In this research, more than 100 ranking factors of 30,000 businesses have been studied. The purpose is to figure out what makes a business rank better on Google. The study found out some interesting facts:
- What’s the impact of backlinks on local rankings?
- Are city names in title effective or not?
- Whether Toolbar page rank are important, or not
- How high can you go if the keyword is there in your business name?
According to many, local SEO is an untamed beast. You have to consider traditional local signals as well as traditional SEO around your business website. And that’s the real challenge.
How to Prioritize Local SEO Activities
The problem is bigger for those with multiple-location. Even local SEO agencies find it tricky. Here, Webryze, Toronto SEO Agency is trying to make things simpler for local businesses and SEO agencies. We referred an analysis from Search Metrics and Moz that was performed around traditional organic ranking factors. Then we referred to the analysis conducted by Places Scouts.
We focused on 3 variations of 8 keywords across 100+ cities then let the statisticians perform their analysis. Before moving on, it is worth mentioning that these are just the factors and they may or may not be identical to the manner in which Google allocates ranks.
Soon after the launch of Pigeon in 2014, we have been hearing that links would be the strongest SEO signal for local SEO space and now, the data proves that it’s quite true. It looks like links are the key competitive differentiator even when it comes to Google My Business Rankings. Interestingly, of all the proprietary metrics we looked at, Majestic’s are killing it. The data shows that AC Rank, Trust Flow, and Citation Flow are all top 10 link metrics.
Several different website signals indicated a strong likelihood that they influence the performance of Google My Business. Although keyword usage, user engagement and words on page still matter, Google is moving towards more sophisticated methods for ranking. As far as the webpage content is concerned, size matters a lot. That means, not only you have to be relevant, you need to put more words on the page to get better ranking.
- Off-Site Signals
Citations turned out to be less important as compared to what people think about them. They are more like a commodity right now. If you conduct competitive searches, citations won’t be a handy ranking factor that can differentiate between competitors. Nevertheless, consistency is the key here. You can get into local pack with consistent citations, so they should not be ignored at any cost. It’s just that the volume and strength of citation are less important compared to other factors discussed over here. Get your Citations cleaned up and move on as fast as you can to higher value work.
- Google My Business
GMB signals are found to be stronger than before. Reviews, Photos and Owner verification implies to positive GMB performance. While profile views are strong signals, but they’re not correlated to ranking. After all, if you are ranking well, it’s likely more people will view your profile.
When it comes to Local SEO in 2016, if you are not invested in links and your website, and instead focus predominantly on traditional Local SEO areas like Google My Business and citations then you are going to be at a competitive disadvantage.