Earlier this morning, Moz’s full results of this year’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey have been released!

Pie Chart

If you haven’t had the opportunity to know what these Local Search Ranking Factors are, you can get some more details about it on the results page itself.

Some Highlights of Some Changes This Year

  • This is Moz’s first effort to help readers distinguish between the thematic  signals that have more or less prevalence on the result type Google shows, whether it be localized organic, pack/carousel, or maps.
  • Since more people surveyed are agency owners and agency reps compared to years before, this audience was a bit more catered to this year.  Since many who follows Moz may have already discovered and read previous surveys and probably know some of the basics of it, 35 experts were asked to score the same factors based on what they felt was making the most difference in competitive markets.  Anyone who already knows the basics, you’ll want to pay attention to the second column of results.
  • This year, personalization as a thematic signal to ask about was added.  Based on all the factors on the list, this one could be the most interesting to visit next year.  This is because both experts and researchers will become ever more familiar with the new Google Maps.

For the most part though, the main factors in the survey seem to pretty much stay the same, as they have the last couple years:

  • Proper category associations
  • A physical address in the city being searched
  • Consistent, high-quality citations from sources that are:
    • Authoritative
    • Trustworthy
    • Industry-relevant
  • Your NAP information featured clearly on your website
  • Your location as a keyword in title tags and headlines
  • A smattering of reviews on both Google and third-party sites
  • A handful of high-quality inbound links

David Mihm, who serves on the Advisory Board of SEMpdx, wanted to make some comments about some of the comments of responses that he found interesting.

  • Social signals seem to still play a small role in rankings, despite Google’s hyping of its Google+ and Google Places integration just over a year ago.  This is only 6.3% overall.  It seems to be the general agreement that this will be the place where rel=author tags will be implemented.  In the competitive markets, this was suggested as the #22 priority, where as it was #34 as a foundational priority.  This was mentioned by a number of experts in their comments.
  • David felt that the most surprising factor was the reviews from authority reviewers were rated as a #3 competitive difference maker.  It would be a wise idea to pay close attention to Google’s City Experts program, especially if you’re in a competitive market.
  • As maps are becoming the norm these days, it’s pretty noteworthy to note just how small the effect is (not even 25%) the primary factors in traditional SEO are judged to have on rankings.
  • Because Google is continuing to emphasize these factors in its localized organic results, (which seems to be around 50%, based on what the experts are saying) this should give business who don’t have a physical location an amount of consolation.
  • Looking at negative factors, one of the biggest offense sites and SEO practitioners can make in local search is call-tracking numbers and keyword stuffing.