Local ranking factors survey for 2013 released
What's happening in local search?
Each year, experts in the local search sphere contribute to the Moz local ranking factors survey. For 2013 the core factors in achieving optimum local rankings have remained broadly similar, with the top 5 'foundational' factors for local search ranking including:
- Proper category associations
- Physical address in city of search
- Consistency of structured citations
- Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
- HTML NAP (Name, Address, Phone) matching place page NAP
Are 'quality' reviews crucial?
Possibly the most surprising result of the survey was the importance given to the 'Quantity of Reviews by Authority Reviewers' - the number 3 'Competitive Difference Maker'
The strength of review influence has inevitably led to a spin-off industry of 'review generation' companies, something that is against the guidelines of most local search companies. This month Yelp took action against a number of businesses 'caught offering up cash, discounts, gift certificates or other incentives in exchange for reviews about this business'. This resulted in Yelp displaying a 'Consumer Alert' message on the affected listings for 90 days.
With review and image intensive Google updates such as the Carousel result set (not yet visible in the UK) and star ratings appearing in the serps (along with an out-of-five numerical rating) issues such as these are likely to be a part of local search optimisation for some time to come.