Every year the folks over at Moz release what has become the authoritative annual report on local search ranking factors. They poll experts in the field and create an easy to read and understand report that details the empirical evidence of how Google is ranking local pages.
What’s working in local search ranking
User Behavior on the site - What your users does once on your site appears to have a big influence in your ranking. Things such as clickthroughs, getting directions, interactions with forms, etc. are getting far greater attention from the algorithm.
Proximity to the searcher - It would appear that the search algorithm is getting better and better at detecting user location. If your local pages are GEO optimized, you stand a better chance at Google connecting the dots and showing your results for searches in your local 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, more and more Google is deciphering this and helping your pages to rank ahead of the more spammy results.
Citations still work - Citations are still a large part of the plan, and even unlinked citations from an authority site are appearing to be very useful and advantageous. Still make an effort to acquire more and better citations as part of ranking well locally.
On-Page SEO signals rule - The most significant 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 in regards to getting you great results in local rankings.
I would certainly encourage you to read the full report, which can be accessed through this page.
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