Hallam Internet have made it easier to visualise the path to local SEO success with their new local SEO infographic. It reflects research conducted by David Mihm, Director of Local Search at Moz, on 2013 local search ranking factors.
It can be hard to put statistics into action, but here you can see exactly what portion of your SEO clock should be occupied by particular activities.
Google Places for local SEO
A glance tells us that Google places still has most sway over local rankings. How close you are to the searcher has a big impact on where you rank. The experts involved in Mihm’s research made it clear that being listed in the appropriate categories and using the right keywords in business titles heavily influences local search ranking positions.
The website itself comes in second. Of course, domain authority is highly influential on any kind of ranking, but there are other factors specifically significant to local ranking. Having your address and phone number appear consistently throughout your site is a clear indicator to Google of your location. Similarly, including your location as a keyword in title tags and headings help the search engines to place you.
Interestingly, social signals seem to have a relatively small impact on local rankings. Even with the release of Google+ Local, which was supposed to replace Google Places, its influence is minimal. The merging of Google Places with Google+ has been slow, and is far from complete.
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Posting relevant information on Facebook and Twitter, as well as gaining lots of followers on the latter, has been recognised by Google as part of its algorithm for local search engine rankings. It is still not a major part of ranking highly, though, and should only take up about six per cent of your time spent on local SEO.
Condensing local SEO information
Local optimization efforts are becoming increasingly fragmented due to the various ways search engine results are displayed. As well as differences between desktop and mobile searches, there are three main categories of search display. Alongside the classic organic list of results is Google maps, and the carousel, unveiled on desktop in June this year.
The infographic from Hallam gives a general overview that avoids the confusion of planning separate strategies by device and results display. For those with limited time, it gives an idea of where your priorities should lie.