SMXEast Presentation: A patent review of Maps Ranking Factors

I have been reading Google’s Location Prominence Patent of late in search of a better understanding of the web related factors that affect Local ranking in Maps. This presentation augments the one made at SMXLocal in July. If time allows I will do a series on the underlying patent and its implications. Here is my presentation from SMXEast:

There is a lot of background information and notes that accompany this presentation. The patent is a trove of incredible information and very interesting background. I hope to be able to write a more thorough review of the patent but in the mean time, please, please ask away and I respond as best as I am able.

Besides the above and the SMX East presentation there are two other posts worth reading on the factors affecting ranking:
10 Likely Elements of Google’s Local Search Algorithm
– David Mihm’s excellent survey of local search ranking factors.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
SMXEast Presentation: A patent review of Maps Ranking Factors by

13 thoughts on “SMXEast Presentation: A patent review of Maps Ranking Factors”

  1. Oh, it looks like this presentation has taken on a whole new life since your original version of it, Mike. Nice graphics, great information.

    Congratulations on your speaking engagement!

  2. We were charged with providing “new” information. While the patent is old, reading it in light of our study showed me ways that can influence rank that we can quantify going forward.

    In reading the patent, it became clear that PR is not a very accurate view of the authoritative website. Location Prominence is an expansion/enhancement of PR which is why we saw weak correlations using it as a variable.


  3. Mike,
    So if Location Prominence is equivalent to PR, what other equivalents are there?

    Traditional SEO can basically be broken down into 4 main components, in my humble opinion:

    Age of document
    Inbound Links
    Contents of Document
    User Behavior

    What are the correlations for these things in Local? Has anything occurred to you, in reading the patent? I would appreciate hearing any further insights you can provide, based on your review of the patent and our work on the project.


  4. This is what I’ve been saying for months.

    The more competitive the market the more the local rankings are influenced by inbound links (quality, quantity, etc.). Of course they’ve added several nuances to the algorithm, including # or reviews, and geo factors.

    I don’t see the big differences. I see it more as similarities. Basic “onpage” factors have to be right, then assuming you’ve done those correctly then “offpage” factors dominate.

  5. @Tym

    The interesting tidbit in the patent was the “Highest Score of the documents” linking in addition to the number of linking documents. The implication was that a single hi scoring LP document + total # on the explicit link text was the calculation. We have yet to ascertain the relative weight of this vs other factors but it appears to account for about 30% of the variability in ranking.

    I hope to write more thoroughly on the patent and our research but there are a number of equivalents:
    Business Title= Page Title/Desc Tag
    Category= Page Title/Desc Tag
    Content of Business Listing + Web site content= on page content
    Citations + Geo References + Reviews + In bound Links= In Bound Links
    Etc etc

    An interesting note in the patent was discussing a possible add on ranking factor of user logs. They would assess which business had their directions looked up more frequently and use that log information in the calculation.

    I found no reference to age in the patent. Doesn’t mean they don’t use it.


  6. Oh, good, Mike. I’m glad you’re planning to write more thoroughly on the patent. Thanks for responding, and I figured user behavior has to be in there somewhere.


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