The Local search ranking factors report for 2015 is finally out and it is a prerequisite for anyone in the local SEO arena to go through. The survey questioned around 40 leading SEO practitioners about the variables which drive the search engine rankings for local search results. This survey was begun by David Mihm a few years ago and the survey is indeed pretty extensive and all-inclusive and it can’t be easily summarized in a single post.
Summary of the variables that rank and the consensus view of their influence
- My Business signals (14.7%): Categories, proximity, keywords in business Title etc
- External Loc. Signals (13.6%): IYP aggregator, citation volume, NAP consistency
- On page signals (20.3%): Keywords in Titles, Domain authority and presence of NAP
- Link Signals (20%): Inbound anchor text, linking domain quantity, linking domain authority etc.
- Review signals (8.4%): Review velocity, review quantity, review diversity etc.
- Social signals (5.0%): Google+ authority, Twitter followers, Facebook likes.
- Behavioral or Mobile Signals (9.5%): Mobile clicks to call, clickthrough rate and check-in offers etc.
- Personalization (8.5%)
According to the above mentioned breakdown category of the search ranking factors of local SEO, you can see that the top consideration is On-page signals, which is soon followed by an even distribution of different other factors like My Business signals, Link signals, external signals, behavioral signals and so on. The biggest consideration seems to be the stress on the quality and the incorporation of an extensive range of signals.
Comments from local SEO practitioners – The excerpts
Whitespark, Darren Shaw: As the local packs have only three spots, the local organic results have become even more important. He says that the companies are exercising more effort into unstructured citations, content and links for their clients these days. Even a single mention in the local newspaper seems to offer a significant boost to local organic and local pack rankings.
Local Search Forum, Linda Buquet: She doesn’t think that the things that are required to rank has changed in a big way and the best practices required still apply. The algorithm didn’t change and mainly the changes came in display and images.
Even more than the “national search space”, the local seo results of Google and ranking variables seem to be fluid enough and they’re always subject to ongoing changes. While some are driven by mobile, some others are by quality considerations.