Friday, June 20, 2014

Google Maps – Local Search Ranking

Local Search Ranking

Factors to focus on in the LocalSearch Ranking Factors

1. Physical address in city of search

A physical business location rather than a PO Box was the number #1 recommended factor to focus on and was considered to be very important for Google Maps local search not only on the Place Page but across all Web properties. “No crawlable physical address on website” was also ranked at number 5 as one of the Negative Ranking Factors.

local search ranking | Local SEO
Local Search Ranking | Local SEO

2. Manually owner-verified Place Pages

One of the most important factors was to manually verify each Google Place Page for local SEO rather than doing a bulk upload. This ensures that each address for the location is checked by the owner and confirmed to be correct. This is particular relevant for businesses with more than one location. It is also important to remove duplicate listings.

3. Proper Category Associations

Proper category associations were ranked as the third most important “On Place Page” factor to improve Google Place Pages’ rankings and were considered by some experts to be even more relevant than the business title when following Google’s guidelines. Categories linked to relevant keywords were thought to strongly influence search results.

4. Volume of Traditional Structured Citations

Citations are still considered an important trust point for local search by many SEO experts. There seems to be a consensus that mismatching of NAP (name, address and phone number) across the Web is a negative ranking factor.

5. Crawlable phone number matching Place Page phone number

The local SEO strategists placed a lot of weight on the need for your NAP details to be consistent on your Google Place Page and website but also on other trusted sources across the Web. It was strongly recommended that if information was incorrect on these websites, to ask that the information be corrected.

6. PageRank / Authority of Website Homepage / Highest Ranked Page

A strong consensus amongst the Google Maps optimization experts was that optimizing your website with ‘location+product/service terms’ plays a much larger role in blended Place Search rankings. Domain authority and strength ie PageRank was also suggested to play a large part in driving up your Google Place’s Pages ranking.

7. Quality of inbound links to website

Again, the local search professionals agree that SEO best practices still apply for your traditional website and a website with a strong and natural link-building profile will continue to rank highly in blended search results. The same SEO rules apply and back links must be from websites that are trusted, credible and have high authority.

8. Crawlable Phone Number Matching Place Page Phone Number

As with factor number #1, the local SEO experts agree that the phone number of the business must be the same across the Web whether it is your Google Places Page, your website or other online properties. Ideally you should have a local business number. As aforementioned, inconsistency of phone numbers is a strong negative ranking factor.

9. Local Area Code on Place Page

There is also a strong emphasis by the local search specialists on having a local number listed on your Google Place Page to help Google recognize that the Web references are referring to a local listing. It is also mentioned in Google guidelines for Google Places to “Use a local phone number instead of a call centre number whenever possible.”

10. City, State in Places Landing Page Title

The keyword of the report is ‘consistency’. For optimum local SEO, the Google Places’ landing page should have the matching city and state in the page title. This again should match the city and state listed on the Places Page, on your website and on other Web references.

Steve Steinberger

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