Reviews are the Most Prominent Local Vid Pro Ranking Factor in 2018
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Reviews appear to be the most prominent ranking factor in local search, businesses that are helping rank well if they have low excellent link profiles.
This information comes from the yearly study of Neighborhood Vid Pro factors that are ranking conducted by Local Vid Pro Guide.
The study analyzed 200+ variables over business to find similarities between the companies that are ranking well in Google package.
Despite local businesses having”crappy link profiles,” organic ranking factors continue to be highly interconnected with local ranking factors.
It was found to rank well in the local pack of Google if a business ranks in organic search.
With that said, it was also found that companies can rank well in packs without the existence of traditional SEO factors. That includes things like links, or just a website.
Reviews Correlate With Rankings
A business with a number of reviews on its Google My Business page can rank in packs that are local.
“The prominence of testimonials isn’t particularly shocking, as it is a way for Google to crowdsource rank factors, it’s hard to spam, and the most problematic sort of abuse is prohibited.”
However, it’s not just the number. Even more important than quantity of reviews is what is being said in these reviews.
Google My Business pages with reviews that mention and/or a city’s name, a key word, were found to have higher rankings in Google pack.
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“At a high level, using a keyword you want to rank for, and also a mention of a town you are working to rank in, in reviews has a high correlation with high ranking Google My Business results.”
Do Links Still Matter?
Websites without high excellent link profiles do not seem to have a problem with ranking in search. Although that doesn’t mean links have become any less important.
“What I think is most interesting about this data, is that sites that rank tend to have low quality and low authority hyperlinks .”
Businesses have the ability to rank without a lot of links that are good in local search, but those who put effort were also positioned in search results.
“While it is only correlation, Google still seems to be rewarding some level of optimized anchor text, around both city and keyword.”
Don’t Neglect Your Website
Small businesses are bad at sites, the study says. So bad, actually, that some didn’t even have a site.
Having a website is key to ranking in search, and ranking in search that is organic means a business is much more likely to rank in packs that are local.
The research concludes that investing in assets , like a site, should be the highest priority of a business.
What Does this All Mean?
There’s a lot to digest in this research, but it all boils down to a few takeaways that are important.