LocalSEO studied 100,000 businesses for 200 different factors that determine a site’s local ranking.
The study found that there’s a high correlation between reviews and ranking high.
More reviews are often found to lead to higher rankings.
According to the research team, “At a high level, having a keyword you are trying to rank for, and a mention of a city you are working to rank in, in reviews has a high correlation with high ranking Google My Business results.”
Engagement also emerges as a positive ranking factor. This includes adding photos and hours. In addition, “[R]esponding to reviews and claiming your profiles are ways to engage with your potential customers and Google’s platform and show them you have invested.”
Other factors that influence rankings:
The report says that optimized anchor texts that have anchors as city and keyword are working when it comes to ranking. Links work great.
Off-site signals like citations and reviews on sites like Yelp and business aggregators have a lot of value. Other signals are on declining trend.
Categorical ranking factors
Factors like on page seo optimization and meta tags is working well for businesses.