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The 2015 Moz Local Search Ranking Factors

View profile for Jamie Stevens
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Moz, one of the leading companies in SEO research and tools has recently released a new study on the most important ranking factors for Local Search in 2015. These ranking factors are based on a survey that is filled out every year by top people in the industry and include ranking factors that affect both the Map Pack and local organic listings.

What has changed since last year?

In essence, very little. Most of the ranking factors have only seen a change of fewer than two percentage points when compared to last year. The only exception to this is behavioural signals (this includes signals like click through rate) which has seen an increase from 6.9% to 9.5%.

Other than that, the report shows a slight decrease in the importance of citations and a slight increase in the importance of links. Onsite signals (e.g content, title tags & headings) remain the most important local search ranking factor.

Ranking Factor20152014
My Business Signals14.7%14.7%
On-Page Signals20.3%21.0%
Citations & NAP13.6%15.5%
Link Signals20.0%18.3%
Review Signals8.4%9.8%
Social Signals5.0%5.8%
Behavioural Signals9.5%6.9%
Personalisation8.5%8.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are the signals for the map pack and local organic search different?

For the map pack, citations and information in your Google My Business profile are far more important than they are in the normal organic local search results. With the map pack showing at the very top of the search results for more and more search terms, optimising for the map pack, rather than the organic search results is becoming more important.

Will any of the changes affect local SEO strategy?

We do not believe that the changes are large enough to require any major changes to local SEO strategy, as little has really changed to the importance of each signal. However, the increase in importance of behavioural signals may encourage local businesses with larger budgets or more time on their hands to invest in conversion rate optimisation to improve these signals.

Where is Google heading with local SEO?

With the rapid advances in machine learning over the past few years, Google will more than likely continue to increase the strength of user behaviour signals in their algorithm, as analysing user behaviour is often the best way to understand the quality of a site. However, it may take many years for them to build up enough data to do this well. We expect on-page signals, citations and links to continue as the largest ranking factors for at least the next few years.

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