Twenty-seven local search marketers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe have shared their opinions and insights in the second edition of the Local Search Ranking Factors. Organized by David Mihm, it’s a project that aims to help local businesses understand how Google and Yahoo rank local businesses.
David sent out a questionnaire listing 49 possible factors that affect local search rankings, and invited the participants (disclaimer: I’m one of them) to rank each factor on a scale ranging from “very important for ranking well” to “can hurt your ranking/lead to penalty.” According to the panel, the five factors with the most significant positive effect on local rankings are:
- Having your Google/Yahoo local business listing with the address in the city being searched
- Having citations from major data providers, such as infoUSA, Localeze, and Internet yellow pages providers
- Associating your local business listing in the proper categories
- Having a claimed, verified local business listing with Google/Yahoo
- Having your product/service keywords (i.e., “hair salon,” “attorney”) in the title of your local business listing
Since the survey is in its second year, there are interesting comparisons you can make between what mattered last year and what matters now. David makes some of those comparisons on his blog.
If local search is important to you, the Local Search Ranking Factors is a must read.