The 3 pillars of the Google local algorithm

Advanced Local SEO

One question that often arises is, how are results ordered in a local search?

Google is based on 3 pillars:

  • Relevance
  • Prominence
  • Distance

These three pillars are fundamental when it comes to appearing in a search. In other words, if we offer the product or service that the user needs, if we are a notable business in our environment, and if we are close to the user. But in addition, it is necessary to take into account other important aspects such as:

  • Number of reviews and average rating.
  • Responses to reviews.
  • SEO quality of the website.
  • Accuracy of store information.
  • Accurate addresses and coordinates.


To show businesses that offer what we need.

“…or that if I search for a bank, Google doesn’t show me a veterinarian.”

The first analysis that Google will perform on the map is to detect which businesses offer the goods or services that we need. To detect this information, Google uses keywords:

  • Basic keywords: For example, if someone searches for “Supermarket,” the algorithm will show all those local profiles that have any trace of this keyword. An easy search to index for the algorithm.
  • Long-tail keywords: If someone searches for “Buy seasonal fruit,” Google’s algorithm will have to work harder to offer more personalized results. Unlike the previous search, this keyword is formed by a phrase, which makes it difficult to index the search to our local profile. Nevertheless, these types of keywords or “key-phrases” account for 70% of all searches. Google can find this information on the website, business categories, descriptions, services, local publications, reviews and responses.


To show businesses close to our location

“…so that if I search for a supermarket, it won’t show one that’s 20km away even if it’s the best in the world.”

Once all the relevant businesses to our local search have been detected, Google will start sorting them by proximity to our location.

This factor is what really determines the basis of the local algorithm, and depending on the type of query, it will affect to a greater or lesser extent. If someone searches for “buy seasonal fruit”, the search engine will give much more relevance to the user’s location to prioritize nearby businesses.

Thus, if someone searches for “hire motorcycle insurance in the center of Madrid,” Google will analyze those local listings that index both with the keyword phrase and with the location.

For this reason, at TOP Local Manager, we make an effort to personalize the Local SEO positioning of each and every one of our local listings, considering the areas where they are located as another keyword to index.


Display prestigious businesses in the area

“…or if I look in the shop window and one business is empty and another is full, there must be a reason for it.”

Finally, after analyzing the closest relevant businesses, Google relies on another factor to sort them, prominence; that is, how active users are with a business compared to others.

The fundamental factors that determine our prominence are the volume of users who visit our location day by day, as well as the volume of reviews we receive and their rating, in comparison to the rest of the competitors in the area.

Thus, the algorithm tries to prioritize the best businesses since despite having many relevant options nearby to meet our needs, not all of them have the same level of popularity or quality, and the best source of information that Google has for this are the interaction patterns of users (reviews, GPS usage, etc.).

Advanced Local SEO

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