If we were to simplify (if not oversimplify) what it takes to rank in local search results in 2017, we would probably assume that links and reviews were the hot thing.
Out of over more than three dozen local SEOs that came together for, 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, which was just released on April 11th, this seems to be one of the many conclusions that have been drawn. This survey is the latest in the long-running surveys that was created by David Mihm almost a decade ago. Last year, the survey went on hiatus in 2016. But then Mihm handed it over to Darren Shaw.
In regards to the survey, although reviews and links are considered more important now, citations appear to have lost some importance. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t important, just that their importance have been lost over time. In his post, Shaw explained in the post that introduced his survey, “the emphasis on citations has seen some decline (certainly in favor of links), and rightly so. In particular, there is an increasing focus on quality over quantity.”
The survey describes what those local SEOs believe are the most important ranking factors for both local packs and localized organic search results. It even lists factors that are of more or less a concern since last year’s Google’s possum update.
This survey isn’t the only attempt at reverse-engineering Google’s local rankings algorithm. Two of the survey’s participants, Dan Liebson and Andrew Shotland both did their own statistical analysis of the factors that influence Google’s local search results.
For its part, Google has offered its own very high-level look at ranking factors in Google My Business, which focuses on the idea of prominence, relevance and distance.