How would you like to rank higher on Google without aimlessly throwing your money on endless SEO campaigns?
No no, don’t get me wrong…. there is merit to using the expertise of SEO agencies, however it does help to build a foundation on how the rankings truly work but in today’s we turn our attention to Google Places and how local businesses can start to improve their presence by following a few key steps.
Google Places for Local Search
Google Places is the local listing results of Google. Google Places appears high up in the search results of Google when users look for local information and generally speaking, the results will show the top 7 businesses closest to a user based on their location. If your business does not appear in those top listings, chances are your clients, both desktop and mobile shoppers, don’t know about you.
Oh and another thing, mobile searches only show the top 5 organic listings of search results. So if your business is not there either, you may be losing huge amounts of business by missing out on potential clients who require your services in the area.
Having an optimized Google Places page helps potential customers to:
- Visually spot your location
- Quickly find your contact details
- Discover what others have to say about you
- Promptly find directions to your location
- See what your location looks like via photos and videos
The key benefits of properly optimizing your Google Places page are:
- Links your site to your Local page
- Boosts your business’s exposure and search traffic
Google+ Local Update
From May 30, 2012, Google began integrating Places with Google+, thus gradually ending the Google Places product and creating Google+ Local.
If you have an established Google Local Page, then you should continue to update your listing through Google Places for Business. In time, Google will convert all the Local pages to Google + Local.
If you don’t have a Google+ Page for your business, you should create one now. And if you do already have one, stay tuned for Google updates on how to get it linked to your local listing.
Here’s how to properly optimize all of the forms:
1. Setting up your local listing on Google Places
Firstly, head over to Google Places
Fill out the fields until your information is 100% complete (including photos and videos). Your goal is to get listed in as many places as possible, even if you cannot paste links – getting a text listing is good enough.
If you’re running a local bakery, getting listed in the local bakers’ association for your city would be a great opportunity. The local Chamber of Commerce is another great place to get your business listed.
Use services like GetListed or Yext to see how your business is listed on Google, Bing and other local search engines. Also, use KnowEm to reserve your business name across all major social media sites.
2. Insert Main Keywords To The Business Description
You can add up to 200 characters. Make sure to include your primary keywords, but don’t just throw them in there. Create a genuinely useful description that will attract users. You can add up to 5 services you provide and your opening hours.
3. Encourage Clients To Add Reviews To Your Page
Positive reviews will outdo citations, so encouraging your clients to leave great reviews on your Google local page is the best thing you can do. Let people know that they can leave reviews on your profile.
Post banners on your site indicating the places where customers can leave reviews, such as Yelp, CitySearch, TripAdvisor and others. Include your profile links in your follow-up communications (e.g. after a purchase/visit), newsletter and more.
4. List Your Business In Proper Business Directories
Add your business to appropriate directories like as Local.com, Yellowpages.com, or another directory linked to your niche to increase your Google Place page’s ranking.
5. Add Photos And Videos To Your Profile
Include up to 10 geo-tagged photos and up to 5 videos to get a bump in the SERPs to make your page more “likeable” to potential customers.
You may add photos of your store front, products or your friendly staff. Make the visitor feel comfortable with you before they’ve even come down to your location. Or, create a cool informative video or a happy client testimonial to build trust and credibility.
6. Your Business Needs Citations
Citations are known as mentions of your business NAP (name, address, phone number) on other web pages, even if there is no link to your site.
You want your local citation to match the local listing – use the rich snippets within your site to help the search engines collect all the necessary geographic information.
Useful citation tracking and citation finding tools:
Once your business gets more citations, you will start to see your Google Places Page rank higher in the SERPs.
Monitoring Your Local Rankings
Once you’re off and away it helps to use a tool to monitor your local rankings so you can keep track of your progress. While this post is not meant to be a review, you could use a tool such as MySEOTool to monitor local rankings.
It’s important to understand that optimizing your Google places page is not a one-off event – like running a TV ad campaign. It’s an ongoing process which helps you stay ahead of your competition and maintain your businesses’ presence in front of your target audience.
How about you? Is your approach to Google Places considerably different to the plan outlined above? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment area below.