Is Your Business Local? Learn How to Optimize Google Places

Google Places photo
Photo by Photographing Travis

Google rewards local searches more than ever.  Why?  Because people want relevant results, and if Google provides local results instead of national ones when people actually have that preference, it gives them one more reason to use their search engine instead of others.

According to a report by reputed research firm ComScore, around 3 billion local searches happen each month.  If you’re a local business, you can’t afford to miss out on the action.  In most cases, optimization is more difficult and because it takes time and patience to perform, rather than skill.  Some skill is required, but you don’t have to be a super-genius to do the work.

Simple Tips for Optimizing Google Places

Consistency – Your business might already have a number of profiles across different social media outlets.  If you do, make sure you have the same representation of your business at each.  Otherwise, people become confused and aren’t sure they want to interact with your brand.  Some things to check are:

  • Your brand’s name
  • Consistent imagery
  • Linking all profiles together
  • Ensuring each profile reflects current employees and management

Use a local phone number – Because the point of Google Places is to show local search results to area searchers, it’s important to use a local phone number to show Google you are in fact local.  This maximizes your search rankings.  If you use a toll-free number, Google gets the impression you might not be local.

Fill out all of the information – Some of the information may seem not to apply to your business, or you might not want to give out.  Provide all of the information Google requests, just to be on the safe side.  If you can, produce content such as photos or videos.  Not only does Google like a diverse content base, but it gives you an opportunity to share more about your company, and online, people purchase from businesses they know, like, and trust.

Get 5 positive reviews – Google loves instant marketing feedback like this.  You can bet that better ratings give you better rankings.  Once you get 5 reviews, Google shows them online.  Searchers will trust your business much more because of the positive reviews they see.  As soon as you get a satisfied customer, follow up with them via e-mail and give them a link to the location to leave the review.

But, don’t attempt to manipulate them to make yourself appear better than you are by making up 5 reviews.  If you do get some negative reviews, follow up with the customer and resolve the situation.  When you make them happy, ask them to update their review.

Talk in extra detail about the problems your services solve – You don’t have to tell searchers every last detail of your services, but do tell them the common problems yours solves.  Most Google Places business listings aren’t doing this, so that gives you a little extra edge.

Follow these 5 tips, and you’ll get yourself off to a good start to ranking high for local searches.

Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Dan Stelter

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