Written By: Mark Rocket & Joanne Coleman Published by:Avatar Ltd
This month we review the results of an interesting local search survey and have our usual collection of tidbits, sites of interest, cartoon and a top value pick about the importance of citations. May The 4th Be With you!
Local Search Ranking Factors In 2017
The ‘2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey’ results are in and it seems reviews, links and behavioural signals are gaining elevation, while GMB (Google My Business), on-page, citation, personalisation and social signals sit in a relative holding pattern labelled ‘Foundational Factors’.
The survey is a summary of the combined know-how of about forty SEO industry experts. The survey provides valuable insight into the murky world of Google’s local search ranking factors and helps businesses better understand where their focus should be in order to increase rankings within local search engine results pages.
A major point of difference between this year’s survey and previous years is the distinction between foundational ranking factors and ranking factors that provide a competitive difference. ‘Foundational Factors’ are considered to be necessary in order to actually appear in Google search results pages but they do not guarantee positive ranking movement, while the ‘Competitive Difference Makers’ are exactly that – more likely to help raise your ranking above that of a competitor. Interestingly the survey results do vary quite noticeably under each category, take a look below.
Top Five Foundational Ranking Factors
Proper GMB Category Associations
Consistency of Citations on the Primary Data Sources
Physical Address in City of Search
Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
Consistency of Citations on Tier 1 Citation Sources
Top Five Competitive Difference Makers
Quality / Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain from Industry-Relevant Domains
Quality / Authority of Inbound Links to GMB Landing Page URL
Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain from Locally Relevant Domains
Quantity of Native Google Reviews (with text)
Put simply, the survey reinforces the importance of building quality inbound links from prominent and relevant industry related sites, along with the need for a greater number of reviews. It’s also important to ensure the groundwork has been laid with good GMB category selection, a valid business address within the town or city you wish to attract business and having a good range of citations from quality sources (see the Top Value Pick below for more about citations).
The Importance of Citations. Google will give your website kudos for business listings or citations that include your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Look out for opportunities with industry body websites, your local chamber of commerce and business directories. These ideally include your website address too, but that’s not always an option. More info here…
Google Earth Has Been Updated. If you’re a local attraction, tourism or service type business, then it’s worth checking out how you look on the new Google Earth.
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