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The Local Search Ranking Factors survey has been around for a few years, but it bears to take another look. The latest results are posted at Moz and it’s interesting to see what the top 5 ranking factors are.

  1. Proper category associations – Google doesn’t really want to play with you if you don’t categorize your business correctly. From a user perspective, who wants to find your dentist’s office under the “restaurants” category?
  2. Physical address – This is extremely important. If someone searches for auto mechanics in Chicago and you are an auto mechanic located outside the city limits, there’s a good bet you won’t show up in the search results. Like it or not, that’s how local search is played. By the same token, if you are in another city limit, then Chicago businesses won’t be listed when a searcher is looking there either.
  3. Structured citations – I consider this very important. It’s also easy to get it wrong. Structured citations is any mention of your business on other websites. You can’t control how bloggers mention you, but you can control your business directory listings. Note that consistency is more important than quality and quality is more important than quantity.
  4. Link from Google+ or Google Place page – I highly recommend a Google+ page for a local business. Make sure you link to a website with your correct physical address. I think this factor has the potential to become more important in the future.
  5. Domain authority – Take a look at your website. How does it stack up against similar sites in your area? This is not an objective standard, necessarily, but it is a worthwhile standard. You can learn more about domain authority and how to influence your website’s authority from this Moz article.

It would be worth your time to study the top 20 local search ranking factors.

Local search is important for a number of reasons, especially if you are a local business serving a distinct geographic area.

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