New Local Ranking Factor Just Dropped

here's what we know so far


I don’t know about you, but I am super excited this week. Word on the street is, there might be a new local ranking factor!

Read on to find out what it is and what we know so far.

But before we start…

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1. Google is testing displaying social media posts on GBPs

Google is testing displaying social media posts prominently on Google Business Profiles:

These are Facebook posts, not Google Posts. In this treatment, the social posts are shown prominently on the Profile, as opposed to Google Posts, which are relegated to the basement.

Does this hint at Google getting rid of Google Posts? Hard to say at this point.

The Takeaway: Make sure to link your social channels to your Google Business Profile. If they roll this feature out, it will get you some premium placement for your marketing messages via social posts.

Read the discussion on Twitter and LinkedIn.

2. Moving the map pin: the new spam trend

Hearing this story more and more lately:

  1. A competitor destroys your local rankings by dragging the map pin into a lake.

  2. The business owner moves it back

  3. Google suspends the Profile 🤦

🔥 Pro tip: If your pin gets moved, do NOT move it back in the NMX (Google’s in-serp GBP editor).

Instead, use the “Suggest an edit” option in Google Maps from a Google account that is not an owner/manager of the Profile. This will sidestep the suspension risk.

Read more people’s map pin experiences on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3. How to see every possible attribute for your GBP

Here’s how to download a list of all available attributes for your Google Business Profile.

As a reminder, attributes can really boost your rankings when users conduct local searches that mention that specific attribute (i.e. “black-owned restaurants”).

4. 🚨 New local ranking factor (maybe): Service Areas

Local SEOs have always known that setting service areas on your Google Business Profile has no impact on rankings. We've gone so far as to call this "factor" a local search myth.

However, I've recently heard a few people say that they're seeing an impact now.

Jim Allen on Twitter showed me some reasonably convincing data to support the idea. Here are details:

  1. Using the lat/long data from Pleper, Jim noticed that his mobile notary business's "pin" was located in the middle of a farmer's field 🙄

  2. Local Falcon scans showed that he was ranking around that spot, but not ranking very well in the main area he wanted to target (see "before" image).

  3. He updated the service areas in GBP to be more tightly focused around the area he wanted to rank in.

Updated Local Falcon scans now show him ranking better in that area(see "after" image)!

Changing the service areas in GBP also changed the lat/long in Pleper to the area he was targeting.

So, it kinda looks like Google has changed something and service areas DO impact rankings now.

A couple questions come to mind:

  1. How significant/minor is this factor? How much can it move the needle? (or shift the grid?)

  2. Do service areas only have an impact if your address is removed from the GBP? (I'm guessing yes.)

I have some tests running right now and look forward to sharing the results!

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