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Local Search Ranking Factors 2012

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Local Search Ranking Factors 2012

I know we are a bit early here, but I wanted to make one prediction about the annual local search ranking factors report that is published each year on the excellent blog about local search, at http://www.davidmihm.com

Local SEO’s love this report, and will invest a large amount of time reading and assessing each area they rate. I have always enjoyed reading the opinions of the some of the largest and best SEO firms in the world and comparing their thoughts on how important certain things are to your sites local ranking (Maps, places) to what I have seen over the year.

Question: H0w Important are Citations to ranking?

citation needed

Traditional the consensus has always ranked “Citations” as one of the most important ranking factors.  Once you get past the obvious factors of the address, claiming a listing, and the categories you use, it’s the top dog!  And in 2009 I think that was true.

Answer: Citations just are not very important any more!

Here is my prediction, and the reason behind it. The number and quality of Citations ranking factor will drop from very important to just important, maybe as low as number 8 on the top 10 factors.  Now here is my opinion based on what I have seen and bloged about for a year.

Citations are close to meaningless for ranking factor.  And all of the local SEO companies who are still chasing citations are 14 months behind the curve.  All of this changed in October 2010 and has continued to change with all the panda updates through out 2010.   Today, your local rankings are based  98% on the same factors that you use in organic search Engine optimization, once you get past the already stated  factors of having a local listing, and making sure you fill it out correctly.

Chasing the wrong stuff for local SEO

In a nutshell, it’s not a citation that makes any difference, it’s the quality of the page that listing and link (if included) is on. A very well respected SEO blog (and deserving so) recently published the top 100 (I think, may have been 200) citation sites.  So today and next week, and next year local seo’s will be taking their clients money and using a bunch of these “Top 100”  to try and increase their clients ranking. What a waste.

In the vast majority of cases, Google only looks at the page the citation is on and that specific pages value, not the domain.  So when your site is listed on (Pick one of the top so named citation sites) if the page your site is on has no or low P.A. value (Page authority as published by SEOmoz) or any of the other page quality tools you want to use that look at number of inbound links, and number of out bound, SEO juice from the other pages, and all that) then you have wasted your time. The bad news is the vast majority of the “top Citation Sites” fall into a low or no PA value for the page you end up listing on, and right now, because the mainstream SEO’s have not caught up to this lot’s of businesses are wasting a portion of their dollars on tactics that have not worked since 2009.

So why would I publish this, when my competitor’s read this blog, and it can be a great help in their business?  Because I truly do believe that what helps one business helps all businesses, and that the small business clients they have will benefit through this information.

But then again, I could be wrong, as most everything in SEO is an opinion. I do feel confident in this information, as since we changed our strategies and tactics to reflect the new local search world, we have seen a 100% first page top 3 ranking for every client.

Help me, help you, help me, help you.


 

If we can help you as either a business seeking a better Internet strategy, or a small SEO looking for addional help or support, please contact me through our site, or call me directly at 303 500 3053 ext 1

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