As the head of a leading Search Marketing firm I’m asked what the top criteria are that determine first page map results. In the past I found four top criteria in search engines determining local rankings:
1. Business Name – The importance of this increases exponentially as the business has multiple locations and can now be managed in the Google multiple business manager.
2. Business Address – Verification of the business address, per location, primarily happens via ‘snail mail’ or a telephone call-in pin for locations that previously exist in the listing directories system (usually because they scraped the information from a ‘higher up’ directory).
3. Business Phone number – Call-in pins are common to verify listed phone numbers.
4. Website URL – It is important to have a unique URL for every unique listing. I often see businesses get ‘sloppy’ and try to use their homepage for 3 different locations. The extra step to create a unique ‘homepage’ for each location is imperative in order to compete with competition in the local map market.
5. Google Plus for Business page – This is a new item I’ve added over the last few years. It’s not enough just to use the first 4 pieces of information to PROMOTE a G+ business page, but rather the creation, syncing and promotion of the page individually that determines overall success in Google Maps results.
Bonus verification – Business email, ie @optfirst, is often not only used to verify the domain but the existence of a real business owner and identity.