Here's one thing that's common knowledge: backlinks have a huge effect on organic search results.
In fact, for the past several years, it's been noted that the effectiveness of a good quality backlinks is getting bigger and bigger.
However, more recently, we're starting to discover something unexpected - backlinks seem to be having a massive effect on Google's Local Snippet results as well. In some cases, businesses that receive higher reviews are coming in below results featuring businesses with lower reviews. Unless, of course, the user has chosen one of the new features, to sort by rating or sort by hours.
Don't get us wrong, we're not saying that high reviews don't matter. In fact, they appear to be one of the most important factors for ranking in the Google My Business local snippet. What we are saying is that great reviews, if left to work on their own, may not propel your business towards the number one result.
Great reviews, if left to work on their own, may not propel your business towards the number one result.
If you want to solidify your position as a top notch page that Google should list first in the local snack pack, then you should also be securing backlinks that point to the Google My Business landing page that you have chosen.
Other factors are also significant when trying to rank in this snippet. Do note that a searcher's proximity to your business may have the biggest effect of all. By being closer to a competitor, they may end up seeing your business featured as 2nd or 3rd even if you typically have a 1st place result.
There's not much you can do to prevent this proximity effect. The best thing that you can do is to optimize well for everything else to offset it as much as is possible. While there are many factors that contribute to ranking for the local pack, we'd encourage you to focus mainly on getting quality backlinks and reviews that will show Google that your business is trusted by the community you're in.
Another important thing to consider when you're trying to build up your reputation around the web, is to build up what's called "citations" around the web. You'll find some great services from Brightlocal that will push your listing out to hundreds of different websites around the web, which is the equivalent of putting your site in the phonebook. Another thing you'll see is individual citation and listing websites such as High Rank Backlinks listing that help by putting your website in different categories such as education etc.
As you work to rank in Google's local snippet, consider how you can get more 5-star reviews for your business and how you can earn backlinks pointing to your page. By combining these efforts, you should expect to see great results.
If the complexities of this sound like too much of a headache to deal with, we'd love to get in touch with you to discuss how we work to get our clients great, authentic reviews and trustworthy, legitimate backlinks. Feel free to contact us today!