Last month Dan Leisbson and Andrew Shotland unveiled the results of their statistical study of Google's Local SEO ranking factors. They closely looked for the factors that can improve rankings. We are sharing key findings from their report here so that you can prioritize your SEO spending as per below guidelines & get an enormous boost in your website’s ranking.
We all are very well aware of the fact that backlinks affect our local ranking, but the shocking fact is that it plays the most crucial role. We found out that Websites with older & trusted links are getting benefited. So now it's time to focus more on earning backlinks from trusted sources.
2. Website factors
I may sound like captain obvious but yes I would like to remind that use of targeted keywords makes a huge difference. Maintain a decent number of keywords on the page but don't overdo it. Also, the location pages which were backed with strong content performed really well, so maybe you should start investing more time in generating content, but only those which can be appreciated by both search engines bots and users.
You may have heard from many local SEO service providers that citations are crucial ranking factors, but surprisingly, it's not. Lack of citations can hinder you from getting into the local pack, but after getting there, it doesn't add much value. However, it doesn't mean that you should totally avoid it, make sure there are no inconsistent and duplicate citations and the information you have provided is correct.
4. Google My Business factors
Spending time in strengthening your Google My business page is a good idea because data revealed that reviews, photos & owner verification are correlated with good rankings. However, It is possible that they may be attracting more engagement because of it, but in this age of fierce competition, taking a risk can be costly.
5. Time for some big surprises
Adding your city's & state's name in the headline of your GMB's landing page will not guarantee good rankings. However, having the keyword in your business name can do wonders!
Update citations as soon as you can and invest your precious time in getting quality backlinks, it will help you improve your site's ranking in search engine result pages. Also, don't forget to back-up your pages with strong content and targeted keywords!