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  • Writer's pictureThe Orange Bear

The Top Local SEO Ranking Factors for 2023: A Starter Guide

A body builder with the head of a bear wearing an orange shirt with the Google logo on it.

Stay ahead of your competitors with the latest Local SEO strategies.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Google My Business (GMB) optimization is crucial for local SEO success.

  2. Consistent and accurate citations are important for local search ranking.

  3. The quality and relevance of inbound links significantly impact local search visibility.

  4. User-generated content, like reviews and ratings, influences local search results.

  5. Proximity, prominence, and relevance are the three essential factors Google considers when ranking local search results.


I. Introduction

Local search engine optimization (SEO) has been gaining momentum in recent years as businesses aim to target customers in their vicinity. To stay ahead of the competition and ensure your business ranks higher in local search results, it's essential to understand and implement the top local SEO ranking factors for 2023. This article will delve into these factors, using the comprehensive study by Whitespark as a guide.

II. Google My Business (GMB) Optimization

According to Whitespark, Google My Business (GMB) is the most significant local SEO ranking factor. GMB is a free platform provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across multiple Google platforms, including Search and Maps. To optimize your GMB listing, consider the following steps:

  1. Claim and verify your GMB listing:

  2. Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business, including address, phone number, and hours of operation.

  3. Choose the most relevant primary and secondary categories for your business.

  4. Add high-quality images and videos to showcase your products, services, and facilities.

  5. Encourage customers to leave reviews and respond to them promptly and professionally.

  6. Utilize the GMB post feature to share updates, offers, and events.

III. Citations and NAP Consistency

Citations are mentions of your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. These play a significant role in local SEO ranking. The two main types of citations are structured and unstructured. Structured citations are business listings on directories like Yelp, while unstructured citations refer to NAP mentions on blogs, news websites, or social media.

To improve your local SEO rankings through citations, consider the following tips:

  1. Ensure NAP consistency across all online platforms.

  2. Utilize reputable citation-building services, such as Whitespark's Citation Building Service:

  3. Monitor and update your citations periodically to maintain accuracy.

IV. Inbound Links

Inbound links, or backlinks, are hyperlinks pointing to your website from other sites. They significantly impact your local search visibility. Focus on acquiring high-quality, relevant links to improve your local SEO rankings. Here are some strategies for link-building:

  1. Create valuable, shareable content that attracts organic backlinks.

  2. Engage in local partnerships or sponsorships to gain links from reputable sources.

  3. Utilize guest blogging opportunities on industry-related websites.

  4. Seek opportunities to be featured in local news or media outlets.

V. User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content, such as reviews, ratings, and testimonials, influences local search results. Google considers user-generated content as a trust signal and a measure of a business's reputation. To make the most of user-generated content for local SEO, follow these steps:

  1. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing, as well as on other review platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

  2. Respond to reviews professionally, addressing both positive and negative feedback.

  3. Showcase testimonials on your website and social media channels.

  4. Engage with user-generated content on social media by replying to comments, sharing, and liking.

VI. On-Page SEO

Optimizing your website's content and structure is vital for local SEO success. Focus on the following on-page SEO factors to improve your local search rankings:

  1. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions with relevant local keywords.

  2. Include your NAP information in the footer or header of your website.

  3. Create localized content targeting your city or neighbourhood, such as blog posts, case studies, or service pages.

  4. Implement schema markup to provide additional information about your business to search engines. Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper:

VII. Proximity, Prominence, and Relevance

Google considers three primary factors when ranking local search results: proximity, prominence, and relevance.

  1. Proximity: The distance between the searcher's location and your business. To improve proximity, ensure your business's address is accurate on your GMB listing and website.

  2. Prominence: A measure of your business's online authority and reputation. Improve prominence by building high-quality backlinks, garnering positive reviews, and maintaining a strong online presence.

  3. Relevance: How well your business matches the searcher's intent. Optimize relevance by targeting local keywords, creating localized content, and selecting appropriate GMB categories.

VIII. Mobile-First Indexing

With the majority of search traffic coming from mobile devices, Google has shifted its focus to mobile-first indexing. This means that Google primarily uses the mobile version of your website to rank and index your content. To optimize your website for mobile-first indexing, follow these best practices:

  1. Implement a responsive web design that adjusts to various screen sizes and resolutions.

  2. Optimize your website's load time by compressing images, minifying code, and leveraging browser caching.

  3. Ensure easy navigation and user-friendly design on mobile devices.

  4. Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to assess your website's mobile performance:


Q: How do I claim my Google My Business listing?

A: Visit Google's Business page ( and follow the step-by-step instructions to claim and verify your listing.

Q: What are the best local citation sources?

A: Some of the best citation sources include Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, YellowPages, and local business directories.

Q: How often should I update my website's content for local SEO?

A: Regularly updating your website with fresh, localized content can improve your local search rankings. Aim to publish new blog posts, service pages, or case studies at least once a month.

Q: How do I optimize my website for voice search?

A: To optimize for voice search, focus on conversational, long-tail keywords, and answer frequently asked questions related to your industry or services. Also, ensure your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.

In conclusion, staying up-to-date with the top local SEO ranking factors for 2023 is crucial for businesses looking to dominate local search results. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can significantly improve your local search visibility and attract more customers to your business.


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