Google (may have) confirmed that Click Data is used for Local Search Results
Based on anecdotal evidence, it has always seemed to us that, YES….the more clicks your Google My Business listing receives, the more quickly your listing moves up the ranks in local search results.
This week, a Google employee seemed to confirm (briefly) in a forum post that the visibility of your business in Local Results DOES, in fact, partially depend on how many times in the past the listing has been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.
Google would never reveal the secrets of the algorithm
Well, not on purpose, of course. But, after the SEO community started talking about the forum post, the text in the forum post was edited, which is perhaps a little telling. It was changed from:
“Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.”
to instead read…
“Search history: The number of times it has been useful historically on the basis of relevance, prominence and distance.”
Here are screen shots from before and after the edit:
Photo courtesy of Mark Traphagen
“Google has told us time and time again that click data and other user engagement data are not used in their core ranking algorithm. But that doesn’t mean Google doesn’t use such data for local rankings.
When I spoke to them, Google wouldn’t tell me if click data impacted local rankings. They just told me the new language more accurately describes how the algorithm works.”
Barry Schwartz, author at SearchEngineLand.com. He discusses it in this post.
Best Practices are still the best way to approach Local SEO
This information confirms what we’ve seen anecdotally for years, but don’t invest a lot of time in finding your listing and clicking on it. You may get some small gains from that, but it may also backfire. You never want to find yourself on the wrong end of a Google update because of trying to game the system.
In our experience, to keep improving the performance of your Google business listing, the best thing to do is to follow the guidelines that Google publishes, invest the time in publishing content, request reviews from your customers, and don’t forget to be patient.
SEO is a marathon and not a sprint. Stay the course, set up good foundations, be consistent with your content marketing and you will see results.