10 Small Business Local Search Ranking Factors

What is Google Places?
Local business listings are valued highly by Google. If you do a local search which includes a place, town, city or local service, Google will display this local business box.     Go to Google Places
What determines your Google Places Rank?
So are you wondering what the ranking factors for local search engine optimization? Here are the top 10 factors that determine your Google Places ranking.

1. Claiming your Google Places Page/Local Listing.
Basically, Google may already have a listing for you that they put together through different sources. If not, then create one. Claiming your listing ensures that Google has the right information and protects it from others having access to it.

2. Business Address in City of Search.
Make sure your business address is correct so that those viewing your page know where you are. It also ensures you are displayed properly on the map. Your business having an address that resides in the local area searched will most definitely help with your ranking.

3. Proper Categories.
Selecting proper categories for your small business listing seems to be crucial. Experts suggest that you should select at least one of Google’s default categories and use your other selections as an opportunity to apply keyword strategies.

4. Product/Service Keyword Business Title.
Having a keyword that a user searches for in your business title has proven to be quite effective. Only if it is a part of your official business name though. So don’t go stuffing your business title with keywords if they aren’t as it will work against you in the long run.

5. Being Close to the Center of the City.
At this time, Google tends to give more weight to small business listings that are closer to the center of a city for local searching. They are getting better at recognizing the flexibility of a business so it may not have as much bearing on the results in the future. Especially when the exact position of the user is considered such as with a mobile device or when browsers become more aware. This applies mainly to larger cities of 200,000 or more.

6. Description Including Product/Service Keywords.
Do not keyword-stuff your description as you will be penalized. Avoid using the same keywords as in your categories as well. Use this as an opportunity to share more strategically selected keywords to support your small business. Your description is very important to the viewers of your listing so make sure it reads well and makes sense.

7. Adding Photos.
This is generally accepted as a means to provide a better user experience. There is some debate as to whether having photos improve the ranking of the small business local search listing. Having a complete profile does support increased credibility from a user perspective and likely the search engines. It certainly doesn’t hurt.

8. Local Area Code Association.
This is likely used as a confirmation of locality. The general consensus is that it doesn’t seem to be much more than that but it does help. Especially since users tend to be more apt to call a local

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