Despite the annual changes in the local search ecosystem, the ranking factors that Google uses to determine its local search results haven’t changed much over the past year.
So say the 35 local search marketers that contributed to the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors — organized again this year by David Mihm, and published this year on Moz.com (his employer’s website).
The survey looks at general local ranking factors first, then dives into a long list of specifics (more than 100 in all) and negative ranking factors — local search no-nos, you could call them.
The most influential general ranking factors, according to the survey experts, are
- Place Page Signals (proximity, having a keyword in the business name, etc.)
- On-Page Signals (keyword in title tags, domain authority, etc.)
- External Location Signals (citations from other sites, name/address/phone consistency, etc.)
- Link Signals (quality of inbound links, anchor text, etc.)
- Review Signals (how many, how frequent they are, etc.)
And getting more specific, the top local factors were some of the same that they’ve been in past years: using the correct categories, being physically located in the city being searched, high-quality citations and clear/consistent Name/Address/Phone information.
There’s much more to review in the full survey results, but that should give you a taste of what to expect. If you do local search marketing for yourself or for clients, it’s a must read (as it is every year).