David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors is the local SEO resource I reference most frequently.
My “Claim Your Place!” local SEO training slides include a screenshot of the top 10 search ranking factors from the 2011 edition.
People ooohhh and aaaahhh when they realize that this amazing information is available right here, on the Internet.
Local Search Ranking Factors Survey
But where do these magical local search ranking factors come from?
David spends his precious time interfacing with dozens of Local SEO expert to conduct a survey to get this information.
You can read all about the methodology in “The Survey” section of the Local Search Ranking Factors page.
Top Ten Local Search Ranking Factors
So what are the top ten local search ranking factors? (my comments in italics)
- Physical Address in City of Search
- Proper Category Associations
- Proximity of Address to Centroid (this one climbed the ranks quite a bit since last year)
- Domain Authority of Website
- Quantity of Structured Citations (IYPs, Data Aggregators)
- City, State in Places Landing Page Title (i.e. on your website homepage)
- Quantity of Native Google Places Reviews (w/text) (this is also new to the top ten list)
- Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
- Local Area Code on Place Page (local numbers matter!)
- HTML NAP Matching Place Page NAP (NAP = name, address, phone number)
But wait, there are 80 more! Make sure you take a look at the full results list.
Informative Comments from the Experts
Here are a few of my favorite comments from the experts:
On “Consistency of Structured Citations:”
Your Places page may be naked. Your website may beg for a mercy killing. You may not have a single customer review. But you still may rank OK…if your NAP is accurate and consistent everywhere it appears on the web.
This is do-or-die. In my experience, having consistent business info in your citations is the trickiest part of a good local ranking: you’ve got to monitor your listings on a ton of directory sites, often jump through annoying hoops just to make simple fixes to those listings, and keep duplicate/incorrect listings at a minimum. But it can also be very simple to ensure consistency: use your real address, don’t flip-flop over what to call your business or which phone number to use, and realize that it might take a little while to get your info consistent (and that that’s OK!).
On “Proximity of Address to Centroid:”
Proximity seems to be different based on industry, but in general the closer you are, the better you rank.
On “Quantity of Inbound Links:”
It’s the quality that counts, not the quantity. Still, the more quality links you have, the better.
What About Google+ Local?
David addresses the big update on May 30 related to the merge of Google Places and Google+ Local, saying that the survey results where already on their way to him when this event occurred.
But the huge change makes him even more excited to see what the results will be next year. I know I can’t wait!!
Over to You!
Did anything surprise you about the survey results?