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All You Need to Know About Local Search Ranking Factors & Vicinity Update

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Local search rankings are an important factor in a strong SEO strategy. They take physical proximity into account, working to match users with search results within their locale. And in the tail end of 2021, Google introduced a big local search algorithm update in years which is being coined the vicinity update. 

What Is Google's Vicinity Update? 

The vicinity update is simple; it essentially increases the importance of proximity as a factor when producing local search results. The algorithm determines search results based on three main factors: 

  • Relevance 
  • Distance 
  • Prominence 

This isn't new; the relevance of what a business has to offer, its physical distance from the user, and its prominence in the market have always been the key factors for Google's local search rankings. However, what has changed is how heavily distance is weighed amongst those factors. Because of this change, proximity matters for local search ranking more than ever before. 

What the Vicinity Update Means for Businesses 

You can use this update to your advantage if you understand how Google's local search rankings function. Luckily, Google has provided some guidelines to help.

Let's look at the three main factors and strategies to improve your website's local search ranking. 


The relevance aspect relates to how well your business' Google profile coincides with a user's search. For example, if you own a landscaping business in the London area, your website would be very relevant to someone seeking pruning services in West London.  

To ensure that your website is registered as relevant when potential clients search on Google, ensure that you've included complete and detailed business information to help Google understand what you do and when your services are relevant.  

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Since the vicinity update was introduced, the distance factor has been the main difference in Google's local search rankings. The update makes distance a higher priority, so businesses farther away will have a more challenging time ranking locally in other cities through the use of keywords and other tactics.  

Ensure that your business address and location information is clear and accurate. Distance is measured by how far your business is from the location term used in a search. If there's no specified location, the distance is calculated based on what Google can determine about the user's location. 


The prominence of your business refers to your reputation and how well known you are within the industry. This factor is based on Google's information about your business, including links, articles, and directories. 

The actions that will increase your prominence overlap greatly with the activities that would increase your position in overall web results, so SEO best practices apply. Take a look at our SEO Fundamentals eBook to introduce your business's main pillars of search engine optimization  


Increase Local Business with the Vicinity Update 

This recalculation of Google's local search rankings can work and generate more local business for your company if you follow the guidelines. To ensure that users can find your business in local search results, ensure that all of the information in your business profile is accurate, complete, and engaging. Verify your locations, ensure that your hours are accurate, and keep up with managing and responding to customer reviews.  

If you're looking for more guidance regarding local search rankings and the vicinity update or SEO strategy in general, WEB ROI has the experience and expertise to increase your business' visibility and generate qualified leads. Contact us today to set up a consultation! 


The Prize is a High-Traffic Website That Generates Quality Leads

With a high-traffic website designed to convert quality leads into paying customers you can shift your focus to other areas of your business (or reclaim some much-needed personal time).

Stop running in circles. Choose digital marketing services that are guaranteed to get you results. With an award-winning website design company like WEB ROI at your side, it won't take long to achieve your goals.

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