Local SEO is difficult

Local SEO: The top ranking factors for local search results 2018

The Google My Business entry is the most important ranking factor for the local results. This is the result of the current report2018 Local Search Ranking Factors by MOZ. In addition, reviews, citations and links remain relevant.

GMB signals make up the lion's share of the ranking factors

Darren Shaw, founder of Whitespark, presents the results of the annual analysis in condensed form on the MOZ blog. The weighting of the ranking factors is similar to that which emerged from the study at the end of 2017 - with the exception of the GMB signals. They influence the ranking of the entry much more strongly. The significance of the signals for the Local Pack, i.e. the first three hits in the SERPs, as well as the Local Finder, which appears when you click on “More Places”, has increased by a total of 38 percent. The entry now makes up a quarter of the top ranking factors.

A lot has happened in 2018, the connection to Google+ has been cut and Google has gradually more features for GMB such as questions and answers or Google Posts rolled out. As a result, the ranking factors themselves have changed - albeit only slightly.

Reviews, citations and links remain authoritative

Reviews in particular have become more important. Over the past three years, the signal has grown proportionally by 43 percent. Keywords within the reviews are also more relevant today. Shaw also recommends replying to each review to show commitment.

The signal that is based on the presence in directories has steadily decreased - but citations are still extremely important. Therefore, your company should definitely be represented in the largest for your respective industry. Here it is also important to be listed with complete and uniform information. Misinformation is the most influential negative ranking factor.

Links are just as important as before, but also very difficult to get. The priority should therefore be on the other factors. Only after a complete GMB entry, the directories, reviews and multi-valued content should links be strategically set up.

Practical tips that emerge from the analysis

Google Posts are now available to everyone. This means that every company can create its own content. You should use this feature immediately and regularly. Shaw recommends writing a new post once a week and using, for example, slightly modified social postings as a template. At the moment this is a decisive competitive advantage in the ranking.

Other Recommendations:

  • The function questions and answers Fill and answer with your own questions. A lot can be achieved here, especially semantically.
  • Upload photos and videos regularly, moving images now also work in the GMB entry itself.
  • Generate engagement, constantly log in and out and provide fresh content. This shows Google how hard you are.

These tactics also have a positive effect on the behavioral signals of the users. Clicks on calls, explicit searches for your brand, navigation to your store or engagement with the listing will only become more valuable for Google in the future, according to Shaw.

Anton Priebe was active at OnlineMarketing.de from 2013 to 2019. As editor-in-chief, the studied German studies and sociologist focused on technology, creative marketing strategies, conversion optimization and SEO.