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Latest Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Is Here — Geek Out

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Local SEO mavens will already have consumed and digested the latest edition of Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors. But for those who haven’t (and work in local), it’s a must read. Developed originally by David Mihm, it’s now it’s being curated by Darren Shaw of Whitespark.

It’s essentially a poll of leading local SEO practitioners in North America. Now in its 9th year, the survey tries to assess the relative importance of different signals on ranking both in the Local Pack/Finder and in organic search results. These include GMB content, links, on page signals, citations and reviews and so on. There’s also considerable editorial commentary from the individual contributors that add color and nuance to the survey findings.

Here are the top-line results for the Local Pack:

Local Ranking Factors

Below are comparisons of the top factors for the Local Pack (left) and local organic ranking factors (right):

Local Search Ranking Factors

There’s also interesting discussion of the change in influence of specific variables over time. For example, Darren Shaw says this about proximity as the leading signal for the Local Pack:

This factor has been climbing from position #8 in 2014, to position #4 in 2015, to claim the #1 spot in 2017. I’ve been seeing this factor’s increased importance for at least the past year, and clearly others have noticed as well. As I note in my recent post on proximity, this leads to poor results in most categories. I’m looking for the best lawyer in town, not the closest one. Hopefully we see the dial get turned down on this in the near future.

Another interesting discussion is about citations and their value. Many have disputed the role and weight of citations — arguing that quality now matters more than raw quantity, with some saying citations will play a diminishing role over time. Others argue that Local SEO and traditional SEO are more similar today than ever. And there’s lots more like that to “geek out” on.

You can review the full results and discussion here. It’s also interesting to compare LocalSEOGuide’s separate ranking factors study using a very different methodology.

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