This Week In SEO 47
Local Ranking Factors, Google News, Social Media Engineering, & More


Ranking Factors for Google My Business Local
google local pack

Want to get your site ranked in Google Local?

Google’s got your back. They recently updated the Local guidelines, giving an insight into what it takes to rank.


Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.


Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known 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 that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.

Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.

Basically, Google is confirming that organic rankings play a role in showing up in the local pack.

Here’s the actual article published by Google, I highly recommend giving it a read if ranking locally matters to your business.


How to Get Your Website Listed In Google News

get a site into google news

Getting your site into Google News can drive a ton of relevant traffic your way. If you have the resources to publish news-related content often (and you’re not already in G News), give this post a read and see if it makes sense to pursue.

Here’s the TL;DR:

New content needs to load quickly, be rich in information and accessible. It should also have value, be topical, supported by fact and independent of ‘salesy’ tones. You should publish news frequently and on a consistent basis – every week or every day, for example, rather than 10 articles one day, and nothing else for a month. Make the content easy to read, share, and engage with – the more user quality signals that come from the content, the better.


Facebook and Twitter Features You Should Be Using

Facebook and Twitter don’t get a lot of attention in the SEO world–especially when compared to Google. Though these two companies can help with your SEO indirectly, they have a lot to offer if you’ve got an online business and you’re looking to understand your audience better, or find people talking about a problem your business is well-positioned to solve.

Facebook Local Insights

If your business has a Facebook page, there is now some pretty good data you can pull from FB to analyze and level up your game.

One of my favorites is the “sentiment” feature (here’s an example from AMZ Tracker).

Facebook Post Insights
With Local Insights, you can grab some pretty powerful info, such as:

  • Learn about the people in your neighborhood. Choose the distance around your business that you are most interested in, whether 50 or 500 meters.
  • Get aggregate demographic information about potential customers near your location
  • See a better way to understand the impact of the ads you are running on Facebook

You can also just search a URL “from an iPhone” to get the data shown above according to this MarketingLand article. Hat tip to them for the hack.

Twitter Advanced Search

twitter advanced search

It’s not a very popular feature, as far as I can tell, but Twitter has very powerful search capabilities. As with Google, you get out what you put in, so it’s helpful to know some advanced operators.

Here are a few from Lifehacker

Operator: from:alexiskold | Finds tweets: sent from person “alexiskold.”

Operator: to:techcrunch | Finds tweets: sent to person “techcrunch.”

Operator: @mashable | Finds tweets: Referencing person “mashable.”

Operator: “happy hour” near:”san francisco” | Finds tweets: containing the exact phrase “happy hour” and sent near “san francisco.”

There’s lots more, so definitely check that out if you’re going to take advantage of the search capabilities of Twitter.


How Google Works

Recently, Google Engineer Paul Haar presented at SMX West and it is very relevant to our interests. The talk was called “How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story.”


So query understanding. First question is do we know any named entities [41] in the query? The San Jose Convention Centre, we know what that is. Matt Cutts, we know what that is. And so we label those. And then, are there useful synonyms? Does General Motors in this context mean…? Does GM mean General Motors? Does GM mean genetically modified? And my point there is just that context matters. We look at the whole query for context.

BuiltVisible transcribed the whole talk, with slides and links for further reading. This post, by the way, is an example of quality content that offers a lot of value.

A small summary is not going to do this long talk very much justice, so I’ll end with this:

Make time to read this whole article, or watch the entire presentation. The video is 32 minutes long, and here it is, for you convenience:

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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