A high Google Places ranking should be your small business’ first priority when it comes to maximizing the power of your local search engine strategy. The expansion of local listings across such platforms as Google Places, Bing, Yahoo!, and social media websites has made it imperative that your business establish a high ranking in local searches.
However, Google Places dominates local searches, sometimes reaching a 65% share of local search results.
Late in 2011, Google took the unprecedented step of listing local searches alongside organic search results. This means your business must completely optimize its local listing in Google Places.
If your business does not rank in the top 7 of search results, you need to revamp the way you present your business on Google Places.
Here are 10 ways on How to Improve Your Google Places Ranking:
Claim and Verify
You will only optimize your business listing once you claim it on Google Places. After making the claim, verify all of the information is correct before you establish a business listing on Google Places.
Optimizing means more than strategically sprinkling a few keywords throughout your listing’s content. It means correctly filling in fields and providing detailed information in every field.
The phone number listed should be your main business phone number. Your business website URL must match the URL you input for your business listing.
Do not forget to input the correct hours of operation, your business address, and the category that your business operates. Upload every photo and video that a ranking in Google Places allows.
One mistake some business owners make is incorrectly inputting the geographic location of their business. If you operate a restaurant in Oak Park, do not use the geo-location of “Chicago Restaurant” Local searches mean exactly that: people search for businesses located in the town or city in which they live.
Focus on the two primary main local submission portals that provide information to rankings in Google Places. If you have incorrect information in the Localeze and InfoUSA databases, you will find the same incorrect information funneling into your Google Places listing.
These data providers help your business build credibility across the web. Maximize the information you present by getting into as many local submission databases as possible.
In the ever-changing world of Google Places, online reviews have become an important factor that determines your Google Places ranking. Identify the third part review websites that are pertinent to your business.
Then, encourage your organic website visitors to post reviews. Google indexes all of your online reviews and collects them for your Google Places listing. This is important because it boosts your Google Places ranking.
The Key to Customer Service
How many of us have expressed disappointment with a product or service and received absolutely no response from the business? You enhance your business’s reputation, and thus its Google Places ranking, by responding to customer reviews of your business on third party websites.
Your Google Places ranking benefits from credible online citation sources. Citations are comparable to word of mouth referrals. The more quality referrals you receive for your website, the better chance you will see a boost in the ranking of your business on Google Places.
The Social Media Connection
Claim your Facebook, Twitter, And Foursquare listings. More important, use your Facebook listing as a second business website, one where people go to learn about promotions, new products, and discounted services. Google factors in Hyperlocal listings when calculating local search rankings.
No, this is not some bio-engineering term. Cross optimization simply means take the promotions that work on your organic website and apply them to your Google Places listing. Promote special events, popular pages, and your Facebook page.