The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Allrss.

Learning to be the best in town at the top seven elements experts feel impact your rankings in Google’s local packs is a smart strategic foundation. Thanks to Darren Shaw who has been running the Local Search Ranking Factors survey since 2017, we all benefit from this respected annual report in which local SEO professionals get to pool their practical knowledge of what they see impacting clients’ rankings most.

Today, we’re going to look at how to set the local businesses you market apart by mastering the tippy-top of the list of factors, with lots of practical tips for improving your rankings so that you’re earning greater visibility.

But, first, what is a local pack?

This is the umbrella term for the local business results Google displays when it feels a searcher’s query has a local intent. Local packs have a variety of formats, like this one with the large map and lettered results:

And this one, also with the large map, but no letters and no links to the website or driving directions:

And this one, with the map above the results, and again, no letters or website/directions links:

There are many variations, based on query, industry, and device. Frequently, local packs appear above the organic results, but they can also be displayed further down the page. Mostly, local packs contain three results, but this number can sometimes change and they may also contain paid ads. Aspects of your Google Business Profile, as well as other sources like your own website and third-party websites, have a demonstrable impact on whether or not you show up in Google’s local packs and the extended listings they click to that are called the Local Finder results.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s look at this year’s 7 most influential local pack ranking factors.

1. Primary Google Business Profile category

It’s a local search fact of life that you can’t rank for your most important search phrases unless you’ve selected the right GBP category, and the primary category matters most. Usually, Google displays the primary category on your Google Business Profile (see “Italian restaurant”, above), but not always. You select your primary category by logging into your Google account, searching for your business by name, and then clicking on the Edit Profile tab in the New Merchant Experience editor: