The 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors are out. I am not entirely surprised by the overall consensus. Google’s shift is gradual and steady. Knowing overall which direction Google is headed in is no huge surprise. And catching glimpses along the way helps local experts see “where the puck is headed“. (That one was for you Matt Cutts). So as a Local SEO Guru, you hit the ranking factors page, take a quick scan at the top factors “Yeah, Yeah, I knew all this already…” and leave. Slow down Guru, you are going to miss something.
Take if from David Mihm “There are so many pearls of wisdom from the survey’s participants.”
Here are 9 notable insights for local search experts in 2015, which will play well into 2016.
1- “Focus on acquiring quality/authoritative hyper-local & industry-specific links” – Gyi tsakalakis
When the consensus agrees that Link Signals = 20.0% (Inbound anchor text, Linking domain authority, Linking domain quantity, etc.) knowing what links matter is a golden nugget. Kudos to Gyi.
2- “Reviews!” – Matthew Hunt
“Reviews matter to users when trying to make a snap decision on what local business they will call or visit.” .. Reviews are relevant “in both mobile and desktop.” Let me spell it out for you, Reviews are user behavior and reviews influence user behavior. Let me do the math for you… Review Signals (8.4%) + Mobile Signals (9.5%) = 17.9% (3rd largest ranking factor)
..& see, I am not alone in my Reviews Matter Rant. ;)
3- “For better or for worse, what’s in the “business name” field still matters to an absurd degree.” – Phil Rozek
UGHHHH!!!! Yes. Google figure this one out PLEASE! …But in reality, and to the shagrin of all of us that cannot take advantage of this, it will not go away. ….Brings back memories of EMDs.
4- “Social Media is called social media” Greg Gifford
“Who cares if it actually helps your SEO – an active social media account and an engaged audience can do wonders for your bottom line.” Laughable but nailed it. Amen Brother Greg, Amen.
6 – “Media mentions appear to be particularly powerful.” – Darren Shaw
“Even a single mention in a local paper seems to provide a significant boost.” Great advice Darren, go Help a Reporter Out.
7 – “Content… semantic keyword grouping” – Joy Hawkins
“When I get a business that is in a competitive market I almost always start by looking at what their competition has that they are missing. I specifically look at the content they have on their website and how Google might be using semantic keyword grouping.” Thanks Joy for the tip on avoiding keyword stuffing (negative SEO) and deliver quality content laced with semantics.
8 – “focus on the citations that matter most” – Matthew Hunt
Actionable. Find citations in the “web results” section. Brilliant. Thank you again Mr. Hunt.
9 – “SEP not simply SEO.” – Garrett Mehrguth
“Search Engine Positioning… it is essential to think of all your SERP marketing positions. …There are only so many searches for a service a month, the surest way to increase lead volume is to have as many spots in the SERP landscape as possible.” A reminder of a holistic approach. Thank you, Garrett.
Conclusion to Local Ranking Factors 2015
To quote Jen Lopez of Moz, “Read the F*ing Post.” And read the whole post.
Thank you local search experts and hats off.
P.S… if you were expecting a top 10 List then you will have to add #10 below, I am not going to do all the work for you!!