Allpages is the key to ranking in Google Maps. I haven’t tested this or anything but it seem logical. Allpages is the only Internet Yellow Pages I’ve found that does not allow business owners to add their listing to the directory. The only way to get in is with a business line through the local phone company. The data is provided from the phone company to Acxiom to Allpages; where Google picks it up.
When you think about it this is brilliant on the part of Google. It allows them to have the telephone company’s operators hand edit Google Maps.
Sure anyone can go in and add their own business through the Local Business Center but ranking begins with Allpages. It seems to me that Google will only begin giving credit for Links once it sees this listing. To test this I checked out a few sites from the SEO Industry.
I started with a search in Google Maps for SEO in State College PA. I’m a big fan of Aaron Wall’s SeoBook.com so I decided to see how this PR 6 site ranked in Maps. Only 2 SEO’s in State College so it came right up; but after clicking on the more info link something interesting… no links pointing to the site. So, I checked to see if SEOBOOK.com had a listing in Allpages and I wasn’t able to find one. So, it may indeed be that one does need to be in Allpages before links begin to count. And that starts with adding a business line from your local telephone company. I was able to find other SEO sites with plenty of links pointing at their listing, and they did indeed have a business listing.
Oh, how things have changed… there was a time when you needed a business line to be in the yellow pages… now that is no longer true but you need one to rank in Google. That’s funny.
I also suspect the age of the listing is a factor. I took a peek in some categories that weren’t that competitive and found the listings that made the top 3 were consistently in my copy of the Yellow Pages from 1999. I wonder if this will lead to folks trying to buy old numbers the way they buy old domains.
But the listing and it’s age will only take you so far in competitive categories where adding links is the name of the game again.
Top 3 Spots in Google Maps
A good way to search for links is to do a search in G Maps for your category without adding a location. Here’s one for Pizza:
Now if I own a pizzeria I have 522 web pages to research for link opportunities and a bunch of ideas for sites that I can try to send my customers to for reviews.
As you play around with this for different categories you begin to get an idea for just how strong the name algorithm is when the category is not typed in exactly. For instance, I did a search for Landscape Architects and found a company in Connecticut with only one web page pointing to it and yet it ranked second in the nation.
A series of coincidences led to this result that are quite revealing. Clearly it is the name of this company that brought them up so high on this list. So, did this company really name themselves ‘Landscape Architects’? No, they didn’t, the company is listed in Allpages as: Lent Wesley E Asla. So why does Google list it differently.
As near as I can tell there are 2 reasons; the first is ‘Asla’ is not his last name it is a designation, it stands for the American Society for Landscape Architects and there are a bazillion links pointing to it on the internet, so Google discounted this name and looked elsewhere. In this case it found another site, partypop.com, with a listing for “Landscape Architects’ that included this company’s address and phone number. So Google used this name and Mr Lent picked up the top spot in Google Maps for his most important keyphrase.
Another interesting example is Attorny in Manhattan. No doubt a common mispelling for this uber competitive phrase. I wonder if these attorneys have any idea why they are getting so many new clients from Google when they don’t even have websites.
Essentially, Google Maps is providing a list of Attorneys whose listings were handled by telephone operators who did not know how to spell attorney. And if my theory is correct, they are in chronological order.