Understanding the 98 Google Local Ranking Factors


David Mihm has released his annual Local Search Ranking Factors list, which compiles feedback from 33 local optimization experts. The 98 resulting local ranking factors can, however, be overwhelming. This article walks you through the key takeaways.local-search-ranking-factors-2011

The LSRF: History & Methodology

David Mihm, a highly respected local SEO expert, first released a comprehensive list of local search ranking factors in 2008. Inspired by SEOMoz’s search engine ranking factor list, and prompted by changes to Google’s approach to local in January 2008, Mihm concluded “it was time to undertake a similar enterprise specific to Local Search.” At that time he received survey feedback from 20 industry experts.

Around the middle of the year each year since, Mihm has released an updated version of the LSRF. Each version has included new ranking factors, taken into account major changes in Google’s local search ranking, and added new industry experts to the list of those surveyed. Mihm also collects open-ended written feedback from the experts.

In previous years, the surveyed industry experts provided a number between -5 and +5 for each factor. However, “this year featured a drag-and-drop numerical ranking system in an effort to make the survey results both more precise and easier for the participants to complete.” Participants were also asked to give separate feedback response for pure local listings (such as those found in the three-box or five-box at the top of search) and “blended listings” (which integrate Google Places directly into the SERP).

Read more…

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