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Recent Study Reveals Possible Ranking Factors for Google Places Listings

Recent research by online marketing company Bizible points to several interesting points regarding ranking Google Places listings, both within the integrated results and within local results only. Though no research in this area is likely 100% sound, considering the variables that could go into a study like this (like browser physical location changes), it’s always interesting to view new data when it comes to a relatively murky area as ranking a Google Places listing can be.  Based purely on research (very sciency, not my forte, so I’ll simply relay the data in its most simple form), the genius-like folks over at Bizible (I hear one of these guys has a doctorate) were able to gain an idea of just what it might take to crush it in the local listings via properly optimizing your Google Places listing. By studying 30 possible factors for ranking (across 20 local categories – equaling 400 search terms), the researchers came up with some interesting data, which we will relate to you below. Keep in mind, we’re simply identifying our favorites of the data here – it’s all property of the Bizible geniuses.


Ranking your local listing can be so helpful to your business, but can also be pretty difficult. Maybe these factors will help more businesses rank their listings.

Integrated Results

Here are the some of the more important factors we picked out from the data that the folks at Bizible found when it comes to improving your rankings for your Places listing within the integrated results:

–          5 or more Google reviews (showed a .31 improvement in rank).

–          Search category (or a synonym of it) is in the business name in the listing.

–          At least one photo (.25 improvement).

According to the research, listings that included all of these factors enjoyed significant ranking improvements.

Local Results

The research revealed several important factors with regard to ranking your Google Places listing within the local search results. The following factors apparently improved rank:

–          5 or more Google reviews (1.47 improvement!).

–          Search category (or a synonym of it) is included in the review content.

–          Search category (or a synonym of it) is included in the business description. Including it in the business name seemed to contribute to improvement, as well.

–          Primary category matches the search category.

–          Photo (s).

–          Owner Verification.

All of these factors used together can produce incredible results, it seems, when it comes to ranking the properly optimized Google Places listing.

Also Found

General things that were found during this study included the fact that it’s okay if your address isn’t technically within the parameters of a city. What matters more is the distance of your physical address from the city center. The further from the city center your address is, the more you drop in terms of your ranking position (Bizible found that, for every mile away you are from the “centroid,” you drop .4 of a position on average) – better start looking for an office closer to the geometric center of your city (just kidding! Sort of). Also, and not surprisingly, they found that having no Google reviews, or having negative reviews, hurts the ranking of your Places listing.

More Information

Want to learn more about ranking your Google Places listing? How about organic SEO? Check back with our blog for regular free tips and updates about search engine optimization and other forms of search marketing. Have questions that are more specific to your business? Call us now at 770-481-1766!

Related Information:

Google Business Photos: Yes, They’re (Still) Important

Local SEO Tips

SEO Strategy: New Studies Encourage Going Holistic

Why Do Small Businesses Need SEO?

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Can Google Force Your Business To Close?

Local SEO is Growing, According To Recent Survey

Google Place Pages Undergoing Evolution

Google Places’ Business Pictures: A  Different Way To View Your Company

Optimizing Your Google Places Page

Google Places Catalog – Branding Your Business Online and Offline With Google Places