This factor is critical as it ranks #1 among all local ranking factors.
It refers to backlinks, or links back to your website from other sites that found your content useful enough to link to. The more authority and higher quality the site has linking back to your website (by Google standards), then the more influence this factor has over how high your website will rank in local search.
Google views websites as authority / quality websites if they have these traits:
- they have lots of quality, helpful, relevant content
- a long history of quality, helpful, relevant content
- lots of backlinks to their content because others found them helpful
- branding or influencers to back up the site
These types of sites might include webmd.com, or huffingtonpost.com or one of many others. Usually, they are blog sites or news type of sites, but they may include e-commerce sites or .gov sites.
Getting these types of backlinks from authority sites for a small local business and website is very difficult, if not impossible.