What I did was take three important keyword phrases for our local clients, get the top 20 local results, and compare those on these factors:
For the Google local portion:
- Number of incidences of parts of keyword in local business listing title
- User content
For the destination URL:
- Inbound links
- Number of pages in site
- Number of incidences of parts of keyword in homepage title tag
With all that data and my very naive statistical abilities (am I the only guy who wishes he had a statistics professor chained to a dingy, cobweb-ridden cubicle in the corner?) I created scatter graphs and found R2 values.
Unfortunately, the strongest correlation is still considered "weak" in statistical parlance. I suspect someone from Google will read this and laugh at my non-PhD-ish bafflement. Nonetheless, I know where to go next- so there will be a part two.
Strongest correlation: More reviews equals better ranking
The correlation of two important SEO factors... also weak:
Other factors and correlative values (all weak, but strongest first):
- Number of photos and videos (listed in local details): R2=0.2053
- Number of webpages (listed in local details): R2=0.1862
- Number of user content (listed in local details): R2=0.1788
- PageRank: R2=0.154
- Keyword element instances in local listing name: R2=0.079
- Keyword element instances in homepage title tag: R2=0.0011
Next up, I'm going to examine:
- More keywords for # of reviews, larger dataset to get more certain R2 value for this
- Keyword prominence for homepage title and LBL name
- Keyword integrity (whole keyword in order) in homepage title and LBL name
30 thoughts on “Local Search Ranking Factor Statistical Research”
Actually I just reviewed this- I have seen some volatility, but that’s not to be confused with the fact that for some reason, the top ten local are different in “Web” than they are in “Maps”. Go figure.
Fascinating, I just observed that, Thanx! And the results in Google Web are more than just the 10 pack from Google Maps reorganized. While the algorithm for Google Maps would be good to know, I think the Google Web 10 pack is the most valuable to decipher.
Agreed- web 10 pack is more important. But for comparing data about the 11-20 that didn’t make it, have to go to maps.google.com.
And then there’s the odd attribute that sometimes you only 2 to 6 results on Google Web local search while there additional results. No doubt they’ve deliberately made this hard to game!
I love it when science and SEO merge into a single element. A great article, and I look forward to the follow-up!
Recently got a site reranked to #1 in G maps for the singular versions of the business phrase…but it is stuck at #2 for the plural. This applies to maps w/ both the city name…and without a geo reference and a map is inserted in organic results.
Such subtle differences with so much need for attention to detail.
Curious, I’ve not found away to get Maps to keep both the singular & plural version of a keyword. It always filters out one of them.
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