The results of the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors study have finally been released! Each year, the top 40-ish experts world-wide participate in the in-depth study, which aggregates the answers to give us all a better understanding of which signals matter the most for Local SEO. Check out the video for the updated info and a few high level insights…


Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’ve got something really exciting to share – the LSRF is back!

Every year, Darren Shaw and Whitespark conduct the Local Search Ranking Factors study – the LSRF. No one knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works, so Darren sends out a pretty in-depth survey to the top 35 to 40 Local SEO experts worldwide. These people are all really into Local SEO, so they’re always working with clients or doing research, so they know which factors have the most influence on local visibility.

The LSRF is a pretty extensive survey, asking about map pack factors, organic factors, negative factors, and more.

I’m just the messenger here… Darren released the results in the keynote session for the recent Whitespark Local Search Summit. If you want to check out the full post with all the detail, go to – make sure that’s all in lower case.

Darren then takes all the results and parses the data, then presents the findings so we all know which factors are the most important for Local SEO. The LSRF is basically the Local SEO bible. If you’re handling your own SEO, it’s the perfect guide for what to do in 2022. If you have a vendor handling your SEO, you should use the LSRF to hold them accountable.

Every year, the LSRF sums everything up with two pie charts. One shows the signals that matter for showing up in map pack results or in Google Maps searches, and the other shows the breakdown of signals that influence visibility in localized organic results.

I always like to look at what changes from year to year. Looking at the Local Pack signals, GMB signals, reviews, and on-page signals all gained a bit more weight. But what’s really cool: Let’s look at GMB signals and how they’ve changed since 2015:
Look at that – in this year’s LSRF, they’re more than twice as important as they were in 2015.

There weren’t many big changes in the signals for localized organic. GMB signals and reviews both dropped a bit, and on-page signals increased… That’s really all that matters.

At a high level, when you look at this year’s LSRF, you see 2 important things. If you’re going for map pack visibility, GMB signals and reviews are the most important factors. If you’re going for localized organic visibility, on-page signals and links are the most important factors.

Definitely head over to to read all the details on the study, there’s a ton of awesome info there about specific signals that matter.

That’s all the time we’ve got for today, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.