Google Places search results or search results on Google Maps search are primarily based on relevance, distance, and prominence. These combined factors help Google find the best match for a users search. For example, a Google search may rank a business on Google Places results that’s farther away from a users local search location because is more likely to have what the user is looking for than a business that may be geographically closer. Here’s more detail on what relevance, distance, and prominence mean
Relevance: Search results in Google , wether natural search results or Google Places search results are determined by relevance. Relevance, as it pertains to a Google Places business listing is how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. A complete, detailed and owner-verified business listing on Google Places can help Google better understand your business and match Google users and searchers to relevant search results. A few things that may determine how relevant your Google Places listing are distance, accurate business information like business name business, location and contact information, a link to your company website, business categories, description of business, photos and video, business hours, payment information, and business reviews. Google Places also uses 3rd party courtesy listings on other popular websites to fact check your business information. Google wants to see consistent information about your business across the web. These courtesy listings are sometimes known as Citations and will help your web prominence which is described below.
Prominence: Google bases your web prominence on information that it has found about your business on the web like links, mentions, articles, blog post or web directories. These links, articles, mentions and directory listings, especially on local sites like Frederick.com help determine relevance, prominence and therefor rank in Google Places or Google Map search results.
Distance: Distance alone does not determine rank or relevance on Google Places search results. It is a factor but Google uses more than just distance to determine listing rank on Google Places results. If a user does not specify a geographic location or zip code in a search, Google will use what it knows about your location based on IP address, ISP or Google search settings to calculate the distance from local businesses to your location. If your business listing does not appear in Google Places search results but a competitors does even though your business is geographically closer to the location searched, your business probably has relevance or prominence issues.
More and more Google users are searching Google for local businesses from mobile phones and tablets. Google reports that mobile search volume is up 130% year-over-year. People have access to the Internet anytime, anywhere. They’re using their phones to get the information they need when they need it. Many mobile searches result in action being taken from the user such as a click through to website, directions to business, or a phone call. I personally use this feature all the time from my IPhone. It is very convenient to voice search and click to call a local business or click on directions. Establishing presence on Google Places should be a key part of your mobile marketing.