Google Talks Local Search Relevance Factors

What Impact Do Claimed Pages, Hotpot, Tags, and Boost Have on Rankings?

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Google is placing a great deal of emphasis on local in its search results these days. In fact in many cases, it would appear to significantly reduce the importance of ranking in the regular organic results

Google talked a little about how local search ranking works today in a blog post on its Lat Long Blog, which included the below video of Google Product Manager Jeremy Sussman discussing the basics. 

"Say you’re in Union Square in New York City, and you want to find a nearby coffee shop, so you go to Google and type in ‘coffee shops in Union Square, NYC’. You’ll find a list of just what you typed in – local coffee shops near Union Square with all the basic information you would expect to find, such as name, address, and phone number, and if they exist, you’ll also find reviews, ratings, and links to other relevant resources," he explains. "These organic listings are free to both the user and the business. We give you the best results we can find."

"Now, there are a variety of relevance factors Google uses to match or answer your search query, in this case, locating coffee shops near Union Square. Three of the key factors are: relevance, prominence, and distance," he continues. "Relevance is showing you only coffee shops and not unrelated businesses such as retailers, dry cleaners, and so on. Prominence is determined by how well known or prominent certain coffee shops are, based on sources across the web. Distance is easy. We calculate how far each coffee shop is from Union Square. And if you don’t specify Union Square in your search, we’ll show you coffee shops based on your general location."

Google recently launched Hotp

ot, a social recommendation engine for local search. You can read more about that here. Hotpot listings can show up anywhere business listings show up in Google search results. 

"Do the Hotpot ratings and review impact order and ranking of the local businesses you see on Google? Absolutely," says Sussman. "That’s the whole point…if you signed in to post ratings and reviews and to receive personalized recommendations in your search results. We do this to deliver more relevant search results and provide a more tailored experience based on your preferences."

Using Hotpot to rate places and get recommendations

In case you were wondering whether or not claiming a page will influence ranking, Sussman says, "A business claiming a Place Page does not result in preferential treatment. Of course more detailed information about your business helps us do a better job connecting people to the businesses they’re searching for."

Finally, he makes it clear that neither Tags nor Boost (a couple of Google’s local advertising options) influence local search ranking or where listings appear in Google or Google Maps results. Google does say, however, that the ranking of Boost ads in the ‘Ads’ section of the Google.com and Google Maps results pages is based on relevance and quality factors.

Google Talks Local Search Relevance Factors
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  • http://www.wowwom.com Guest

    I think WOM will play a big role & factor to help local searching relevant.

    Q&A will be a good model for WOM!

  • http://www.xen.co.za Xen international

    Local search is a good idea inasmuch that it helps those who are unfamiliar with a given areas get to your store. Geo location or country specific DC’s on the other hand is great if you live in the states but hell if your market is international and not that country specific.

    Please do not tell that one has top go Dot com to be found in the USA. Not when you have successfully marketed your product for near 15years to the US but since the Google enforcement geo location of 2008 it has cost more than it was worth to redo the whole SEO bit using a dot com. Particularly as the Company name was already used by another in the US but in a different field.. That bye the way was then the only competing brand from 1995 to about the early nineties.

  • http://www.chicagoheating-repair.com Chicago Air Conditioning Repair

    I could only wich that google would stop evolving and let us that spend time in SEO catch up a little bit. But otherwise a great post.

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