How to Ride the Wave of Google Local Search

December 3, 2021
Google Local SEO

Local search is a way to find local businesses by submitting specialized, geographically constrained searches to the search engine listings. It is common for local queries to include not only information about what a user is looking for (product or service) but also where it falls within the map – such as a street address, city name, or just a phrase “near me”.

Implicit local search

However, even if a search does not include a location modifier, it can imply the intention of the user to find something nearby. This is an implicit local search, a good example of it is “cafe” or “pharmacy”.

As the biggest search engine, Google has always been working on improving the accuracy of search results and deciphering the user intent. So, Google Local search underwent several algorithms’ changes to satisfy the mobile and desktop users looking for businesses in close proximity to their home, office, or any other location.

Local search share

Local search results appear in the SERPs (search engine result pages) in the form of Google Map with a list of three results called a local 3-pack. It goes before the rest of the organic results and captures up to 44% of all clicks on search engine results pages. Now you see that if a website misses Google Maps Pack exposure, it has zero visibility in local search as 46% of all the searches on Google have local intent.

Local algorithm changes

No wonder, Google is constantly adjusting its local search results to best serve its users. The biggest Google updates concerning local search were announced in 2016 and 2017. They were named the Possum and Hawk Updates respectively. The algorithms influenced the 3-pack and Google Maps results, which focused on proximity and rank position. The goal was to diversify local results and prevent spam from ranking. Thus, companies that are located outside of city boundaries or the search area now have greater visibility. It was previously difficult for these outlying enterprises to rank in any searches that included the word “city.”

Tool for Local SEO

To work on website SEO, one needs metrics and data to analyse. Local SEO needs information on Local visibility score, Share of local voice, and average rank position in Google Maps. These are the data provided by LocalFalcon. On top of all, the tool shows the competitor positions by keyword which helps to understand the overall ranking system better.

Our Local search result in 2022

One of the most spectacular things about the tool is that it has a great visual presentation of the local metrics: the map with a keyword ranking within a geographic location. Just have a look at the two screenshots with our SEO agency website positions:

Google Maps position

This is the screenshot of our Google Maps positions on December 25, 2021. We only rank high in Ealing and its closest surroundings (each grid covers 7,5 miles radius, so the result is not too bad).

And now let’s see how the same Map view has changed in 3 weeks after the SEO techniques that we implemented to improve our local rankings:

The green position 1 area has tripled and now we have top Google Map results in the territory of around 90 miles!


Every website has its unique challenges that must be faced if one hopes to rank well in search engines. To do this requires using a variety of specialized tools. However, even with advanced metrics, SEO is completely ineffective if one is not able to analyse the stats and devise an SEO strategy for their website and business. We are here to offer our expertise and assistance. If you want to improve your local visibility, please contact us or order our free SEO audit of your website in just a few clicks here to contact our SEO agency in London.


Kamil Krystman is an SEO expert with 13 years of experience. In 2013, he founded Alfamedio LTD, a company that specializes in search engine optimization and digital marketing services for small businesses.

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