Local Search Report Reveals Not Much Has Changed
Moz has revealed its local ranking factors study for 2014. The big surprise is… well, there are no surprises. Local search has not changed a great deal since 2013, and the same important lessons ring true this year.
Local search is critical for businesses that operate from a bricks and mortar store, and ranking factors may control prominence on Google Maps.
Moz found that on-page signals had the most influence over local search ranking. This includes things like keywords, domain authority and the presence of Name Address and Phone (NAP) information.
The next category was link signals such as the domain authority of linking sites, keywords in anchor text and the number of domains linking to the site.
Third most important: external location signals. This might include NAP consistency across the web.
It’s surprising that user reviews weren’t stronger in their influence, but maybe this is something Google is still working on. There’s certainly a diverse range of ranking factors at work, above and beyond incoming links.
Google seems to be measuring Click Through Rate (CTR) closely in local search, and this is one area where the Moz analysts saw growth.
The search giant also seems to be working on its Pigeon algorithm and funnelling that knowledge back into local search in the US. Domain authority is one way for Google to tell a quality local business site from a spammy site.
If you have location detection turned on, you’re also helping Google to understand how close businesses are when you select them. Location seems to be monitored via any device, not just smartphones and tablets. This makes sense, since users are more likely to want results close to them at the time of searching.
You can read the full results of the Moz local search report here.