This year’s 2017 survey on Local Search Ranking Factors is here! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the yearly study, it is produced by Moz and is the go-to resource for the digital marketing industry on what drives organic local results and looks to answer the age old question of “what factors influence local ranking?” The full study can be found here and as there is a ton of information I encourage everyone to review. Below you will find the key findings that Digital Services identified from the study along with our interpretation of what this means for the hospitality industry.
1.) Google My Business Signals
With 19%, Google My Business Signals continue to take the lead for factors influencing the Local Pack. This is down slightly from the 2015 study where Google My Business signals accounted for 21% of the Local Pack ranking factors. This is in large part due to the extra emphasis that was placed on Link Signals’ impact on Local Pack ranking factors.
What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Google My Business is not going away anytime soon. While GMB has transitioned away from being considered a “social channel” in the last few years, there is no better opportunity than GMB to directly feed Google information about our hotels as GMB directly influences what Google takes into consideration for My Business Signals.
2.) Link Signals
Link Signals took the lead for the most influential organic listing ranking factor with 29% as well as the second most influential factor for the Local Pack. Link Signals have shifted significantly and have become even more of a priority from the results of the last Local Search Ranking Factors survey in 2015.
What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Continue link building efforts. When looking for new link opportunity for your hotel website consider the following things:
- Domain Authority: Can be easily pulled using Moz tool bar and higher the domain authority the better.
- Anchor Text: Make sure the Anchor text (the text that appears highlighted in a hypertext link) is listed as the hotel’s name. Hotel names contain location keywords that can have a direct influence on link signals.
- Linking Domain Quantity: The higher the number of linking domains for a site, the better; when focusing on your link building, look to get links from diversified domains.
3.) On-Page Signals
On-page signals such as content and meta data optimization remained relatively consistent compared to the 2015 study and remain a steady force of influence in the SEO world.
What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Continue thinking about on-site content optimization and if it’s been a while since you’ve touched your on-site content, consider refreshing with new and fresh content for the search engines to crawl.
4.) Citation Signals
Similar to on-page, Citation signals hold steady at the middle of the list for both Local Pack and Organic Result ranking and is certainly not something to be ignored.
What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Ensure that your hotel has a high the volume of citations across the web and that the information is correct and being presented correctly. For an extremely efficient approach in doing so, consider a business citation management platform such as Yext.
5.) Review Signals
One of the biggest growth in influence since the last survey, Review Signals, accounts for 13% of the factors influencing the Local Pack and 7% for the factors influencing organic ranking.
What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Encourage your guests to leave reviews by actively responding and engaging with the reviews. There are many different review sites out there (Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.) and it is important to make your presence known on them.
David Mihm, who ran this survey from its inception in 2008 up until 2015, summarizes the survey the best with the following quote, “It’s a very difficult concept to survey about, but the overriding ranking factor in local — across both pack and organic results — is entity authority. Ask yourself, If I were Google, how would I define a local entity, and once I did, how would I rank it relative to others?”
(Image Source: Moz)
Local Pack/Finder Ranking is defined as the regular local 3-pack that appears for most local search terms. Localized Organic Ranking is defined as the organic classic results that typically appear under the local 3-pack for local search terms.Read More