We have all seen Google localised search results on the front page of Google, but there seems to be a few misconceptions out there regarding this issue. I have had clients that have been told by other SEO companies in the past that Google map listings are a shortcut to the front page of Google. They have the impression that it is a completely separate entity to organic listings and should be treated that way.
This all depends, depends, depends. Go back to last year and I would have said yes. These days there have been some significant changes in the way map listings are ranked.
There are two types of Google Map (places) listings: pure and hybrid.
An example of a pure Google map listing is if we search for the phrase “restaurant Guelph”. For a map listing like this you wouldn’t even need a website to rank front page. The rules are completely different; rankings are clearly done by citations, and reviews. Don’t be mistaken into creating fake accounts and rating yourself 50 times. That doesn’t work, if anyone is advertising that service then they are stealing your money. You could have 100 5 star ratings from the same IP address/untrusted spam accounts. Translation, it wouldn’t mean half as much as having 2 ratings from matured and trusted Google accounts. Don’t be fooled. There are other rankings factors that I have discovered that I’ll share another day. Put your head down, do the work the right way and these results are relatively easy to obtain.
The other type of map listing is the hybrid one. It’s 70% natural, and 30% map listing. This requires much more work than the pure map listing. For the example, below I used the search “hairdresser Guelph”. Translation, this is no shortcut. To rank on a page like this you are going to need social links, correct onsite SEO, backlinks, and a pinch of luck amongst other things. In fact if Google decided not to show maps for this search trigger then the rankings would be exactly the same.