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Thread: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

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    JoyHawkins's Avatar
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    Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    I just posted this over at my blog but wanted to post it here as well since poor Linda hasn't been feeling well. Google has confirmed that CTR is a ranking factor in the 3-pack.

    Many of us have speculated this and done tests to show that CTR can impact rankings but it's really great when Google confirms! Previously they always listed 3 factors in this help article.

    However, on this thread posted yesterday, they added a 4th:

    Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.

  2. Members who thanked JoyHawkins for this post:

    Brian Barwig (12-01-2015),djbaxter (12-01-2015),Linda Buquet (12-01-2015),Margaret Ornsby (12-01-2015),Phil Rozek (12-01-2015),seoWest (12-01-2015),sergiuliano (12-03-2015),Tim Sweeney (12-01-2015)

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Great find, Joy!

    It's nice to see the semi-"official" word on this, to semi-confirm what Darren and I (among others) have said for a long time now.

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Yeah! Especially since I've seen confusing articles that conclude it's not a ranking factor: Is CTR A Ranking Factor In Organic Results? (although this article is talking about organic, not local)
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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Yeah. The trouble with that "study" was/is that it assumed we can recreate the kind of user-behavior that Google takes into consideration.

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Well spotted Joy - that is interesting indeed.

    Looking at the profile of the guy who posted this (Rahul J - awesome tash!) he was only registered 3 weeks ago and has only posted twice on the forum. So he's not a long term support agent.

    I wonder if he was meant to announce this fact publicly?

    Or if he's new to the GMB support team maybe they've updated their training and included this fact.

    Would be good to get a 2nd confirmation of the fact.
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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Can't comment right now much except to say thanks for sharing Joy!

    It's a catch 22. Whoever is in the 3 pack will get more clicks and other user interactions than someone buried on page 3 or even at #6 in the Local Finder.

    So the top listings continue to get more play, reinforcing their ranking.

    You need more clicks to move up, but to get more clicks you need to be visible.
    You can't be visible and get more clicks if you are on page 3. Catch 22.
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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    Can't comment right now much except to say thanks for sharing Joy!

    It's a catch 22. Whoever is in the 3 pack will get more clicks and other user interactions than someone buried on page 3 or even at #6 in the Local Finder.

    So the top listings continue to get more play, reinforcing their ranking.

    You need more clicks to move up, but to get more clicks you need to be visible.
    You can't be visible and get more clicks if you are on page 3. Catch 22.
    @Linda
    To some extent. In my experience, though, Google rotates and tests the results a lot. That's one reason we see so much junk in there - businesses that should not be rankings. Google flies businesses up the flagpole to see who salutes them.

    It's also why occasionally in the past I'd get a client with a new business, then we'd do basic optimization, see tip-top results for a month, call it Miller Time, and see a drop-off a month later and wonder what happened . We weren't doing anything wrong, but didn't quite "deserve" high rankings at that point. But if we regrouped and put in the hard work and got plenty of Google reviews (enough to make people click more), the rankings would more often stick the second time around.

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Nice catch @joyhawkins. Good point @mylesanderson. It would be good to know his official title before leaning on this info too much.

    @philrozek is spot on about how G tests click through. I've experienced identical behavior many, many times.

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Solid catch. Would higher CTR's for other keywords be able to influence ranking on a more sought after head term? Say Google sees a long tailed query is getting a high CTR on a specific page, would that help influence the similar head term? Would that be part of Google's testing?

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    Re: Google just Publicly Stated a 4th Local Ranking Factor

    Now I do believe click through is a ranking factor but...
    I'm not so sure I believe that post was properly vetted and some of it does not make sense...

    The important point he makes is:

    "In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword."

    But then he says just giving people a link to the G+ L page works. That's not the same as clicking from search.

    "Share your location link and the business page with your customers. This will help them find your listing without any hassle. This will also help in improving the search history and prominence for your business."

    Then he suggests doing a bunch of things that are no longer even options in the new G+.

    4. Share what’s new: People mostly follow the listings where business updates are regularly posted. Make the best of all the options available in post (Text, Photos, Videos, Links, Events and Polls).

    Just making some observations about his advice in general, but again still think CTR from search is a factor.
    Margaret Ornsby likes this.
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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon". ;-)

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