How does Google’s local algorithm work in 2016?
Columnist Andrew Shotland shares insights gleaned from a large-scale statistical analysis of local search ranking factors in Google.
Last month at SMX Advanced, Dan Leibson and I unveiled the results of what we believe to be the largest ever statistical study of Google’s Local SEO ranking factors. We looked at over 100 factors across 30,000 businesses to try to figure out how local businesses can rank better in Google, and the results were both surprising and perhaps not so surprising.
For years we have participated in David Mihm’s/Moz’s ranking factors survey, which has been great for getting a feel for what practitioners were seeing/feeling. But we felt that a statistical analysis of ranking local businesses could be a great complement and add additional insights into how we as an industry go about getting those businesses to rank well in Local Packs.
We partnered with Places Scout and Majestic to provide a lot of the data, then worked with the Center for Statistical Consulting at University of California, Irvine, to do all of the hard work of crunching the numbers.
The result was a monster report that we attempted to boil down into bite-sized, usable chunks. We focused on high-volume local queries (e.g., “dentist,” “lawyer”), looking at at both explicit local queries (e.g., “dentist in Pleasanton”) and implicit (e.g., “dentist”).
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