Google PlaceRank Brings Online Ratings Offline

It’s been well known over the life of Google that PageRank was an important metric the search engine created to help sort search results in a relevant manner. At the highest level, sites that have a large number of links to them from other high quality sites tend to outrank those that don’t.

And now it looks like Google is trying to come up with a similar ranking system for the physical world, starting with businesses, called PlaceRank. Some of the initial criteria Google is taking into account is listed below, thanks to Google Maps Mania:

“The list was determined based on the popularity of a business’ Local Business Center listing, as determined by how many times Google users looked for more information about a business, requested driving directions to get there, and more. Google users “decided” based on their actions, and we sent the decals.”

This type of information could be used to rank local businesses both online and off. For example, a person could run a search online like “Pizza 55406” to find pizza shops in their own zip code. That’s a nice start, but ranking them alphabetically isn’t nearly as useful as results that take into consideration which ones are most popular.

Now might be a good time to review how your business’ locations are presented in Google’s local search results, since that information may have an impact how visible you are online.

For one example of where this is heading, take a look at this demonstration of a new application for Android phones called Google Goggles, which shows how people will be able to easily check reviews of your business just before they decide to step inside. The local business information example at 1:00 but the entire thing is worth watching:

That makes Google a powerful gatekeeper to your business’ front door, so make sure you understand the game and play it well.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you listed in Google Local?

2. Is the information accurate?

3. Do you have any reviews?

4. What could you do to get more of your customers to leave positive reviews?

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