Top 10 In Google Maps – Part 2

google maps reslult

Why does this listing Rank #1 for House Painting in Paramus NJ?

  • The listing is credited with 69 web pages pointing at the name of the business but these are all essentially scraper sights that have picked up the listings of the competition as well. And there is no website, so no links.
  • The business has no reviews.
  • No relevant keyword in the name or business description
  • No alphabetical advantage.
  • No proximity to city centroid advantage, in fact, the business is not located in the town searched.
  • None of the categories on have anything to do with Painting, nor in the business profile, which was filled out with care…
  • Because the business does not do House Painting… just Power Washing.

This is exactly the type of thing that Local Seo’s complain about… Results like these that are seemingly unexplainable. Well, I might have an explanation.

When I wrote Top 3 in Google Maps, back in August, I asserted that was the key to ranking in Google Maps. Thanks to the wonderful work of Mike Blumenthal here and here, I now believe that Allpages is a key not the key. But I also believe it has special powers (wow, that’s a little over the top).

Let me explain:

As I wrote before, I think Google uses Allpages because this site does not allow a business owner to modify the listing at all. All the information comes from the local telco. This allows Google access to local information that is hand-edited by telephone operators. Brilliant if you ask me.

I also know that part of every phone record is a service date. That is the date that the business line becomes effective. In effect, knowing that service date, gives an accurate account of the age of the business.

Now, the theory part: If you were Google, would YOU consider the age of the business when displaying results? I would. It would produce so much of a better result for consumers than the alphabet or the city centroid or anything else. The age of the business is something we all consider when making a purchase. Why wouldn’t they do this?

Now, back to the special powers part and more theory. I am suggesting that if the category you are listed in on Google Maps comes from, it comes with additional information… the age of the business line, and that information provides extra Google Maps Juice. Similar to domain age in regular SEO, but perhaps more powerful.

Now for this theory to have a chance of being right, I would be able to find the listing for this business in the yellow pages under the heading Painting Contractors, remember the information would originate from the telco, and this would be quite a coincidence because this business does not provide that service. And I would be able to find this business listed under Painting Contractors in Allpages; again quite a coincidence.

Off to the library I go…

I find the yellow pages that is local to Hawthorne and eagerly look through the Painting Contractors heading for the listing. It is not there. If you saw my face at that moment you might have thought I lost my first born. I began checking other directories, each time without success. I found only his advertising under the heading of Power Washing. Until… one last thought…

I picked up the Business to Business Yellow Pages and lo and behold… BINGO. Whooommp, there it is. I could hear the conversation in my head between the telephone operator and the business owner that must have taken place years before. “I’m sorry Power Washing is not available in the Business Directory, would you like to choose another heading?” Sorry… Sorry… “Alright, just throw the listing in the Painting heading, it doesn’t matter anyway.”

Now, to check


There it is… 2 for 2… that is enough for me to think this idea is worth testing. Here is what I think we need to do test:

Check your local yellow pages… only the ones put out by the telephone company for the listing. Check any and all books put out by the Telco… there may be up to 3 depending on where you live: the regular phone book, the B to B and the companion. You are looking for the free listing… the one that comes with the business line. It will be in upper and lower case, light type.

Check those listings against to test the first part of the theory and then if you want to add or change your categories in Google Maps, call the telephone company or your yp rep and have your free listings moved. If you are in an area with multiple local books, like the B to B or companion, put the listings in different headings to spread the love. And then wait.

Here is what Allpages has to say about waiting… which could also account for the slow response time of Google Maps updates.


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7 Responses to Top 10 In Google Maps – Part 2

  1. Tim

    The more I think about it, the more likely it is that Google aggregated category data from a range of original sources…Superpages, Allpages etc…and uses all of those cats in Maps listings that don’t have an LBC or Website to use for superceding indicators.


  2. Mike, thanks for checking in.

    I guess what I’m saying most is that I believe the 3 most important factors in the Algo are links/web pages, location and the business line/age of the business. Now that’s theory… but if it’s true, it could make a difference from what source it comes down.

    Building on your work… let’s say you have one client without a business line, and the other with a business line that is 15 years old.

    With the first one, I would advise following your advice to the letter. Which I did, and my boy is in the top 10. Thank You.
    But in the second case where the business has a line that is 15 years old, How would I leverage that? Would I do anything different? Maybe in that case I let the category info come down from allpages in order to leverage that part of the algo. I think that that is at least worth testing.

    I did not make that clear in the original post, so I really appreciate the comment.

    I am becoming more convinced that the “mystery” factor we see in the results is the age of the business line. I have started studying this and see unexplainable examples become explainable. Like the listing above, I believe it is the combination of 66 webpages and a 15 year old business line (from bp on, not ironclad, but not much reason for the advertiser to lie) that put him in the number 1 position miles from his hometown.

    I would be very interested in your opinion on that.

  3. Pingback: SEO Nonsense » Local Search Hound’s Continuing Maps Testing

  4. Interesting article. I too get pretty confused about some results in local search. For example, a client doesn’t even show up on the top 10, but pretty much dominations half of the top 10 in natural SERPS right below it.

    Many IYP draw their results from … including

  5. Shycon, your absolutely right about acxiom. The problem with acxiom is the same as with allpages. You can’t just go their and update your listing. You must have a business line and work through the telco.

  6. Wolf89 says:

    Anything that pleases a doomer. ,