There are a stack of SEO and search results ranking experts out there. Just do a Google search and you’ll find everyone and their dog is an expert, and offering the services to boot!
The truth is this number is highly inflated. SEO can be a tricky business and NOT everyone is an expert. To gain true insights into SEO and search ranking, a company (or person) requires the man hours, the budget, the systematized testing procedures and infrastructures, and the true desire to gain knowledge about search results and the associated trends.
Only the cream tends to gain the true and accurate insights, and the SEO experts at Moz certainly fit into that category…
For them, it’s that time of year again, when the SEO experts at Moz publish what has become the most authoritative report on the state of local search ranking factors for each year. The most recent version came out in mid-October 2014, and reveals several interesting insights you’ll want to know as you begin the new year. Moz surveys experts in the local search field and comes up with a report that details what they suspect Google is using to rank local pages.
In an effort to summarize what can be a SEO geek speak fest, here are our main takeaways from the report for what is working in local search rankings.
Top local search ranking factors 2014
User Behavior on the site – What your users does once on your site appears to have a great influence in your ranking. Things like clickthroughs, getting directions, interactions with forms, etc. are receiving far greater attention from the algorithm.
Proximity to the searcher – It appears that the search algorithm is becoming better and better at detecting user location. If your local pages are GEO optimized, you stand a far better chance for Google connecting the dots and showing your results for searches in your area. Google is even getting good at knowing desktop locations, something it hadn’t done well the past.
Your domain’s authority – This is rising fast. If you are a brand and are engaged in building authority and presence in the search engines, Google is deciphering this and helping your pages to rank in front of the more spammy results.
Citations – Citations, even from an unlinked authority site, appear to be a large part of Google’s mission to reward brands. Using citations is still a large part of ranking well locally.
On-Page SEO signals rule – The largest factor in this year’s survey was again on-page SEO. The presence of NAP data, (name, address, phone) keywords in titles, domain authority and GEO locators among others are still leading the way when it comes to getting you great results in local rankings.
The whole report is definitely worth reading and can be found right here.
If you have any vested interest in the trends of SEO and Search, what’s working and what’s not, and what search ranking factors you need to take notice of, then you would do well to take advantage the results of this valuable research.