Two weeks ago, the 2018 edition of Local Search Ranking Factors was released by Darren Shaw and Moz. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the report, first produced by David Mihm back in 2008 and updated just about every year since, first by Mihm and then by Shaw, who took the reins in 2017.
The report’s methodology has undergone numerous smaller and larger adjustments over the years, but the basic approach remains the same today as when it started. The report surveys several highly respected local SEOs about the tactics that work best for local ranking, aggregates the results, and then ranks those tactics according to their popularity.
As some have pointed out in the past, this approach has its strengths and weaknesses. It could be argued, for instance, that relying on expert opinion, rather than objective criteria such as test results, might tend to bias the results in favor of tactics the experts prefer for reasons other than their effectiveness, such as ease of implementation, familiarity, or the fact that an expert happens to specialize in one tactic or another.