Creating an Effective Google Places Listing
You’ve heard of Google, of course, but what is Google Places? It’s a free business listing services offered by Google that enables consumers to find local businesses on Google. When local searches are done on Google, the search engine includes Google Places listings with the organic search results, along with a Google Map showing the business locations. In fact, the Google Places listings are usually at the top of the first search results page – all the more reason why it’s so important for local businesses to take full advantage of their Google Places listing. Here are some best practices when it comes to creating an effective, well-optimized Google Places listing that ranks well.
Make sure your listing is accurate and complete
Be sure the correct business name, address, and phone number are listed, along with other information such as service areas, business hours, and payment types. If the map marker is in the wrong place, you can drag it to the right location. Google uses information from your website to boost search results, so make sure your listing also includes your business website. Use an email address on your business domain, not a “generic” one like gmail.com or yahoo.com. Oh, and don’t use a toll-free phone number – use a local one, instead.
Choose the most appropriate, specific business categories
It’s important that the categories chosen be as accurate as possible. It’s okay to get specific – in fact, you should – as long as it’s accurate. If you can’t find a category that fits your business accurately, you can always enter your own.
Get your business mentioned on other business directories, blogs, or social media sites
Citations on other websites will boost your Google Places ranking – just make sure the information on the other sites is consistent with that on your Google Places listing. Especially important is ensuring that the business name is the same; having your business listed under several different names could result in them being viewed as separate entities.
Ask for reviews
Reviews improve local rankings, so go ahead and ask for them – just make sure there’s no incentive to do so, as that’s against Google’s rules. Customers can leave reviews right on your Places listing, or they can leave them on other review sites, like Citysearch, TripAdvisor, or Kudzu. The reason? Reviews on these and other review sites also affect Google Places rankings.
If you’re a local business, claiming and optimizing your Google Places listing is a must. Do it right, and you could see yourself on the first page of Google before you know it, making it easy for potential customers to find you.