Results from the Local SEO Ranking Factors Study presented at SMX East
Wonder what factors correlate with strong local rankings? Contributor Christine Churchill summarizes the results of a recent local ranking factors study presented at SMX East 2016.
The SMX East Session “The 2016 Quantitative Local SEO Ranking Factors Study” presented by Local SEO Guide‘s Dan Leibson (Vice President of Local & Product) and Andrew Shotland (President) explored the results of their recent study analyzing and prioritizing ranking factors that affect local search.
Unlike many studies that simply summarize search marketing experts’ opinions, the Local SEO Guide study took actual quantitative data as input. Leibson and Shotland teamed with competitive intelligence tool maker Places Scout and statisticians from the University of California, Irvine. By partnering with the University’s Center for Statistical Consulting, they ensured the study results were independent and withstood objective statistical analysis.
Their presentation, entitled “Reverse Engineering Google’s Local Search Algorithm,” highlighted the main findings of their study. It is important to remember that the results of the study reveal correlations, not causations. The study identified characteristics of sites that ranked well; it does not definitively say these characteristics are ranking factors.
The study assembled data from over 100 different ranking factors, 30,000 businesses and 3,000 local searches. Factors analyzed in the study included Google My Business listings, on-site website factors, off-site local factors (including citations) and links. Industry standard link tools Majestic and Moz were used for collecting link metrics.