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The 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

In this week’s Wednesday Workshop, we share the highlights of the recently released Local Search Ranking Factors study for 2018. Find out which signals have changed since last year’s study, what experts are spending more time on this year, and what you need to pay attention to in 2019.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. This week, we’re back with more big news! The 2018 LSRF has been released!

What’s the LSRF you ask? It’s the annual Local Search Ranking Factors study, and it’s basically the bible of Local SEO. Each year, the top 35-40 worldwide Local SEO experts and also Andrew Shotland take part in the LSRF. The experts answer a huge survey about Local SEO factors – which factors matter most, which factors are most harmful, which matter most in competitive markets, and so on.

The answers are aggregated, and we get two easy-to-read pie charts that show the various signal strengths for ranking in Google maps or the map pack, or for ranking in localized organic searches.

There’s a lot to unpack, and we like to keep these videos short, so I’m going to point out a few of the highlights for you.

The biggest story this year is Google My Business – there was a 32% boost in the importance of your GMB listing. Lots of new features have been released since the last LSRF was released a year and a half ago, and most experts have seen major gains by investing time in these features.

Google Posts, which we’ve talked about several times in past Wednesday Workshops, are a huge factor now. In 2017, no one mentioned posts, and this year, it’s the #2 thing local SEOs are investing time in! Nearly every expert in the LSRF has seen rankings increase as a result of using Posts. If you’re not using them yet at your dealership, you need to get going now!

Q&A is another huge opportunity – as we mentioned in past videos, you need to be uploading your own questions, and then answering those questions and upvoting your answers.

It’s also important to always be posting photos and videos to your GMB listing – and it’s probably worthwhile to encourage customers to do so as well.

Moving on, reviews are also more important – in fact, for showing up in the map pack or Google Maps, reviews are more weighted than your website content! Make sure you’ve got at least as many reviews as competitors, and that you’ve got a good aggregate score.

Keywords in reviews are huge, so ask your customers to mention what they did at the dealership (bought a car, came in for an oil change, etc) – getting those keywords in the reviews can be a big boost to showing up for certain searches.

It’s also more important than ever to respond to every review, now that Google is notifying users when their reviews receive a response.

Citation signals, or mentions of your dealership’s Name, Address, and Phone number, have continued their downward trend. It’s still important to get them right, but they’re not the big difference-maker they used to be.

Make sure you head over to the Moz blog and read the full study – there’s a wealth of information about Local SEO and what you should be doing at your dealership to show up (or what your vendor should be doing for you).

So that’s it for this week’s video. As always, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

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