On Monday, my SearchEngineLand column will preview the results of a new Google Places Ranking Factors study conducted by Bizible.  Aaron Bird, CEO & Night Janitor of Bizible, approached me a month or two ago about the study and I was intrigued by his approach. The study is a scientific complement to David Mihm’s well-known Local Search Ranking Factors survey of know-it-all SEO types. Taken together, the two studies provide a great roadmap for achieving success at local SEO.

A couple of teaser nuggets from the Bizible data to get you through the weekend:

  • Having a physical address in the city of the search did not turn out to be a strong ranking factor, only distance from centroid seemed to matter. So, if you are just outside the city and your address is not officially in the city, this didn’t seem to hurt any more than a business whose address was in the city, but just as far from the centroid.
  • That said, for every mile away from the centroid, ranking dropped by .4 (4/10ths) of a position.
  • Getting your 5th Google review significantly helped ranking, although incremental reviews between 1 and 4  and above 5 had a very small impact on ranking (you have to get 100+ of reviews for it to help ranking any more than just 5, so good news for much-loved businesses and review spammers).

A lot more info on top factors and methodology will be posted on SEL and Bizible.com on Monday.  Stay tuned.

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13 Response Comments

  • Dave Oremland  March 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Looking forward to it. Personally I like linky link links 😉

  • Darren Shaw  March 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I had a chat with Aaron about this and I’m super excited about seeing the results. Bizable looks to be a great company, run by smart people. Watch for big things from them in the local space.

    Also, you’re a master at selecting photos for your posts Andrew. Love this one. 🙂

  • Mary Bowling  March 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Are you growing your own prize-winning Local SEO dynasty?

  • Andrew Shotland  March 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I grabbed her from Google Images but probably should put my own kid up there.

  • David Mihm  March 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I’ll be very curious to see methodology. I’ve not come across ANY reliable way to gauge rankings with all the blended results, let alone the location-sensitivity of Places results, let alone the location-sensitivity of the Venice update.

  • Andrew Shotland  March 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

    This is one of the potential flaws in the methodology. They used a variety of IP addresses to mimic “average” location – but I don’t think that’s the same as having someone with a physical location in each market. Sounds like a crowdsourced study is in order.

  • Nyagoslav  March 16, 2012 at 11:53 am

    “Having a physical address in the city of the search did not turn out to be a strong ranking factor, only distance from centroid seemed to matter. ” Which is ridiculous, because it means Google doesn’t use borders when determining rankings. Or if it uses them, they have very insignificant value. It simply uses “distance from point to point”.

    Really looking forward to seeing this!

    • Andrew Shotland  March 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

      I haven’t dug deeply into this aspect of the data yet, but I doubt it’s taking into account variables like topography, population density, business density, etc. I am hoping Bizible will share the raw data so the community can pick it apart.

  • MiriamEllis  March 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I am filled with anticipation! This should be wonderful. Thanks for the heads up. Can’t wait to read.

  • Linda Buquet  March 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Andrew you big tease!

    Can’t wait!

  • Don Campbell  March 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks Andrew – I’m looking forward to reading this.

  • Russell Mercado  March 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I have not dug greatly into this element of the information yet, but I question it’s considering factors like topography, inhabitants solidity, business solidity, etc. I am expecting Bizible will reveal the raw information so the group can choose it apart.