If you are not already helping your clients establish, rank and maintain Google Places listings then now is the time to get on board.
Google have just released their Google Places iPhone app which makes Places listings even more important than they already are.
Many Places listings are now a single click away!
And a #1 search ranking means nothing here.
Here are some ranking tips I shared with my coaching students:
Places rankings are based on a number of factors including location, categories, keywords, directory listings, links and reviews.
There are lots more, but these are the most important.
Location, Location, Location
The business address is a major factor in whether a Places listing shows for a particular search. (It’s not called “local search” for nothing.) This is especially important in large cities with lots of competition. You’re either “in” the area, or you’re not. Not as important for smaller cities or suburbs with little competition, where “outside” results are often shown.
Not a great deal you can do about this but something to keep in mind when developing your strategy.
Reviews Help Rankings
Quantity, quality, velocity and variety of reviews can have a BIG impact on your rankings.
(See the image to the right, where the coffee shop with 19 reviews and a 4/5 star rating beats the much closer place with no reviews. Not only is the ranking better, but the stars and comments draw even more attention.)
The good news is there’s a lot you can do to help generate reviews for your clients:
- Ask. Sounds simple but how many people do it?
- Remind. Signs, place mats, business cards, website, loyalty cards.
- Reward. Competitions, discounts, freebies etc.
You want to get reviews on Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Citysearch… and any other review sites you see Google pulling data from in your local area.
3rd party directory listings are another crucial element in your local search strategy. Quality is most important — authority of the directory and consistency of data — followed by quantity.
Make sure your business detail are the same across all sites, including address, phone number, categories, keywords etc.
You want to get listed in the major directories such as Yellowpages, Citysearch, infoUSA, Superpages, and any other directoies you see Google pulling data from in your local area.
Categories, Keywords and Content
Google is all about relevance so make sure you’re in the most appropriate category for your business. Use at least one of their default categories and try to match this up with the categories you’re listed in on other 3rd party directories.
Custom categories can be useful for targeting specific keywords 😉
Finally, make sure you fill out all the fields in your listing — you want as much content in there as possible. Google is a data-munching machine and the more you give it to work with, the more accurate it can be in ranking you.