Moz: Local Search Ranking Factors Still the Same; Pigeon and CTR Emerging
For the seventh straight year, Moz conducted its annual survey on local search ranking factors. David Mihm is once again at the helm and for this year, a few tweaks have been made to the survey in an effort to “keep the survey as manageable as possible for the participants, and the presentation of results as actionable as possible for the community.”
When comparing Figure 1 above to last year’s survey, not much has changed in terms of what dominates local search rankings. However, Behavioral/Mobile Signals have been gaining more importance over the past year, increasing by almost a full percent. Industry experts have observed this, especially considering how signals like these are “difficult-to-game” or manipulate. Mihm himself took note of this in his own takeaways, quoting Rand’s IMEC Labs research that Google “has cranked up the dial on” factors like CTR.
Google’s introduction of its Pigeon algorithm also left a profound impact on local ranking factors. As an algorithm tailored for local searches and listings, one of the new tweaks made by Mihm was considering factors influenced by Pigeon. In his assessment, he noted that domain authority was “on its way up,” and that proximity to searcher had also become one of the biggest movers in the survey.
While the significance of “On-page Signals” and “My Business Signals” in Figure 1 should come as no surprise, Mihm states that these could also be the result of both Google’s advancements and setbacks. While Google has gotten better at detecting locations “at a more granular level,” he observes that there is still some inability on their part to reliably separate ‘brands’ from ‘spam’ in Local; something he expects them to improve in.
For international marketers, Mihm advises that while Google Pigeon is only applicable in the U.S., taking screenshots of primary keywords would help business owners when it eventually does roll out in their country in order to compare results in an effort “yield great insight…in discerning the direction of the algorithm.”
What’s your own assessment of the annual Moz survey on local search ranking factors? Do you agree that CTR and Pigeon are going to be bigger factors from here on out? Let us know what you think in the Comments below.
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