Every year the folks over at Moz come out with what has proven to be the authoritative annual report on local search ranking factors. They poll experts in the field and create an easy to read and comprehend report that details the empirical evidence of how Google is ranking local pages.
Sometimes it can be difficult to wade through the SEO-speak, so simply speaking, here are our takeaways from the latest report, issued October 13, 2014.
What’s working in local search ranking
User Behavior on the site – What your users do, once on your site, appears to have a great influence in your ranking. Things such as clickthroughs, getting directions, interactions with forms, etc. are receiving greater attention from the algorithm.
Proximity to the searcher – Google’s algorithm is becoming more adept at GEO locating your user, and showing them appropriate results. They are even able to detect desktop locations more effectively, a large advance form even last year.
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 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 biggest 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.
I would definitely encourage you to read the full report, which can be accessed through this page.