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BREAKING NEWS! 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors are here!

After taking a break in 2016 the latest Google Local Search Ranking Factors are here and citations are on the decline!

Since 2008 the team over at Moz have been putting together a survey of the most influential local search ranking factors to help small businesses decide where to put their efforts when it comes to increasing their rankings. There are plenty of interesting developments to be taken from their 2017 local ranking factors article and although you might already be implementing some of these ideas into your local SEO strategies it’s well worth taking a look at the conclusions below!

To summarise (and potentially oversimplify) this article for those in a hurry, links and reviews are good, citations are decreasing in importance and your proximity to the point of interest is now the number one local ranking factor according to the survey.

Going into things in a little bit more detail while reviews and links are considered to be more important now citations appear to be losing their strength. This appears to be in a general lean towards quality over quantity. We think this is a very good idea as Google is clearly rewarding businesses that are investing time and energy into their review strategies and how they look after their clients.

Putting it simply reviews equals trust, which means more clicks!

A new edition in this survey is the impact of Google’s possum update that arrived last year which had some dramatic implications for local businesses trying to increase their exposure, and it does a great job of highlighting things that may be of more or less of a concern since the update came out.

Reviews have seen an increase in their importance this year which is a logical step as Google attempts to deliver a quality search experience to its users.

Just imagine your Google, is there more incentive to put a business with no reviews on the first page where the user then needs to go to somewhere like Facebook or Yelp to get more information to make a buying decision?

The other major thing that we’ve noticed at Creative Horizons & SEO Training UK is the use of service linked key phrases in your Google My Business name. Sometimes it’s been a bit of a cat and mouse game with people changing their Google page names to include niche keywords for example:

John Smith Photography becomes “John Smith Wedding Photographers & Portrait Photographers Manchester.”

The summary here is simple:

  • You need lots of strong reviews on your Google My Business Page
  • Backlinks are still as important as ever
  • Optimising your Google Page with keywords can give you a ranking boost
  • Citations still need to be consistent but having lots of exact match citations is not going to give you a competitive advantage

The final point I want to make is that local SEO should be part of a holistic SEO strategy. Working across a comprehensive SEO marketing strategy is going to be the best way to achieve results in the long term. I’ve talked about this a few times but for most small businesses making sure your onsite optimisation is on point is the best place to start. No matter what business you’re in my article SEO for Photographers is a great place to get the information you need to your SEO in order!

If you have any questions about this article or for a free SEO consultation you can email info@seotraininguk.co.uk or call us on 0161 7102 783.

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