It’s that time again! Moz has just released their 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors. We’re honored to have our very own Matthew Hunt (COO of Powered by Search) and Dev Basu (CEO of Powered by Search) included!
This year, Moz asked respondents to rate specific factors that contribute to rankings across both major results types (pack/carousel and localized organic). They also wanted to know which factors have increased and decreased since Pigeon was introduced.
The survey was split into 4 different sections:
General Ranking Factors
Specific Ranking Factors
Factors Most Affected by Pigeon
Negative Ranking Factors
Matthew Hunt got the chance to comment on 5 different local search ranking factors. This is what he had to say:
1 ) Off-Page Factor Commentary
If you want to know how to choose the best citations to go after, then search your local keyword + local modifier for different cities and look at who is ranking in the Maps Pack. You want to look at those small local businesses (not the big brand businesses) and look at what citations they have. Find them and get them. Find out which businesses are doing the least amount of work and still ranking. It’s not always about volume, but about getting the ‘right’ local authority document(s) mentions. Work smarter, not harder.
Getting backlinks still matter! Don’t let anyone tell you different. Again we have found it’s not about the quantity, but the quality of those links. If you want to rank better locally, try to get backlinks from authority industry verticals (ideally from pages that contain your cities local modifier in the Title Tag and H1 Tag) and get backlinks from local authority websites too. It’s not as hard as people think, if you just do some simple Google searches like “Shopping Listings + Local Modifier + Submit”. It will bring up quite few local based websites that accept submissions for local business listings.
2) Review Commentary
“Get reviews. No really knows if it’s truly a ranking factor. I think it is (a small one), but if you get five or more reviews on your Google Local Listing you get those golden stars next to your listing, which will make it pop above all the others who don’t have 5 or more reviews. It ain’t brain surgery that getting those golden stars next to your listing will bring more traffic and phone calls. What kills me is when a client has 4 reviews for months and months… bite the bullet and bloody well beg for a review from the client!”
3) Behavioral / Mobile Commentary
Local SEO, means searches with local intent, which means many of those searches and clicks come from mobile phones. If you don’t already have a responsive mobile friendly website… bloody well get one!
4) Pigeon Commentary
With the Pigeon Update it just proves your most important asset is your website. If you were a small business or any business that relied on traffic from Google Places listings and that disappeared let that be a lesson to you to make sure your website ranks locally well. It should also be a lesson to make sure you have lots of solid traffic sources outside of Google too.
5) Negative Factor Commentary
We manage 100’s of locations listings and whenever I see a clients business that is NOT ranking in the local 7-pack and has a lot more relevant citations, age, and filled out Google Places listing, then I can almost guarantee the problem is inconsistent NAP info. In my opinion, one of the numbers #1 negative ranking factors is inconsistent NAP info. Make that your number priority if you are an established business who doesn’t already rank well.
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