Ranking element 1: your address
If you want to get high rankings for keywords that are related to a particular city then your business should be located in that city. If you want to be found for local searches in New York City then your business must have a physical address in New York City.
Ranking element 2: your business category
You must make sure that your business is listed in the correct category in Google Places / Google+ Local. If you sell real estate then your website should not be listed in the automotive category. You can specify the correct category when you submit your website to Google Places / Google+ Local (see below).
Ranking element 3: keywords in your business name
If your business name contains the keywords for which you want to be found then you increase your chance of getting listed in the Google Places results on Google's first result page. If you have a salon, it will help your rankings for the keyword "salon" if your business name is "Michael's Salon".
Ranking element 4: citations of your business
Local NAP or Citations (also called "web references") are mentions of your business name and address on other web pages, even if these web pages do not link to your website.
Citations have a similar effect on local searches as backlinks have on regular website listings. Try to get your website address listed on as many websites as possible to show Google that your business is real.
For example, a yellow pages directory or the local chamber of commerce might list your business without linking to your website. The more citations your business has, the more likely it is that it will be listed for local searches.
Ranking element 5: data consistency
Your business name, address and phone number has to be consistent across the different websites that list your business. If your business is listed with different information then this could be interpreted as a spamming attempt.
Ranking element 6: you must have positive reviews
Google Places / Google+ Local is basically a recommendation search engine. They recommend local restaurants, plumbers, hotels, etc. in the search results. If the recommended businesses offer poor products and poor services then people wouldn't continue to use Google Places.
Positive reviews and ratings help Google to gain more confidence in your company. The more positive reviews your company has, the better. Encourage your customers to write a positive review if they are satisfied with your products and services.
Ranking element 7: proximity to the searched location
If your business is located near to the searched location, it is likely to be displayed in the search results. If you have a hotel near the Norton Art Museum then it's likely that Google will show your Google Places / Google+ Local listing for search terms such as "hotels near Norton Museum".
Learn more about Local SEO by visiting SEO Local Results or Call 561.404.9787 to speak to one of our Digital Experts.