Google Video Discusses Local Ranking Factors

Jeff Berman
December 8, 2010

Google recently released a video discussing how they rank local businesses as well as introducing some of their new local products including Hotpot, Boost, and Tags. The video does a nice job of explaining some of the factors they use to determine who shows up in the local results and why:

As usual, Google doesn't tell the whole story here as far as what the specific ranking factors are. However, they do hit on a number of interesting points. The three factors Google addresses for how they rank the businesses include:

  • Relevance - They want to show results of businesses that are relevant to the specific search performed
  • Prominence - This is described as showing businesses that are "prominent" or "well-known" across the web. More on this below.
  • Distance - How far the business is located from the geographic area included in the search (this can also be calculated using your IP address or your GPS positioning if searching from a mobile phone)

Here are a few of my takeaways from the video

Google also tells us that claiming a profile does not give any sort of preferential treatment or boost in the rankings. However, it's important to keep in mind that claiming a profile enables you to specify categories, update descriptions, add photos, videos, hours of operation, services, and more. Adding this information to your profile will help Google better identify your law firm's services which can have a positive effect on your ranking. In short, just claiming your profile may not effect your visibility but claiming your profile and adding information about your firm to it will. The bottom line is that it is still important, and good strategy, to claim and complete your Places profile.

Google also notes that running Boost ads or Google tags does not effect your Places rankings. This seems to be consistent with the results we've seen. While these products help your Places listing stand out, they don't seem to effect where the listings show up in the organic results.

Finally, Google addresses "prominence" as a ranking factor but doesn't give a lot of information regarding what makes a business "prominent" on the web. In truth, this is dipping into the secret sauce of how Google is ranking the businesses so they will never give a clear picture on the factors involved. That being said, the listings we see performing the best are ones that pay attention to traditional SEO on their firm's website (ie: link building, content production, on-page optimization) as well as local factors (ie: building citations, consistency with the firm name, address, and phone number, reviews).

seo consultant guide

Free Guide: Getting Your Law Firm Found On Google

Do You Want To Know How To Get Potential Clients To Find Your Law Firm On Google?

Download AttorneySync's Free Guide On Getting Your Law Firm Found On Google.

LBC guide

Free Guide: Best Local Practices For Your Law Firm

Want to learn how to get your law firm more targeted, local clients from Google?

Download AttorneySync's Free Guide On Best Local Practices.

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Let's Discuss Your Growth

Helping law firms grow profitably with digital marketing and can prove it.

Barry Conybeare

We are so impressed with AttorneySync and their digital marketing services. We started with an audit of our digital presence and hired them thereafter. Fixes to the website and other platforms quickly followed and we have seen a substantial increase in online traffic, new client calls, and new client contracts. Strongly recommend AttorneySync!

Let's Talk

How can we help?

More From Our Blog

June 8, 2023
On Local Law Firm SEO Rank Tracking and Reporting

Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]

Read More
June 7, 2023
On Attribution

John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]

Read More
March 22, 2023
I asked ChatGPT to Recommend a Personal Injury Law Firm

I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]

Read More
February 17, 2023
My Take on Google Search's Guidance on AI-Generated Content & Law Firm SEO

If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]

Read More
February 16, 2023
Google Adds New SEO Best Practices for Links

If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]

Read More
February 1, 2023
Authenticity & Engagement

The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]

Read More
January 19, 2023
ChatGPT for Legal Marketing

The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]

Read More
May 26, 2022
SEO Expectations for Law Firms

How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]

Read More
May 6, 2022
Who Should Do Marketing?

And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]

Read More

Let's Discuss

Questions or comments? Let's discuss on social!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram