Local Search Ranking Factors, Vol 3 Released

David Mihm has released the third edition of his Local Search Ranking Factors report, which over the years has established itself as the ultimate SMB resource to learn what tactics will hurt, rank, or maybe even not affect your site’s ranking. This year, David’s survey brought together 34 of the industry’s most respected expert to rate and rank the most important SEO factors for SMBs. I’d really encourage you to run, not walk, to go check it out. And then bookmark it for later.

This year David’s team of experts came together to rank the importance of 69 different criteria with respect to how they influence rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo’s local algorithms. The document also includes each expert’s personal opinion on each ranked criteria. It’s interesting to see where each expert stands and where they differ on opinion.

Among the most positive factors cited:

  1. General Importance of Claiming Place Page / Local Listing
  2. Business Address in City of Search
  3. Associating Place Page with Proper Categories
  4. Volume of Citations from Major Data Providers + IYP Portals
  5. General Importance of Off-Page / Off-Listing Criteria

And because sometimes knowing what NOT to do is just as important as knowing what TO do, the most harmful

  1. Multiple Place Pages with Same Phone Number
  2. Not Showing Address on Your Place Page
  3. Multiple Place Pages with Same Address
  4. Listing PO Box on Website without a Physical Address
  5. Multiple Place Pages with Same Business Title

And, of course what good is a report without a little controversy, the most controversial factors:

  1. Defining a Service Area for Your Place Page
  2. Including Location Keywords in Place Page Categories
  3. Location Keyword in Place Page Business Title
  4. Choosing List of Areas Served for Your Place Page
  5. Not Showing Address on Your Place Page

I was struck by many of the findings of the survey and would, again, encourage every SMB owner to check out the new edition of David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors report. Also check out the discussion happening on David’s blog.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

4 Reactions
  1. I hear the term “citations” thrown around a lot with local search. How would you define a “citation” Lisa?

  2. Hey Robert,

    At the risk of stepping on Lisa’s toes I’m going to try to get you a quick answer. A citation is simply a mention of your business name associated with a piece of contact information like a phone number, physical address, or both. For more about this concept you might check out my post on it from a couple of years ago: http://www.davidmihm.com/blog/general-marketing/local-seo-citation-is-new-link/. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    David Mihm: Have you written about local search for the European market?

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