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Reverse Engineering Google’s Local Search Algorithm

Hey Everyone! Andrew and I are about to go onstage and present the results of our 2016 Local SEO Ranking Factors study at SMX Advanced.

This study is the largest quantitive look at Google My Business ranking factors done in Local SEO. We hope it can help provide direction on how to prioritize your Local SEO spend and time investment. I’m told I should provide y’all with some tidbits to get you interested, so here are some questions we tried to answer:

  • Do links really matter when it comes to Google My Business Rankings?
  • Are citations the key competitive difference maker in Local SEO?
  • What’s up with Toolbar PageRank?
  • And more!!!

I also wanted to thank Mark Kabana and the Places Scout team as well as Megan Smith and the statisticians at University of California Irvine’s Center for Statistical Consulting. Without these great partners none of this would have been possible.

For us this is only the begining. We have some really exciting projects lined up around this current data set. The next things in the queue are:

  • Looking at what factors differentiate pack results from everything else
  • What factors matter for local organic search
  • A deep dive into how Google treats “Near Me” searches.

And if that weren’t enough, we are already hard at work planning the 2017 version of the Local SEO Ranking Factors. This next version should have a larger sample size, more data points, and dive deeper into semantic relevance!

Also, if you want to read Mark’s take on the project over on Places Scout you can do so here.

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