Local Search Ranking Factors 2014 - Just Released

Linda Buquet

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<center><a href="http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors"><img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/local_search_rankings.gif" title="local_search_ranking-factors" width="300" /></a></center>
<strong><a href="http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors">David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors 2014</a></strong> was just published at MOZ. In this time of chaotic Google Local changes, you will want to be sure to read every word and bookmark it for future reference.

I was honored to be selected as a contributor again this year, along with a distinguished group of local marketing experts from around the world to share insights and opinions about the most important Google local ranking factors.

If you deal with Google Places/Google My Business/Google+ Local SEO, then you know David's Local Search Ranking Factors is considered <strong>THE</strong> holy grail for local search. Be sure to read it top to bottom, especially the wise comments from all the experts.

This one of course focused a lot on the Local "Pigeon" update.

543878d4e59135.65321455.png

Above is only a static graphic of one part.

Head over to MOZ to analyze the interactive chart and read all the comments from the local search experts. They are worth their weight in gold.


<strong>Oh and good luck getting anything else done today!</strong> ;-)

Here is the MOZ blog about about it, if you want to read what folks are saying or want to weigh in.

I admit I have not even had time to analyze it all yet. Rushed to get this out to share with you guys 1st.
I may have comments after I have time to dig into it.

<strong>PS</strong> Huge thanks go out again to David for coordinating everyone’s efforts and compiling all this data for the benefit of small businesses and the local marketing industry!

Any surprises? Questions? Comments?

543878d4e59135.65321455.png
 

Linda Buquet

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So much for the rest of the day's work.
You got that right, Scott.

Just making time to dig in. (Have been busy sharing.)

Whoa! Talk about brain exploding! Tons of great insights from all the experts!
 

Linda Buquet

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Just did my 1st pass - quick skim and man that thing is jam packed with great info this year.

Of course much of the info is about that damn bird that seems to still rent lots of space in everyone's head.

Honestly when I completed the survey back in August I SERIOUSLY thought:

"Wow, David's timing on this is unfortunate because so much focuses on Pigeon and by the time this is published everything could change and Pigeon may not even be as big of a factor, or could morph OR could be totally rolled back."

Alas, that darned bird is still with us!
 

Linda Buquet

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What was your biggest take away?

Were there any surprises as far as how any factors rank?

What comment most relates to the way you see the local landscape right now?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)
 

Linda Buquet

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A great post and awesome list of takeaways and recommendations from Whitespark!

<a href="http://www.whitespark.ca/blog/post/41-moz-surveys-results-takeaways-and-recommendations">Local Search Ranking Factors 2014 - Takeaways and Recommendations</a>

The Changing Landscape

The recent Local Search Ranking Factors survey has shed some light on the changes that made a fairly simple process an entirely different beast. If there is one thing we notice from the seemingly complex ranking factors list, it's the shift of organic signals to local algorithms. Domain authority, link quality and your typical organic factors measured by user behavior are all playing a huge part in the new search results.

Several experts have noted the growing significance of behavioral factors such as click-through rates, clicks on directions, pogo-sticking and so on.
 

steven

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I'm a little late to the party, but have been catching up for the past hour or so. Lots of interesting little tidbits to glean from the major players... Someone mentioned that google reviews were being weighted more in ranking (paraphrasing). Sort of coincidentally, my client just got their fifth review and is now in the 7 pack for her main keyword.
 

Tyson Downs

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So, I guess the question would be, what will you do differently with your clients after reading this? Is it just a nice piece of marketing material for Moz or is there new things that you can implement with your clients to improve their local search results?
 

Phil Rozek

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So, I guess the question would be, what will you do differently with your clients after reading this? Is it just a nice piece of marketing material for Moz or is there new things that you can implement with your clients to improve their local search results?
Depends what work you were already doing for clients. But off the top of my head, I'd say reviews and link-earning strategy needs more emphasis than before, and building a bunch of citations needs less emphasis than before.

There are other action-item takeaways - especially if you read my comments :) - but those are just a couple to start with.
 

Tyson Downs

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Depends what work you were already doing for clients. But off the top of my head, I'd say reviews and link-earning strategy needs more emphasis than before, and building a bunch of citations needs less emphasis than before.

There are other action-item takeaways - especially if you read my comments :) - but those are just a couple to start with.
I personally think that reviews should always be one of the #1 priority's for a client. I talk to them about it from day 1. Not necessarily because of potential ranking benefit, but because of how it can help increase conversions, so I personally probably wouldn't change much of this.

I'm interested to see how other people have their client campaigns set up.

Example, do you have it set up something like this:
Client A:
5 hours review help
5 hours citation building
5 hours link building
5 hours on page seo

If so, then would you then adjust it like:

6 hours review help
3 hours citation building
6 hours link building
5 hours on page SEO

Based on your comments Phil, I'm assuming it would look something like that?

And then, assuming that Client A made a move up the SERP's a month later, then it is to be assumed that the adjustment you made with more emphasis on reviews and link building are what caused the site to move up, correct?
 

Phil Rozek

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Oof. That's a tough one, Tyson.

Totally depends on the client. I don't believe in working on the same components (e.g. on-site work) in the same amounts month after month after month. In the early phases of a local SEO campaign your emphasis is different from how it is in the later phases.
 

Tyson Downs

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Understood Phil, and thanks for the comment. Just looking for feedback on how you or others would adjust your strategy based on the survey.

I want to make sure I squeeze every ounce of potential out of the different strategies that are out there. So, if I'm not understanding something I want to make sure I do. :)
 

Lloyd Silver

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The answer to what adjustments should be made (in general since each client is somewhat unique) based solely on the Moz report what be predicated on three things:

1. What has changed between the 2013 report and the 2014 report;
2. The assumption that you were doing things perfectly before : )
3. The assumption that the contributors got it perfectly

Interestingly, the My Business (Place Page) Signals importance decreased from 19.6% to 14.7%.

External signals like NAP and citations stayed the same, as did for the most part review signals and social signals.

On page signals went up from 18.8% to 21%.

Link signals went up from 14.4% to 18.3%.

And the "Behavioral/Mob. Signals" which includes clickthrough rates, check-ins, etc. went up slightly from 6.1% to 6.9%.

So if you just look at those differences, the most significant change is that the importance and proper optimization of the underlying website is more important than it was previously. Fortunately, that's an area that has always been high on our list but it still stresses the importance of the website even if our primary objective is better pack / maps results.

Tie this into the Penguin 3 update this past week and proper linking is incredibly important. One question that has been raised by others is how citations tie into Penguin. We suspect that directory links were hit pretty hard. Are citations directory links? Yes, I think so. But I think Google is smart enough in this sense to understand the difference between a high quality, high authority, fully fleshed out listing by a legitimate local company that can hopefully drive traffic as well as NAP/SEO signals, versus a spammy and sparse listing by a business just trying to get links.

So for me, I don't think there's much I'd do differently. I don't think the basics have changed much (but I still don't fully understand the ramifications of Pigeon).

One thing I will be tweaking is tracking and reporting. I'm looking at adding dynamic call tracking to all ongoing clients. And changing our reporting to focus less on rankings and more on actionable results.
 

Phil Rozek

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Well-said, Lloyd.

I've found that the links from various citation sources (I hate calling them that) are actually a positive. If you're getting them on the big sites we all know about and on industry-specific sites, that's good. At the same time, building 150+ citations has always been a waste, in my experience.

But yeah, I agree that the basics haven't changed. In my opinion, they never do.
 

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