local search ranking factorsIt’s that time of year again, when the SEO experts at Moz publish what has become the most authoritative report on the state of local search ranking factors for the year. The most recent version came out in mid-October 2014, and reveals several interesting insights you’ll want to know as you head into the new year. Moz surveys experts in the local search field and creates a report that details what they believe Google is using to rank local pages.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to wade through the SEO-speak, so simply speaking, here are our takeaways from the latest report, issued October 13, 2014.

What’s working in local search ranking

User Behavior matters – Google is now paying particular attention to what your user is doing while they are on your site. They may be viewing clickthroughs, filling out forms, even getting directions as a signal that your site is providing a good search experience.

Proximity to the searcher – Google’s algorithm is becoming more adept at GEOI locating your user, and sending them to appropriate results. They are even being able to detect desktop locations more effectively, a large step forward form even last year.

Your domain’s authority – This is rising fast. If you are a brand and are engaged in building authority and presence in the search engines, more and more Google is deciphering this and helping your pages to rank ahead of the more spammy results.

Citations still work – Citations are still a large part of the plan, and even unlinked citations from an authority site are showing to be very useful and advantageous. Still strive to acquire more and better citations as part of ranking well locally.

Your on-page SEO is the largest single factor – Still the biggest single factor in ranking well locally is your on-page SEO. Make sure your NAP data, title keywords, GEO locators, and local engagement are up to speed to help you get great results in local rankings.

I would definitely encourage you to read the full report, which can be accessed through this page.