What Is SoLV and How Can You Use It To Optimize Local Search Rankings?

November 13th, 2023, 10:00 AM

If you've used Local Falcon or another local rank tracker, one of the most important local ranking scores you've probably taken notice of by now when checking your scan reports is the SoLV score.

Although you probably understand that the higher the SoLV score, the better, do you know exactly what SoLV is? And what about how you can use your SoLV score to help optimize your local search ranking positions?

Whether you're a local SEO professional or a local business owner, SoLV score is one of the most important metrics to look at when reviewing local rank tracking reports and looking for optimization opportunities.

What Is SoLV in Local SEO?

In the world of local SEO, SoLV stands for Share of Local Voice. In a nutshell, the SoLV score tells you how many times a business listing appears in the local map pack.

More specifically, SoLV is how many times the listing appears in the top three Google Business Profile listing results (known as the Google 3-Pack) when you search for a certain term on Google within a specific geographic area.

Why Your SoLV Score Matters

The higher a business's SoLV score is, the more local visibility it has for a given keyword within a given search radius.

By analyzing your SoLV score for different keywords within different scan radiuses, you can gain a better understanding of where you're ranking well for certain keywords within specific target market areas, and where you have room for improvement.

Looking at the SoLV score of competitors can also help you identify competitors and opportunities to outrank them.

While there are other local ranking scores and factors that you should be looking at as well when doing local SEO, SoLV is one of the most easy to understand and is a great place to start when conducting any type of local SEO audit or review.

Search Engine Land puts it well, "Share of Local Voice is an invaluable metric that can help estimate the true possibilities for improvement for any local keyword."

How To Use SoLV Score To Optimize Local Search Rankings

The real power of using SoLV score to optimize a Google Business Profile and improve local search rankings lies in its ability to help you identify true opportunities for growth.

This is particularly useful for local SEO professionals, who often struggle to explain to their clients why one SEO strategy is better than another.

For example, let's say that you're working with a local plumber, and the client insists on trying to improve their local search ranking for the most obvious, most competitive keyword: "plumber."

While having a high SoLV score for such a broad, competitive keyword is great, the reality is that all the other plumbers in town are also trying to rank high in "plumber" searches.

This means it's likely going to be very difficult to significantly improve the client's SoLV score for this keyword, let alone start outranking big plumbing competitors who are already at the top of the 3-Pack for this search.

Of course, clients who have minimal understanding of SEO themselves may continue to insist on trying to show up at the top of search results for extremely competitive keywords, so it's up to the SEO professional to justify why a different strategy is probably going to work better. This is where showing the SoLV score comes in handy.

By running a Map Scan for the client and a few of their top competitors for the keyword "plumber" and comparing the SoLV scores and Scan Grid results, you can better demonstrate how competitive the keyword is and show the client that there really isn't that much of an opportunity for improving the client's ranking for "plumber."

Sure, you might be able to minimally improve the client's SoLV score for "plumber," but your efforts (and their budget) would probably be better spent elsewhere, where there are more easily attainable opportunities to outrank competitors.

You can find these opportunities by running Map Scans for less competitive, long-tail and geo-specific keywords — search terms like "plumber near me," "emergency plumber," and "plumbing repair," to give a few examples.

Once you've identified a few keywords where the business's SoLV score is low, it's useful to check Competitor Reports for the same keywords to identify the strongest opportunities for optimizations.

You can then show the client these results and explain to them how making small optimizations for these types of keywords can boost their search rankings for more specific search terms and actually translate into more traffic and calls than chasing after the top position for the most competitive keywords out there.

Wrapping Up

The Share of Local Voice score is a crucial metric in local SEO. It reveals how often a business appears in the top three Google Business Profile listings for specific keywords in a defined area. Understanding and leveraging the SoLV score is essential for optimizing local search rankings.

Your SoLV score matters because it's a true indicator of your local visibility — higher scores mean more visibility for specific keywords in your target area. By comparing your SoLV score to that of competitors, you can easily spot opportunities to outperform them.

The true power of the SoLV score lies in its ability to guide your SEO strategy. For local SEO professionals, it can help steer clients away from overly competitive keywords and toward more achievable ones, like long-tail or geo-specific terms.

By focusing on improving SoLV scores for these keywords, you can boost search rankings and ultimately drive more business and support enterprise growth. Learning how to harness the SoLV score is one of the major keys to success for any local SEO campaign!

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