Google: Local listings and Behavior weigh heavily on Local Search Position

Written by Anthony D on . Posted in SEO

Key Thoughts From 2015 Local Ranking Factors Study

  • Moz has published their 2015 Local Ranking Factors article
  • Behavioral trends / mobile have seen a big increase in 2015
  • Link factors- extremely more important for local search
  • Citations are less important
  • Quality of links & authority have increased importance
  • Google’s

    “Snack Pack”

     algorithm update changes show experts weighing heavy on links, citations
Just a few few days ago Moz has published their 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors study.  In the study, they invite the top Local SEO leaders from around the world to give their views on what it takes to rank in local search – it’s what’s on everyone’s minds.Because of the vast knowledge & experience of the participants, the results are as accurate a gauge of the state of local search as we can hope to get – without talking directly to google!  So what do the 2015 results look like??We’ll summarise from the article some of the main talking points for you:

Local SEO – Search Ranking Factors 2015

local SEO ranking factors
There are no drastic changes, but the most significant movements year on year are represented below:

Important

  • Behavioral/Mobile Signals – 9.5% (+2.6)
  • Link Signals – 20% (+1.7)
  • Personalization – 8.5% (+0.1)

Not as important

  • External Loc. Signals – 13.6% (-1.9)
  • Review Signals – 8.4% (-1.4)
  • Social Signals – 5% (-0.8)
  • On-page Signals – 20.3% (-0.7)

Similar to before

  • My Business Signals – 14.7% (=)

Developing Trends

ranking factor analysis 3 years

A 3 year trend analysis

A big thank you to Moz, whom made it possible for us to view the past studies all the way back to 2008. Above we’re looking at how the results have developed since 2013 to present day.  We can see that over the past 3 years, onpage factors have remained important as an overall ranking factor, links have grown in importance, as local & organic have become more intertwined.

Notice a slight decrease in the importance of citations. Looking at the top 50 factors it is clear that quantity of citations may be less important, it is the quality & accuracy of citations which continues to gain prominence. Behavioral / mobile factors, may not be hugely important yet, but they are continually growing year on year as people increase mobile use to almost a single point of information sourcing.


Most important local SEO organic factors

Sure, you can find the top 50 ranking factors in the full study, but we’ve summarized the top 10 most important factors, based on their impact on localized organic rankings, so you can understand SEO a little better.

On-page SEO factors

The domain authority of a website is the most important localized organic factor in 2015, whilst having the city & state in your GMB landing page title is number 3 on the list. The topical & geographical keyword relevance of domain content also feature in the top 10, whilst the importance of having the city / state in title tags & GMB landing page title is also crucial.

SEO Link factors

Link signals are now more important for local search ranking vs 2014. The top 10 localized organic factors show that the quality & authority of inbound links to a domain are key, whilst the diversity of those links is also crucial.

GMB location SEO factors

The obvious benefit of having a physical address in the city of the searcher is a major advantage in localized organic rankings.

External SEO location factors (ie. citations, local listings)

External location signals are seen as slightly less important year on year, but the overall quality & authority of citations remains one of the top 10 localized organic factors.

Behavioral / mobile SEO factors

The most important behavioral factor in 2015 is the click-through rate from search results.

Most important factors

Again, you can find the top 50 ranking factors in the full study, but below we’ve summarized the top 10 most important factors that have an impact on local pack / carousel rankings.

GMB location factors

For local pack ranking, having a physical address in the city of search is the number one ranking factor, and a closer proximity of address to that point of search adds further benefit. Choosing the proper category associations for a business is vital – as is the product / service keyword in the GMB business title.

External location factors (ie. citations, local listings)

For local pack ranking, the consistency of structured citations is considered the 2nd most important factor. Likewise, the quality & authority of those citations takes on added importance.

On-page factors

Similarly to localized organic factors, the domain authority of a site is crucial for local pack ranking. Having the city & state in the GMB landing page title is also important, as is ensuring that the HTML NAP matches your GMB location NAP. The domain authority of a site is crucial for local pack ranking.

Behavioral / mobile factors

Once again, the click-through rate from search results has a big impact on local pack / carousel results.

What has changed since the Snack Pack update?

The local pack changed in August 2015, so what are the top local SEOs focusing more on since then?  Let’s look.

External location factors (ie. citations, local listings)

Since the introduction of the snack pack / local stack, experts are paying more attention to the quality & authority of structured citations. In addition to this, the consistency of those citations is equally important.

Link factors

Once again we see that link factors are important for local SEO in 2015. The quality & authority of inbound links is more important since the recent changes, whilst the quantity of inbound links has also drawn more attention – particularly those from locally-relevant domains. Another factor which has grown in prominence since the snack pack is the quality / authority of links to a GMB landing page URL.

Review factors

Review factors only make up 8.4% of the overall local search ranking factors, but since the introduction of the snack pack, the quantity of native Google reviews (w/text) have perhaps taken on a little more importance.

On-page factors

Experts are now paying even more attention to domain authority since the changes, whilst the topical (product/service) keyword relevance of domain content has also increased in perceptions.

GMB location factors

Always an important factor anyway, the proximity of address to the point of search (searcher-business distance) has seemingly grown in importance since the recent local changes.
Amazing. Lots of great info to absorb, and there will be loads of new analysis on this latest survey from Moz – which we will pick up as well.

Go ahead and take a look at the full results on Moz.com as we cannot cover everything here. You can also call in to discuss this with our Local SEO experts by phone: 855.355.SITE