Each year, local SEO expert Darren Shaw carries out Whitespark’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey and produces a report that provides great insight into what local marketers believe matters most to Google. Originally launched by David Mihm in 2008, this survey has become one of the industry’s most cited and respected resources for understanding which current specific elements most likely factor into Google’s local search ranking algorithms. In this year’s survey, Whitespark surveyed 44 of the best and brightest local search practitioners about 149 potential local ranking factors, which were organized into 7 broad categories:
- Google Business Profile (GBP) signals (formerly Google My Business)
- On-page signals
- Review signals
- Link signals
- Behavioral signals
- Citation signals
Importantly, there are two sets of data: the first for Local Pack/Finder ranking factors, and the second for local organic search results ranking factors. There are some noteworthy updates to the survey this year, as well.
Each year, Shaw removes old factors, adds new ones, and updates some names as our understanding of them evolves. For example, he added “Sustained Influx of Reviews Over Time” this year to gauge the importance of a business continually earning reviews. Another addition for 2023 is “Internal links to GBP landing page from other pages of the website,” which ranked #24 in importance. Internal linking is an important tactic in local SEO. Linking to your brand’s local pages from other content on the website helps search engines and local consumers alike discover and navigate to those pages. The survey’s structure changed for 2023, too. Respondents had traditionally been asked to choose and rank the 20 most impactful factors in each category. Shaw wanted to improve the quality of all results and give marketers a more robust view of the perceived value of all ranking factors. This year, the expert panel was asked to rank each of the 149 potential factors on a scale of 1 to 5. In this e-book, you’ll find highlights from the 2023 Local Search Ranking Factors report, with helpful commentary and resources to guide your local SEO strategy successfully forward.
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