Local SEO Positioning Factors: Google Maps

When we search for something in search engines, we expect to find the best results first, which are the most relevant to our search. For example, if I search for “3-star hotels in Madrid”, I don’t want to find a bed and breakfast place in Barcelona. And I also want to find a lot of information about that hotel, such as the rooms, how much it costs, where it is, etc. Therefore, doing SEO means, first of all, writing rich and relevant content with the words we want to be found with.

For local activities, which need to be found and reached in their own place, such as hotels, and restaurants, but also those serving a certain area, positioning on Google Maps is essential.


The ranking factors that determine map presence at the top of the results are different from those that guide the indexing order in Google’s global searches. This is because Google needs to have confirmations, and validations, about the presence of activity in the relevant area. To obtain these validations, Google scans sites for credible information to confirm them.

Current activity and services provided in this area

In the first case, it uses citations, or rather the recurrence of the physical address and other elements of ratification of the position in that given location. In the case of a hotel, for example, it is essential that Google verifies the position both by searching for recurrences of the complete physical address (NAP) and by sending verification documents to those who register their activity on Google My Business.

Factors that determine positioning on Google Maps

The organic ranking factors, strictly speaking, also apply to Google Maps, with the difference that the geographical element is more important and somewhat central. It follows that the main elements to note, which appear on the Google map at the top of the results page are:

Énfasis en la ubicación geográfica

Si intento mostrar mi actividad actual en cierta ciudad, es necesario que se nombre la ciudad. Tanto en la etiqueta del título de la página de destino donde quiero obtener tráfico, como en las páginas de soporte. La ubicación del sitio comienza con elementos textuales y de escritura que no se pueden evadir.

Inbound link quality

Few but good inbound links (backlinks) should be authoritative and somehow have a connection to the geographic area. For example: if a conference is held in a hotel, it is very likely that a local newspaper will mention it.

Geographic relevance of reference pages

If the site has geographic relevance in more than one area, such as a company that has regional or multi-regional relevance, the referring page for the activity in the area should also receive these authoritative and quality local relevance link confirmations.

Location of the activity in the geographical area

Physical presence on the site: many site owners is convinced that they can rank in a city without being physically present there. If you do not have a verified site in the area, Google will always prefer activities that are based there and can serve the public. It is, therefore, necessary to confirm the presence on the site, correctly report the address (adopting the mark.org scheme), and disseminate this address on the web. As long as it really exists and has been verified.

The verified card in Google My Business

In fact, it is very important that the activity has a card on Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places, as well as Google My Business optimization so that the address is verified with the systems made available by Google. The address indicated on the site must match perfectly with the one verified on the form and must also be present elsewhere. The consequence of this “validation” lies in the fact that it is necessary to ensure that the physical address is present only in a specific form, the one adopted in Google My Business (in the canonical form “street, street number, zip code, city, province”).

Verifiable and highly relevant quotes

Local appointments start from easily verifiable sites. A hotel is easy to find, being present perhaps on TripAdvisor, Booking, Venere, and other online booking services. However, not all local activities are responsive and touristy, in fact, most are not. For verifiable quotes, rely more on social networks and other search engines.


Confirmations of the area present throughout the site

The localist element is relevant and makes a difference: it must be adopted in the text, with an appropriate emphasis in paragraph headings, but also in backlinks referring to the activity.

In addition, a thematic correlation should be created between the activity and the place, identifying thematic connections that confirm the relationship between what is done and where it is done. For example, an agency operating in the area, a company that has done a particular job in the area, has every interest in showing the work done.

Zone confirmation from incoming links

The local element in backlinks is relevant and should be confirmed by citing the location more often than it is. But, as always, it is better to let quality prevail over quantity, with an emphasis on internal content.

Ultimately, a well-positioned site in the referral area finds confirmation of the area from backlinks, internal text, use of appropriate keywords, attention paid to correctly reporting the address, receiving confirmations and validations from very relevant sources (such as the social media accounts mentioned above), from fully optimizing a website in a localist sense, assigning prevalence to the geographic area served from time to time.