Moz: ranking factors in local Google search in 2018

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Moz  presented the  results of an annual study of the influence of various factors on the ranking of sites in the local Google search for 2018. The report is based on a survey of leading experts in the field of local SEO.

According to Moz, local search continues to grow rapidly and change. At the same time, the biggest changes this year were recorded in relation to the signals of Google My Business. There is also an increase in the importance of feedback and a continuing decline in the significance of references.

Google My Business

Over the past year, Google has launched a whole range of new features in GMB:

  • Records in the search (Posts on Google);
  • Questions and answers;
  • Tool for creating websites;
  • Services;
  • Messages;
  • Video;
  • Video Posts on Google.

These innovations have led to shifts in the importance of the factors that drive local search today. In 2018, the most pronounced growth of factors associated with GMB was observed in the entire history of this study. Google My Business now accounts for 25% of all factors that influence companies getting into local issuing units.

However, many companies are still not investing in new My Business functions, losing potential competitive advantages.

GMB recommendations :

  1. Start using records in your search today. Such records should be published at least once a week, and better – several times a week. To get direct conversions, you can add calls to action.
  2. Post questions and answers on the company panel.
  3. Regularly upload photos and videos.
  4. Completely fill out a company profile.

By working on these points, companies will be able to improve not only the rankings, but also the signals of involvement.


The importance of such a signal as reviews continues to grow:

In 2015, reviews accounted for only 10.8%. Thus, over 3 years, the importance of these signals has grown by 43%.

Recommendations for reviews:

  • Work on increasing the number of reviews on Google. Ask each client for this.
  • Ask customers to specify a specific product or service in the recall.
  • Answer every review.
  • Also encourage customers to post reviews on the site so that you can tag them using micro-marking and get a rating in the form of stars in the search results.
  • Work on reviews on other major sites, such as Yelp.


The references are still very important and valuable, but their role is declining:

In Moz, this decline is associated with two things:

  • As the local search becomes more complex, additional signals are included in the algorithm, and this blurs the importance of references.
  • As local search grows in popularity, more and more companies are working on getting references, and they are becoming a less important competitive advantage than they were in the past.

Recommendations for references:

  • Make sure that information about your company (accurate, complete and not duplicated) is contained on the 10-15 most important sites in your industry (we are talking mainly about data aggregators and industry / urban resources).
  • Create references on the following 30-50 sites.

Top 10 factors affecting the company’s entry into the local issuing unit  :

  1. The proximity of the address to the search point.
  2. The physical address in the search city.
  3. Suitable business category in GMB.
  4. The name of the product / service in the title in GMB.
  5. Location related keyword in GMB title.
  6. The quality / credibility of incoming links.
  7. Compliance with the main category in My Business is a wider category in the search. For example, the main category = “restaurant”, the search category = “pizza”.
  8. Persistence of references in main data sources.
  9. Authority domain site.
  10. Completeness of the company’s profile in GMB.

Top 10 factors in organic local search:

  1. The quality / credibility of incoming links.
  2. Authority domain site.
  3. A variety of inbound links.
  4. Thematic relevance of keywords in domain content (product / service).
  5. Mobile-optimized / responsive website.
  6. Geographical relevance of keywords in domain content (city / neighborhood).
  7. Names of goods / services in the anchor text of links to the domain.
  8. CTR from search results.
  9. The number of links to the domain.
  10. The number of domain references from relevant industry domains.

10 factors on which experts more concentrated this year:

  1. The quality / credibility of incoming links.
  2. Number of posts posted to Google.
  3. The number of natural reviews on Google (with text).
  4. Thematic relevance of keywords in domain content (product / service).
  5. Association of video with location in GMB.
  6. Associate photo with company page in GMB.
  7. The amount of content on the landing page in Google My Business.
  8. The number of links to the landing page from relevant industry domains.
  9. Mention of local objects on the target page in GMB.
  10. The number of links from locally relevant domains.

Future local search

Experts surveyed by Moz believe that Google:

  • Continue to increase the proportion of ready-made answers to provide this kind of results for most requests. Therefore, traffic to sites from local search results will decrease.
  • Strengthen your focus on behavioral signals in ranking . According to experts, the search engine already uses the following signals:
    • Search queries mentioning the name of the company.
    • Pressing the call button to communicate with the company.
    • Requests for routes.
    • Interaction with the company page.
    • Interaction with the company website.
    • Attendance stores.
  • Continue to monetize local search .

All the results of the 2018 Moz survey can be found here .

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