Targeting the right Google Places keywords is key to being successful. The advice here is don’t follow the herd and just go after mainstream keywords. Look for keywords that can actually define your business and differentiate you from competitors. It could be a specialty service you provide or maybe a unique product, whatever it is, make sure the keywords you’re targeting generate Google Places in the search results. It is also important to make sure that your website is properly optimized for this keyword. It does not have to be the whole site, it could be a blog post or a single page.
Putting Keywords in Google Places
If your business name does not contain your keywords then do not put them in the Google Places page. Instead, focus on the description and making it readable. There is no sense of stuffing your keywords. Google is looking for natural and readable content. Also, do not stuff your categories with keywords in Google Places. Categories describe what your business is and not what it does. In some cases this could be the same thing which can be beneficial.
As Google continues to grow and explore their local search it’s important to keep a pulse on what factors can help your ranking with Google Places. Recently, David Mihm and other notable local search experts discussed the top ranking factors for Google Places. Let’s take a look at these factors and some additional information when trying to rank for Google Places.
Top 10 Positive Google Places Ranking Factors
- Physical Address within City.
- Owner Verified Google Place Page.
- Proper Category Associations.
- Volume of Structured Citations.
- Crawlable address on website that matches Google Place Page.
- PageRank / Authority of Website Homepage / Highest Ranked Page.
- Quality of Inbound Links to Website.
- Crawlable Phone Number Matching Place Page Phone Number.
- Local Area Code on Place Page.
- City, State in Places Landing Page Title.
These are not the only factors, but if you focus on these factors you can position yourself to be successful with Google Places. You can check out the entire list of ranking factors by clicking here.
Top 10 Negative Google Places Ranking Factors
- Mis-match / Tracking Phone Numbers Across Data Ecosystem.
- Multiple Place Pages with Same Phone Number.
- Mis-match Address on Places Landing Page.
- Mis-match / Tracking Phone Number on Places Landing Page.
- No Crawlable Physical Address on Website.
- Choosing to Hide Place Page Address.
- Multiple Place Pages with Same/Similar Business Title.
- No Local Area Code Phone Number on Website.
- Multiple Categories in Same Input Field.
- Non-Compliant Categories (those that do not fit “My Business Is a _____”).
The above factors are things you want to avoid when trying to rank in Google Places.
Google Place Pages for your local or small business marketing plan is an essential part of being successful online. If you have yet to create a Google Place Page or are looking to learn more about Google Places sit back and enjoy.
How can Google Place Pages help my Local Business
Google Places is a local business center that helps consumers find your small business. Research has shown that over 90% of consumers search for local businesses online. This means no more yellow pages or phone books to sift through. Best of all, you don’t even have to have a small business website to get a Google Places Page. Basically, it helps your local business connect with your local customers. Additionally, Google has began to put priority on local search modifiers and including their pages in the organic search results making it easier for your clients to find your business. This means that if your a local business and not harnessing the power of Google Places you could be missing out on potential clients looking for your product or service. Google Places is also free to join so it is also an economical way to start your small business marketing online.
5 Key Steps with Google Place Pages
- Local Keyword Research: This is the most important aspect of being successful online. In order to rank well and attract the right visitors to your Google Place page or website for your small business you need to thorough research on which keywords you should be targeting. Make sure to use local modifiers like city, county, state in addition to prepositions like “near.” For example: “Plumbing near Tampa, FL.” Obviously, you could just use “Tampa Plumbing” in this case to generate the Local Google Algorithm to show local results within the organic listings. However, there are some cases which you may need to be more creative. That is really important when working with Google Places. It’s important your keyword will return local results which generate the Google Map and Place Pages. When Ace Local SEO provides local keyword research it can take a few hours even with our suite of tools.
- Local Competition Analysis: This really coincides with keyword research, but is really a separate task after you narrow down your local keywords. I won’t get into every aspect to consider with competition analysis but look at your competitors website and see if their keyword is in the title tag. If it is in their title tag chances are they have an idea of what they are doing and did some keyword research. Other considerations: How many sites actually have this in their title tag? Are they using the keywords within their Google Place page? How many citations do they have? What about pictures and videos inside their Place page? How many reviews do they have? It’s important to be realistic with your analysis and targeted keywords. If the competition is too steep you could be wasting your time and miss out on better opportunities for your local business.
- Google Places Page Setup: First, make sure to claim your business if it is already listed in Google Places. Believe it or not many businesses don’t even claim their listing. If your not sure if your business is listed just go to Google Maps and search for your local business or store. Make sure to fill everything out and add pictures and videos to your listing. Save and name your pictures in relation to your keyword or something relevant to your keyword, Google will connect the dots. Do the same with your video. I won’t get into showing you how, but you can also tag your photos by location, Flickr, Picasa and many other online photo storage sites will allow you to do this. Do not stuff your keywords in your business name unless it is actually the business name. The important thing here is that your listing is completely and accurately filled out.
- Business Citations: A business citation is nothing more then a mention of your local business or company. These are all over the web and can be located in a blog posts or on local search engines and directories. An important aspect of getting citations is to make sure they are consistent with one another. When I say consistent, I mean exact. Example, if your phone is listed as 813-555-2222 on Google Places then do not or at least try not to have it listed as (813) 555-2222. This just makes it harder for the search engines to correctly identify that the citation is linked to your local business. This goes for the address as well. Citations pass authority to your business. In the eyes of Google they mean your company is legit and needs to be recognized because other people/sites are mentioning your local business. Any citation is basically a good citation, but look to gain citations in your local market. Your business citations should include your local business name, address and phone (NAP).
- Local Business Reviews: It’s important to make it easy for your customers to give you reviews on your Google Place Page or another review site like Yelp and Citysearch. If your business collects emails then send an email to your customers and ask for a review from one of your review sites including your Google Place Page. Google will try and aggregate all the data and import to your Places Page even if the review is not directly from your Places Page. Another great idea is to let your customers know you want a review prior to providing them your service or product. This allows them to think about what they will write for your review.
Get Started on Google Place Pages
If you haven’t started on Google Places or if you need some help getting started with Place Page feel free to contact us. Our Google Places Page package is affordable and we take time to understand your business to help you succeed.