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What Factors Influence Local Search Results?

July 6th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

When customers and prospects search online for what you sell, you hope and pray your business comes up at the top of their search results. Well, of course, you do more than hope and pray. But what exactly do you need to do? What factors make the most difference in where your business pops up in local search results? The 5th annual Local Search Ranking Factors report from David Mihm polls more than 40 local search experts to see what are the biggest ranking factors in local search.

The survey analyzes factors including:

  • Overall Ranking
  • General Signals
  • Place Page Factors
  • Off-Site Factors
  • On-Site Factors
  • Review Factors
  • Social/Mobile Factors

With major changes such as Google Panda, Venice and Penguin algorithm adjustments in the past year, how have the basics of local search changed? The good news is that, in many ways, they haven’t. As Mihm notes in his overview of the results, it’s still important to:

  • Have an address in the city the user is searching
  • Make sure your business is associated with the proper categories.
  • Make sure your business data is accurate and complete across Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.
  • Make sure your business data is accurate and complete at secondary sources including Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, Yellowpages.com and Superpages.com.
  • Work on getting your customers to review you at the new Google +Local (formerly Google Places).

Reviews got more important this year, and Mihm notes it’s especially important to:

  • Have Google Places (now Google+ Local) reviews,
  • Have a high quantity of third-party reviews, and
  • Include product or service keywords in reviews.

Mihm’s survey was conducted before Google Places morphed into Google+ Local, so keep that in mind when reading. You can find the full survey results here.

Image by Flickr user Christian Holmer (Creative Commons)

 

 

 

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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