• Dave Cosper

    Good analysis. Agreed on ratings having more of an indirect impact (i.e., CTR). It will be interesting to see if Google employs something similar to AuthorRank for reviewers. ‘ReviewerRank’ for the local algo?

  • http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/ Linda Buquet

    Yep great assessment Chris. I’ve never thought ratings had much of an impact (if any) on rankings. # of reviews plays a bigger part in the algo, however I don’t think quantity of reviews factors in that much lately either. The blended algo is primarily about organic ranking factors these days.

  • http://twitter.com/si1very Chris Silver Smith

    Thanks, Linda and Dave – I think most of the more experienced local search marketers recognize that ratings values have either zero or extremely low direct impact on rankings. One thing that propelled me to write the article was that I keep running into websites or blogs of marketing agencies which state that ratings are necessary for rankings. I’m pretty certain this is one of the causes of so much ratings and review spam out there.

  • Tony Griego

    Interesting. Another thing to consider is of course the Distance factor of the holy trinity (Relevance, Distance, and Prominence). There have been many times where I’ve seen (with all other factors being equal) the proximity to the city center (as indicated by where Google places the city title on the map) be a big factor. I’m sure it also plays into the user’s location, but assuming that averages out… the centriod seems to weigh heavily.

  • http://twitter.com/wouterdebr Wouter De Bruycker

    Good read. I think having some reviews could be indirectly positive because of the possible increase in CTR (people might be more compelled to click a company which has reviews). Though if all competitors have “some” reviews this advantage disappears.

    For some keywords and phrases there could be possibilities for some companies, be it temporary, to get some reviews and thus be one of the few with reviews. This is especially true for foreign sites. I myself live in Belgium and there are still a whole lot of local search results with zero reviews on a variety of keywords.

  • http://twitter.com/si1very Chris Silver Smith

    Tony, you might want to check out an earlier article I wrote on centroids, “Relocation, Relocation, Relocation – A New Local Ranking Tactic”: http://searchengineland.com/relocation-relocation-relocation-a-new-local-ranking-tactic-135325

    In that article, I present my contention that it’s not actually geographic centroids which are influential any more (although they certainly were in the earlier days of Google Local algorithms), but instead it’s clusters of popular areas which are influential. In most cities, the older, better-established commercial zones tend to be in the city center, so there are usually popular clusters which happen to coincide with centroids. But, you can see that in some cities where popular zones are not in sync with the center that the geometric centroid is not at all a factor.