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.

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