Local SEO Case Study – Google Places Ranking Factors

I have spent a lot of time looking through the threads of Blackhatworld, and researching.  I have read everything on the internet that has to do with Google local rankings, and what people believe is needed to rank a local business in the top of Google.

There are many different factors when it comes to ranking a local business in Google.  The most common factor that everyone on the internet agrees is important for local Google ranking is citations.  A citation is essentially when a website lists a companies basic information (name, address, phone number).

In this case study, because citations are discussed the most, and believed to be the most important, I will be focusing on citations only.   Below I have listed my competitors citation statistics.  I will begin creating citations for my company, until I have a higher amount of citations then my competitors and will record the results.  Stay tuned to see if citations is enough to outrank my competitors!

Keyword: Niche + City (Highly Competitive)


Company A:
Local Search Rank: A

Citation Info:

Total Active Citations: 83
Citation Value Very High: 11 – 13%
Citation Value High: 3 – 3.6%
Citation Value Medium: 13 – 15.6%
Citation Value Low: 56 – 67.4%

Company B:
Local Search Rank: A

Citation Info:

Total Active Citations: 109
Citation Value Very High: 14 – 12.8%
Citation Value High: 6 – 5.5%
Citation Value Medium: 13 – 11.9%
Citation Value Low: 76 – 69.7%

My Company:

Local Search Rank: not ranked
Citation Info:

Total Active Citations: 69
Citation Value Very High: 8 – 11.5%
Citation Value High: 1 – 1.4%
Citation Value Medium: 4 – 5.7%
Citation Value Low: 56 – 81.1%

Keyword: Niche + City (Low Competitive)


Company A
Local Search Rank: A

Citation Info:
Total Active Citations: 25
Citation Value Very High:  9 – 36%
Citation Value High: 2 – 8%
Citation Value Medium: 3 – 12%
Citation Value Low: 11 – 44%

Update: 01/06/2014

I have been manually creating citations for each of my websites for weeks.  I have been using a separate phone number, address, and website for all them also, because there is a lot of information out there that say NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistency is a factor that can affect the ranking of Google+ Local.

For my low competitive keyword that I have been targeting, I expected to have outranked everyone by now.  I have more citations, and reviews then any of the competitors that are ranking.  Some of the competitors that are ranking for this specific keyword do not even have a website, that is how low the competition is.  Unfortunately, the problem is that I am still not even on the first page of this low competitive keyword.

I believe I have figured out what the main issue is, and it is that I do not have a verified google+ business page for this specific keyword.  I thought that having more high authority citations would be enough to outrank my competitors, but I was wrong.  This is an interesting discovery to me, because that let’s me know just how much power Google gives to google+ pages.  Companies without websites, and without any other citations, are able to outrank me even though I have a website, NAP consistency, and citations.

My next plan of action will be to get a verification from the address I have listed in my citations, and see what affect it has on my ranking.  I am curious to see how high I rank once I get the verification, and how long it will take after the Google+ page is verified.  Stay tuned folks!

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