

2. Link Signals

Link signals are backlinks to a site. They play an important role in the organic as well as snack pack ranking results.
Some aspects of link building that impact rankings are:
Authority of links
It is recommended that you have reputed legitimate sites instead of spammy sites which will result in penalties.
Link building with quality links
The ranking of a site improves because of quality authoritative backlinks. High-quality backlinks can be created through quality content and high-quality guest blogging.
Linking Anchor text
The relevant content should be linked with the anchor text.

3. On Page Signals

These are the key factors on the page you are trying to rank. For local SEO these are Name, Address, and Phone Number. Keywords such as the business location and domain authority are relevant. All these details boost the ranking of the site. However, stuffing the page with keywords should be avoided.
What you need to focus on?
Page Title
It is vital to appropriately place the keywords such as the location and business name.
Meta Description
You will need to provide a 250-320 characters long description of the page for the convenience of users.
Page Url
It is an effective factor for local ranking if it includes both the city and the location.
Heading tags
The heading tags should be keyword oriented for good local SEO ranking.
Alt text
In case you are using images, it is recommended that you use its Alt text and important keywords to reference your business name or location in the appropriate manner.
However, the content should be of good quality and keyword stuffing should be avoided.

4. Citation Signals


These are basically indicators of how well your business details can be validated by other online sources such as social media platforms, reviews from other sites, etc.
The basic factors essential for citation signals are the consistency in Name, Address, and Phone number of the business across various channels. This enhances the credibility of the business leading to improved ranking.

5. Reviews


Reviews are important feedbacks about a business. Genuine, positive reviews go a long way in promoting the business.
Now Google and other Search engines are using online reviews for ranking a business. These reviews play a vital role in the snack pack rankings. Therefore they are important for local SEO.
Most business have understood the importance of these reviews and encourage their clients to provide reviews about their experience.

However certain factors should be borne in mind regarding reviews:

Fake reviews should be avoided
Fake reviews are penalized and also if a customer realizes that the review is fake, he/she will be put off.
The reviews should not be written by the business owners or staff
A genuine feedback about a business can be provided by its customers only. When a business owner or staff provides the review, it will be a biased version. Therefore, such reviews will negatively impact the rankings.
How to deal with bad reviews
A business is bound to receive both good and bad reviews. In case of bad reviews, the enterprise should work on the reason for it and take steps for improving its product or service. Many a time bad reviews may be posted by competitors to damage the online reputation of the company. There are professional companies that provide Online Professional Management services to help out businesses in such cases.
In recent times it has been experienced that reviews that contain the word “Best” help rank the business higher in Google rankings. This implies that businesses need to focus on providing quality products and services that provide customers a great experience so that they rate them as “Best” or “Great”.
Behavioral Signals
This is the technical information regarding user interaction with the website of the business.

Some of the indicators are:

Click through rate
It is an indication of how many times the link of the business is clicked when compared with other websites. The relevance of a webpage is estimated based on the number of clicks it receives.
Bounce rates
This is when users revert back to search results after visiting a page. This gives an indication to search engines that the search result is not relevant and lowers the ranking of the page.
Mobile clicks to call
If users click to call a business based on the search results, the search engines enhance the ranking of such sites.
Check in
When users check in to a business location, the search engines crawl such information impacting the ranking positively.
Therefore, for better local SEO rankings, a business should work on optimizing its website so that it is relevant to the keyword.
Search engines have evolved to provide personalized search results to users. For local SEO the location of the business becomes vital. The site should also be responsive. Also, when users search through mobiles, they may use voice search making long-tail keywords relevant.
Social Signals
As of now, there is no clarity regarding the significance of social media for local SEO. However, considering that social media is an important aspect for most businesses, it is necessary to have a social presence.

The following is the summary of local SEO ranking factors:

  • My Business Signals 19%
  • Link Signals 17%
  • On Page Signals 14%
  • Citation Signals 13%
  • Review Signals 13%
  • Behavioral Signals 10%
  • Personalization 10%
  • Social Signals 4%


From the above figure it is apparent that factors like My Business signals, citations and reviews carry a weightage of 45% for ranking a website. In these cases, it is observed that words like “Best”, “Great”, and “Awesome” have a tremendous impact on the local SEO ranking.
For small businesses, Google is quality of the product/services based on customer ratings and reviews as a factor for ranking. When the “Best” filter is applied, only those businesses offering quality products/services will surge up in the searches. Hence, businesses need to optimize the site for the word “Best.”
If you want your business to have a higher snack pack ranking to be a leader in the product/services provided, you will need to focus on local SEO services that optimize your site for Best!

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