Many local SEO experts came together to publish the second version of the Local Search Ranking Factors. This guide grades how important each factor is in ranking well in local search. The survey polled 27 local SEO experts on 49 factors.
David Mihm who organized the survey said the follow points are most interesting to him:
- The power of Distance from Centroid as a ranking factor has diminshed, but many folks are still seeing clear evidence of its importance, despite Carter Maslan’s claims to the contrary last summer. It’s becoming even more important, though, to have a physical location for your business within the city which is being searched.
- The importance of links in the Local search algorithm(s) seems to be on its way down, while the importance of citations, particularly those from major data providers and industry/location-specific directories, was deemed to be increasing in importance. HyperLocal citations (from blogs or other businesses in your area) are becoming more important, too, but not at the same rate. The quality of links seems much more important than quantity, which speaks to the idea of Location Prominence as a central algorithmic factor.
- When it comes to reviews, though, it’s the exact opposite–at least in terms of rankings. Nearly every expert felt that positive customer experiences dramatically increased clickthrough and conversion, but that volume of reviews is what makes the difference in ranking. Ian Lurie’s concept of review “velocity” is an interesting one to consider.
A must read for all SEOs and all businesses that run local operations.
Forum discussion at Sphinn.