Location Authority & Local SEO
Location Authority: the ranking power, or fuel that drives rankings, for any local business or location in Google local / Google Maps search results.
In other words, the more location authority your business has, the higher it will rank in Google local search results.
When we describe local SEO to clients, we typically use the term location authority. But apparently this is a phrase that’s unique in the local SEO world as many of our clients and prospective clients are not familiar with the term.
I’ve been thinking about this term location authority lately, and wondering where I got it from. So, like any modern day person would do, I turned to Google.
Here’s what I see when I search the term location authority:
As you can see, there’s nothing relating to local SEO in the top search results.
Which makes me think we (Bipper Media) have coined this new phrase as it relates to increasing your presence in Google local / Google Maps search results.
What do we mean by location authority?
As I mentioned in the definition above, we define location authority as the ranking power for any Google local search result.
Let’s say you are a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles.
We already know the most commonly searched phrase in this market is los angeles personal injury lawyer.
And here’s the top local search results for this phrase:
The #1 local ranking is Steven M Sweat, APC.
So we would say this law firm currently has more location authority than all of their competitors for this particular keyword phrase.
If you asked me what it would take to outrank Steven M Sweat, APC, then we’d say you would need a higher level of location authority than this law firm.
How do you build location authority?
We think of location authority as synonymous to domain authority.
Domain authority is your ranking power in Google organic search results.
Whereas location authority is your ranking power in Google Maps or Google local search results.
Domain authority is built by doing things like acquiring high quality backlinks to your domain name or key landing pages within your website.
Location authority is built by distributing your local business data – sometimes referred to as your NAP (business name, address, phone #, and website URL) or your location business citation – across the most authoritative local business directories and resources relative to your business category.
In other words, citation distribution is to location authority as backlinks are to domain authority.
If you want to rank higher in organic search results, you need to build more domain authority.
If you want to rank higher in Google Maps or Google local search results, you need to build more location authority.
Location Authority and City Pages
City Pages are a specific product we build for clients who want more traffic and rankings in surrounding cities or markets.
Using the example above, the law firm of Steven M. Sweat currently has the #1 local rankings for the phrase los angeles personal injury lawyer.
But what if they also wanted to rank for personal injury lawyer in several of the surrounding cities, counties, or metro areas around Los Angeles?
This is where City Pages come into play.
For example, they mention multiple locations within their website such as:
Southern California Offices and Meeting Locations
We represent personal injury and employment claimants in all of California including L.A. County, Orange County (OC) (Huntington Beach), San Diego (including the South Bay) and The Inland Empire. We have meeting locations in Los Angeles, Palmdale and Lancaster (the Antelope Valley), Glendale CA (serving Pasadena and Burbank), West Covina (San Gabriel Valley), Ontario / Rancho Cucamonga (serving Riverside, San Bernardino counties), and Beverly Hills (serving West L.A., Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Hollywood and the Mid-City).
For each of these specific locations, we would build a City Page (or landing page) within their website that’s optimized for each metro area.
If you don’t have a verifiable address (office location) in these cities, then you cannot compete in the Google local search results since Google Maps requires a verified Google My Business listing.
But you can compete in the organic search results with City Pages.
Location authority can be built into City Pages by creating content and outbound links that are specific to your target location.
For example, if we wanted to build location authority into a San Bernardino City Page, then we would include outbound links to landmarks and other prominent locations specific to San Bernardino.
We would also include a lot of content that’s applicable to only this metro area.
This is how you build location authority into City Pages for organic rankings in Google. And again, you would deploy City Pages when your business needs to get found in surrounding metro areas for targeted keyword phrases related to your business.
My goal is to come back to this article and continue building on the idea of location authority, so make sure you save this link or bookmark it.
If you have specific questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments below.
If you need help increasing location authority for your local business, contact us today for a free local SEO analysis.