Google Places top tips

One question I get asked all the time is, “How do I get my local business appearing next to the map on Google”?

You’ve no doubt seen results next to maps on Google when you search for locally-based goods and services. Here’s an example for “hotels in Sydney”:

google-places-1

One thing to keep in mind is that the ranking algorithm for the results next to maps is very different to the ranking algorithm for natural Google results.

In many cases, there’s a lot of competition and it can very difficult to get your business listing to appear.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about how to claim your listing today, I blogged about it in detail in January this year.

What I do want to share is some additional insights Monte Huebsch put together recently in an excellent series of videos outlining the top activities you need to perform to improve your chances of “next to the map ranking success”.

Tip 1: Completeness. Make sure you completely provide data to all the fields and forms of your places page. I’d add that it’s helpful in the “business description” section to optimise this for the keywords you want to rank for. So if you’re a restaurant in Melbourne, make sure the key words, ‘restaurant’ and ‘Melbourne’ are mentioned a couple of times in the 200 characters you’re allowed.

Tip 2: Respond to reviews. Google has added a new feature, kind of like a tweet box, which enables you to respond to folks who have left a review about your business, as well as mention any other upcoming information about your business.

Tip 3: Coupons. There’s anecdotal evidence that adding coupon deals (using the coupon tab) can also help your rankings.

Tip 4: Reviews are gold. The more reviews (hopefully positive!) you receive about your business, the more likely you are to rank next to the map.

Tip 5: Obey the Google Places Guidelines! I mentioned in my last post about this topic that it’s helpful to add extra keywords to your business name to make it more keyword rich (for example; Movida Restaurant Melbourne). Okay, I was wrong. Don’t do this. If your restaurant is Movida, then you must only use the name of your business as its stated on your business certificate.

Tip 6: Promote. This relates to tip number four. Use the tools Google Places provides to email your places page to all your friends and suppliers to encourage them to write nice reviews about your business… okay, so probably slightly dodgy, but you get the idea if you want to, and hell, Google supplies the email and linking feature, so why not.

google-places-2

Finally, I’ve read a bit lately about making sure that all your other local directory listings are matching up properly, so the listing your business might enjoy at Truelocal is the same as the one in Aussieweb, etc, etc. Basically, Google ‘checks’ to verify that the information you’ve provided Google Places is the same as it is everywhere else. Pays to be consistent!

For more Online Sales expert advice, click here.

Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation  company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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