David Mihm, who is an industry leader in the Local Search Marketing field has recently released this year’s Local Search Ranking Factors, Vol. 5. This is a survey of the world’s top Local Search Marketing experts, where the top ranking factors of Google Places, now Google+ Local, are ranked in order of importance. This is a fantastic piece of information which helps the rest of us Local Search Marketers keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry.
So we decided that for our readers, we would break the top 10 results down into simple terms that they could use to promote their own businesses online. So here they are, the top 10 most important factors in ranking your business in the Local Search results:
- Physical Address in the City of Search: Although it’s possible to rank outside the city where your physical address is located, it’s not easy, and nearly impossible in competitive industries.
- Proper Category Associations: Setting the wrong category for your Google+ Local page can severely hurt your rankings. Make sure you get this right.
- Proximity of Address to Centroid: With more people searching from mobile devices, the location of your Physical Address in relation to the location the user is searching from makes a huge difference.
- Domain Authority of Website: Having a well optimized, aged, and authoritative website makes a big difference. This is one of the biggest changes this year because Google is looking more at the website than they used to. At one point, the website made little difference in Google Places ranking, but now it’s very important.
- Quantity of Structured Citations: Citations are business listings in other Local Online Directories such as Yelp.com, YP.com, and SuperPages.com. The more listings you have, the better.
- City, State in Places Landing Page Title: Having the City and State in your website’s Title tag now has a very positive effect on the rank. Again, Google is looking more and more at on-page optimization when ranking your listing.
- Quantity of Native Google Places Reviews: Reviews on your Google+ Local page are going to be harder to get now that users are required to have a Google+ account, but they will be more valuable.
- Quality/Authority of Structured Citations: The authority of the directories you place citations on makes a big difference. There are tons of directories, but start with the Top 50 Citation Sources for Local Businesses and your listings will be much more effective. It’s also absolutely vital that your Name, Address, and Phone Number match on all of your citations. Spending a little extra time on the authority Citation sources to create a high quality listing can also help.
- Local Area Code on Place Page: Make sure you enter at least your area code on your Google+ Local page, even if you don’t display your address. Many people run businesses from home, but that shouldn’t stop you from ranking well in Local Search.
- HTML NAP Matching Place Page NAP: Your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) on your website needs to match your Google+ Local page.
There are many other factors listed on the Local Search Ranking Factors report, but these top 10, should get you well on your way to ranking on the first page of Google.