What is Google Places?
Local business listings are valued highly by Google. If you do a local search which includes a place, town, city or local service, Google will display this local business box. Go to Google Places
What determines your Google Places Rank?
So are you wondering what the ranking factors for local search engine optimization? Here are the top 10 factors that determine your Google Places ranking.
1. Claiming your Google Places Page/Local Listing.
Basically, Google may already have a listing for you that they put together through different sources. If not, then create one. Claiming your listing ensures that Google has the right information and protects it from others having access to it.
2. Business Address in City of Search.
Make sure your business address is correct so that those viewing your page know where you are. It also ensures you are displayed properly on the map. Your business having an address that resides in the local area searched will most definitely help with your ranking.
3. Proper Categories.
Selecting proper categories for your small business listing seems to be crucial. Experts suggest that you should select at least one of Google’s default categories and use your other selections as an opportunity to apply keyword strategies.
4. Product/Service Keyword Business Title.
Having a keyword that a user searches for in your business title has proven to be quite effective. Only if it is a part of your official business name though. So don’t go stuffing your business title with keywords if they aren’t as it will work against you in the long run.
5. Being Close to the Center of the City.
At this time, Google tends to give more weight to small business listings that are closer to the center of a city for local searching. They are getting better at recognizing the flexibility of a business so it may not have as much bearing on the results in the future. Especially when the exact position of the user is considered such as with a mobile device or when browsers become more aware. This applies mainly to larger cities of 200,000 or more.
6. Description Including Product/Service Keywords.
Do not keyword-stuff your description as you will be penalized. Avoid using the same keywords as in your categories as well. Use this as an opportunity to share more strategically selected keywords to support your small business. Your description is very important to the viewers of your listing so make sure it reads well and makes sense.
7. Adding Photos.
This is generally accepted as a means to provide a better user experience. There is some debate as to whether having photos improve the ranking of the small business local search listing. Having a complete profile does support increased credibility from a user perspective and likely the search engines. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
8. Local Area Code Association.
This is likely used as a confirmation of locality. The general consensus is that it doesn’t seem to be much more than that but it does help. Especially since users tend to be more apt to call a local number than a 1-800 number due to its association with call centers. Google also emphasizes using one so that should reinforce your using it if you have one.
9. Related Categories.
Experts seem to agree that “Related Categories” helps and offers an excellent opportunity to rank on long tail keyword phrase. For more info: http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/three-good-reasons-to-target-long-tail-keywords.
10. Location Keyword in Business Title.
This is basically saying that having your location name in your business title gives more weight when a user searches for that location. Makes perfect sense. If you have your location in your official business name then that’s great. You can take advantage of this. But don’t go adding it to your listing business title if you don’t. – you will be penalized.
Download this in PDF format …………………………. See my Google Places page
Google Places UPDATE
Google is slowly phasing out Google Places, its business directory service, and transforming it into a more “social” business connection experience through the use of Google+ Local. If you’re unfamiliar with Google+, it is the search … With Google’s acquisition of Zagat, the popular user-generated restaurant review service, food establishments can now be rated on a 30-point scale for food, decor, service and overall quality. The average of all reviews is shown as the restaurant’s “
Google+ Local means a more social interactive version of Google Places. Check out the Google+ Local demo video to see the changes. There is a Local tab within Google+ that now, alongside your Google Places information, …
… about the significant changes that will be taking place with their local search platform. What was formerly know as Google Places is now being labeled as Google+ Local, and I think you can infer what the centerpiece of this update will be.
So as you can see here, you NEED a Google Plus account to be seen locally now.