Three of the most notable trends — the ever-increasing importance of native Google My Business (now Google Business Profile) factors and, in particular, of reviews, as well as the diminished impact of citation building — are reinforced this year, with Google profile optimization accounting for 36% of local ranking, up from 33% last year, and reviews inching up from 16% to 17%, while citations continue at 7%, down significantly in importance compared to their prominent role in earlier years.
As of this year, the task of updating the Local Search Ecosystem has been handed to Darren Shaw of Whitespark, who also inherited David Mihm’s other well-known brainchild, the Local Search Ranking Factors report. Last week, Darren released Local Search Ecosystem 2017, a bold departure in visual design and a much-needed update to the last edition, from 2014.
Heather Read isn’t just the lead photographer at her eponymous business in Chicago, Illinois, she’s also the head marketer, strategist, editor, and customer service representative. Like so many other small business owners, Read finds it difficult to launch the types of aggressive campaigns she needs to keep her business growing.
For many years, Physical Address in City of Search was the most important ranking factor, but it has now been overtaken by Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance). As such, the canonical local search use case has become a mobile user searching for a business nearby his or her current location.
It’s likely that many local merchants misunderstand the importance of using tracking metrics to inform their marketing practices, or they feel overwhelmed at the thought of adding yet another task to their overcrowded plates. To find out how these business owners could be doing a better job of tracking local search metrics, we asked top experts in the field.
Online reviews play an increasingly important role in helping local businesses stand out from the competition. But getting that strong rating on Yelp – or TripAdvisor, Google Plus, or Foursquare – requires a concerted effort on the part of the local business and its marketing partners. Here are some steps that can help earn a few more five-star votes.