Having your business rank highly in Google Places is just as important (if not more!) as ranking in organic search. Google now automatically incorporates the 7-pack (7 top local listings) along with the organic search results for businesses. 66% of Americans use local search to find local businesses (comscore).
In order for your listing to show up in this prime location when someone searches for a business, you need to have your website optimized for Google Places.
But how do you get your business to rank high in Google Places? There are many little things you can do to help – here are a few of the most important ones:
- Claim your page. As simple as this sounds, by claiming your business on Google, you make sure you have complete control of what information shows. Along with claiming your page, make sure you have all the information you can, from your phone number, website and description to photos. Every little piece bumps up your Google Places listing score.
- Make sure your Google listing is complete. There are over 20 different fields to fill in your Google Places listing, such as Name, Address, Website, Photos, Hours of Operations, Payment Operations, etc. You might not place importance on some of these fields but when all said and done, showing up on the first page of Google Places can boil down to a single field (a few % points) making the difference.
- Include keywords in your description and business name. Don’t over use keywords as it might get you penalized, but if your business is a bakery, be sure to have the word “bakery” in your name. Having your local city spelled out here is a good idea as well.
- Make sure your business category matches your business. This alone is likely not enough to rank you highly in your category (which is why it’s suggested that you put it in your title as well), it is a decent-size piece of the Google Places listing puzzle. And, depending on the size of your town and how much competition you have, it might carry even greater weight.
- Get listed with citations in other places to boost your rank. Google uses more than just your page to rank your relevance. To best optimize for Google Places, you’ll want your business listed and mentioned in other reputable places on the web. Google sees this, and bumps you up on the list. Go to our How To List Your Online Business Locally post to see a list of Top Local Directories To Submit Your Business To. (and make sure your information is consistent across the board).
Ask clients to add a review to your Google Places listing.
Having positive reviews give Google more juice when it comes to recommending your business and ranking it highly. And this is only becoming more important as Google now lists the local map and 7 pack of places at the top of local searches. Google is smart; the more real reviews you have, the more likely it is to see your business as a more recommendable option.
By following the tips mentioned in this blog, you can be sure you’ll have a better chance of getting in the top Google Places search results. And better search results equals more business, so get to it!
To get a score on how effectively your business is ranking locally, go to getlisted. You’ll get a score of 0-100 of how your listing is doing in the local searches, and also some recommendations.
Read David Mihm’s page to expand on Local Search Ranking Factors surveyed by various SEO experts.
For questions or to learn more on how Optimization can help improve you listing, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).