Each year, David Mihm puts together an incredibly useful report on ranking factors that may or may not be important in local search that is certainly a not-to-be-missed item for anyone involved in or interested in local search. The two previous editions of the report, from 2008 and 2009, are still available for perusal if you would like to see how opinions have changed over the years as to what is important in terms of concentrating on if trying to rank for local results.
The report groups together the responses to a whole bunch of questions by 34 search experts, asking them to rank the relative importance of 69 factors presented to those working with local search, ranging from -5 to +5 in importance. A second number indicates whether the factor has increased or decreased in importance since the previous year. Standard deviations are also presented, which can help one judge the degree of agreement or disagreement among the panelists. Additionally, comments made by the experts taking part are included, and it is here that some of the most interesting material is found — exposure to comments from practitioners concerning what they have found to be important in undertaking local search campaigns throughout the past year.
The top five factors in this year’s collection are:
1. General Importance of Claiming Place Page / Local Listing (+4.40)
2. Business Address in City of Search (+4.16)
3. Associating Place Page with Proper Categories (+3.91)
4. Volume of Citations from Major Data Providers + IYP Portals (+3.53)
5. General Importance of Off-Page / Off-Listing Criteria (+3.35)
Visit David’s site for more info on the rankings and comments by the participants. If you’re just getting involved in optimizing for local search on your site, it’s an excellent place to learn about the various factors that can be involved in how a search engine decides how to rank your site and the opinion of actual practitioners on what is important and what not so important is priceless!