Last month, Bizible, the local marketing software firm did a study of Google Places ranking factors. The study involved 30 possible ranking factors, which were studied in around twenty local categories. Using 400 search terms, they looked at the first three pages of results. They also studied each factor alone and then, in combination to see if any effect of that ranking factor was multiplied.

This is a modern day picture of downtown Tampa...

Here are some things they found:

Factors that will aid your page in integrated results:

  1. The Place’s page category has a broader reach than the search term. So, if you have  used the category “pets” and your search term is “dog training,” your changes of search placement go up.
  2. The search category is part of your business name, such as “Fred’s Dog Training.”
  3. Your business has 5 or more Google reviews.
  4. You have used the category term in your business description.

Factors that will aid your page in non-integrated results:

  1. Having 5 or more Google reviews.
  2. Location term in “at a glance” section. (Tampa in “Tampa dog training”)
  3. Having the category term in your business description.

What does this mean? Well, if your business is a law firm, you want to use that in your business name, if possible, and in your business description.  You also want to get reviews. Mega-importante.

Think of the category name like a “keyword,” as you would in regular search. Use it where possible, but keep things readable. You could wind up in that coveted “A” position on the Google Places page.

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