July 23rd, 2011 / Local Search

How Google Maps Works

Some people are a bit confused about the difference between Google Places and Google Maps. The difference is really subtle.

With Google Places, you can claim your business listing and updated it. People can use Google Places to search for businesses and develop a network of local friends. However, when you update your Google Places listing, it can also be found by searchers using Google Maps.

Google Maps operates on three primary ranking factors:

  • Location
  • Relevance
  • Prominence

The location factor returns your business if it is in close enough proximity to where the searcher is located. For example, if an Ayrshire resident is looking for an SEO company and they search “ayrshire, scotland bakery”, they’ll get back a list of bakeries in the Ayrshire, Scotland area. If they search for bakeries in Maybole, however, they’ll get a new list of bakeries with different rankings.

The relevance factor has to do with whether or not you place your business in the right category, use the proper keywords in your business description, and other related SEO factors.

Prominence has more to do with how users view your business in relation to other businesses within the location and relevance factors. This is judged by your ratings and reviews and whether or not your business has been saved in user’s maps and favorite places.

So there you have it in a nutshell. If you want to rank well in Google Maps, focus on location, relevance, and prominence.

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