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Local search is booming. Because OurChurch.Com serves a lot of local organizations including churches, schools, local ministries and local businesses, local search is a big interest of ours, our clients and many Christian Web Trends readers.
Darren Shaw just published the results of the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey. Here is what professional local SEOs say are the…
Top 8 Local Search Rankings Factors:
1) Google My Business – This includes creating or claiming your Google My Business profile, the proximity of your location to the person searching or city center, categories, keyword in business listing.
2) Links – Yes, links to your website affect your local search rankings, including the number and quality of links and the anchor text of the links.
3) On-Page optimization – Having the correct name, address and phone number on your website, keywords in content and tags, etc.
4) Citations – Citations are mentions of the name and address of your organization on other websites without a link.
5) Reviews – Especially reviews posted to Google.
6) Behavioral – This includes the click rate on your local listing as well as time on site.
7) Personalization – Search engines personalize the search results for each of us based on location, demographic, past sites visits.
8) Social media – It’s a factor but comes in last in this survey.
This is good information to have if you are a part of a local organization and what to know how to prioritize your efforts to improve your local search rankings.
My Top 3 Local SEO Take-Aways
If you’d like some further analysis to help you process the results of the research. Here are my thoughts…
1) Create, claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. If you haven’t this yet, this should be your top priority. If it’s been a while since you checked your Google My Business listing, review it and make improvements.
2) Ask for reviews. Reviews are a significant ranking factor. It can be difficult to get reviews. What works best? Ask your best customers/members/supporters directly. You can send an email, ask in person, ask in your next meeting.
3) Local SEO is… SEO. Years ago local search was disconnected from general search results, but today the better your website ranks in the general search results the better it will rank in local/maps results. So, do the things that impact general search rankings – optimize your site, produce great optimized content, get links, engage in social media.
You can read more about the results and how they compare to past years results here.
What are your thoughts on the 2017 local search ranking factors survey results?