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Listings with no websites

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# 1
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More of a general curiosity really:

 

My website scores reasonably highly on most SEO checkers. Yet, there are several business in my location & category that rank higher than me in Google business listings even though they have no website to speak of. How does this happen and how is it fair/correct?

 

Gav

1 Expert replyverified_user

Listings with no websites

[ Edited ]
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# 2
Top Contributor

1-Firstly SEO rank checks use models that attempt to guess what Google is ranking on. Obviously they are missing the boat.

 

2- Second. Any given search result will change on Google ever few miles that a searcher moves through the world (real or virtual) and there are as many search results as there are searchers. These results are changed based on the search location, their previous searches, places they have reviewed, places and websites they have viewed. Thus it is difficult to discuss ranking in any objective way.

3- That being said Google does use 3 broad metrics for ranking any given set of results:
Proximity
Relevance
Prominence

And user behaviors

 

4 SEO ranking tools only look at prominence and have no way to measure proximity to the searcher or relevance. 

Proximity is defined as how close the listing is to the assumed position of the searcher. Some searches have a radius of only several miles around the point defined by that assumed position. This depends on your industry and its density.

Relevance is all the things that Google looks at to understand what a business is and does. It is not a binary assignation and has valence... so a business could be more relevant than another and rank higher. Relevance is accrued to a listing by things like:
- business name
- category at Google
- category elsewhere
- review content at Google
- review content elsewhere
- website content
- anchor text content
- social content
- newspaper article content

Prominence speaks to the idea of quantity and quality of "on-line votes" for the business. This is primarily in the form of links to their website, the local quality of those links and the quality of the websites from which they came. A link from the NY Times is likely worth more than a link from the Olean Times Herald.

 

User Behaviors are probably a calculation within their prominence calculation but I list it separately because it is interesting. Google has long tracked which listings people call and which ones they get driving directions for, but they are now tracking how many visits a place gets with data from Android users. These user signals are totally hidden from us but are sure to have an impact. 

So it is difficult, given the complexity of Google's approach, to determine why you are not ranking as well as you think you should. The existence of a website might not offset the proximity or relevance of another listing. 

 

So if you would like for use to take a look at your listing and site and give some advice on what you might do differently feel free. 

 

Trying to discuss its fairness is even harder.