Taking up the torch for the 2nd year straight, David Mihm has put together an updated (and inspired) list of Local Search Ranking Factors. Twenty-six contributors and 49 criteria later, David unleashed the results of the survey earlier this week. The survey’s criteria included everything from local business listings to on-page optimization and even negative factors like negative reviews and using 800 numbers.
Let me be clear, this is a monster of a local search report. But if you are dabbling or are a full-time local SEO – there is a great deal to be learned from this data. Contributor discussion, reader feedback and the general insights gained are invaluable. Regardless, if you’re anything like me – you’re probably most interested in what has been rated as the most important factors:
Significant Positive Factors (Local Search Ranking Factors, 2009)
- Local business listing w/ address in the city of search
- Citations from major data providers (directories, internet yellow pages)
- Associating local business listing w/ proper categories
- General importance of claiming local business listing
- Product/service keywords in local business listing title
What I find most interesting here is that 4 of the top 5 are based on claiming a local business listing. Let that be a huge red flag for everyone: If you are trying to win at local search, you must claim your local business listing! To show changes from 2008 to 2009, the report points out the 5 criteria that increased (became “More Helpful) in importance. Two areas caught my attention immediately. Local business listings with video and with photos. Anyone out there who is still ignoring Universal Search needs to snap out of it. Expanding your reach into new mediums (be that video, photos, social media, etc.) will continue to grow in importance.
Honestly, I’m still digesting most of this report and sifting through the contributor comments. But I highly recommend that you do the same. Read it, take it to heart. If you disagree, take part in the discussion. If you love it, pass the info on to someone you know who needs it!