Top Google Ranking Factors When It Comes To Local

by Chris Marentis August 6th, 2012 


Learning how to and staying on top of search engine results can be a time consuming and ever evolving process. Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn Google recently changed how it returns its search results. Over the past year and half it has evolved to a hybrid which incorporates an algorithm and Google Places/Local. Therefore, it can be important to understand what factors influence a high page rank in Google Places/Local.

In a recent article, Chris Mather shared the five key factors which need to be addressed in order for a local business web page to have a high rank in Google Places/Local. I've elaborated on these key factors below.

  • List Correct Business Category Classification.
    There are a multitude of categories available, but it is vital the correct one is selected for your business. The correct category can help ensure the search engine is able to return your business as a possible search result. Having a wrong category listed wont do anything for your business and may in fact cause confusion.
  • Have a Physical Address.
    It is a requirement a business has a physical address in order to show up high in possible search results. Think of it this way, if there is no address, how can the search engine know to return your business as a possible good result for a users local search?
  • The Proximity of the Physical Address to the Center of Town.
    When providing search results Google will start with the center of the listed city/town and move out from that center in providing search results. Therefore, your location plays into the display of these search results.
  • Have Great Testimonials and Reviews.
    This piece of advice has been around for years and is no different in Google Places/Local. Your page is likely to rank higher if you have reviews, comments, testimonials, etc on reputable and highly ranked sites. It may seem funny, but from a purely page rank perspective, it doesn't even matter if this information is positive or negative about your organization. Obviously, it is important to your business to have positive information about your business on other sites as more than just web bots read it!
  • Your Domain Name Attributes.
    Like the previous factor, this one isn't new to Google Places/Local. Your page rank in search engine is influenced by how long it has been registered, its incoming and outgoing links, and content among other factors. Basically, if your page is lacking in some of these areas it isn't going to fair well with search engines in general and not just Google Places/Local.

Once you've reviewed the five factors above, take some time to determine what you need to do in order to increase your web rank. Your plan will not likely change results overnight, but long term progress is often most important in terms of consistent results. Be patient, and you'll see results for your efforts as your search engine ranking improves.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy SEO for Google News " Ranking Factors and Recommendations 

Chris Marentis

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

Surefire Social

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3 Responses to “Top Google Ranking Factors When It Comes To Local”

  1. Karel says:

    Nice articles, learned some new things. However, two comments:

    – The Domain Name Attributes is influenced by the amount of links etc like stated in the article. However recently Google Plus has been merged with Google Maps. So I suppose that the elements of Google Plus also influence the Local Rankings. Companies with a lot of activity on Google Plus will rank high for sure, right? Do you have any insights in these element?

    – Isn't it strange that the ranking also depends on the proximity of the website? Is it not dependant of the amount of zoom in Maps? For example; when seeing the whole city, it doesn't really matter which is the most in the centre, isn't it more important which is more complying your keyword?

    Good article, altough more as a refresh.

  2. Michal says:

    All true. What do you think about adding pictures and maybe videos to your Google+ local listing place (or whatever it is called nowadays)? I'm sure pictures help in making the listing look nicer for the viewer but what about SEO benefits? Do you think that making your listing as much completed as possible will help with the PR of your Google+ local page?

  3. Mike Wilton says:

    The only thing in this list I question is the proximity of the address to the center of town. The "centroid" factor has slowly dissolved over the years as Google looks at more data points to identify the popularity of "districts" within a city. New factors, such as popularity of neighborhood are coming into play more and more, which is why you may see more diverse local results from searches from within different points of a city.

    Chris Silver Smith did a great job breaking this down in a recent post and even talks about how Google may be taking into account Wikipedia data to help identify popular districts within a city.