Google Maps/Places SEO – How to Dominate Your Niche
To obtain maximum visibility and traffic for local businesses, Google Places must be optimized. This Google Places guide will show small business owners how to use Google Places to increase traffic, visibility and ultimately, revenue. When you download this portion of the guide, you will learn the following:
• What is Google Places?
• Why Google Places is Important?
• How to Get Your Business Listed on Google Places
What is Google Places?
Google Places lists local businesses and shows their location in Google’s Maps services. Google Places allows users to find local business products or services for sale. Local business owners can list their information with Google Places to increase visibility and increase revenue.
Why is Google Places Important?
According to Google, one in every five searches is location-specific. Since Google logs over two billion searches per day, this gives small business owners 400 million opportunities for searchers to look for items related to their company locally. Every company should have a presence on Google Places to take advantage of the incredible volumes of people engaging in local search.
Studies have also shown that Google Places converts traffic at a much higher rate than organic traffic. In some regions of the world, competition for the top five positions in Google Places will be significant. For instance, a business owner who owns a pizzeria in New York will have more competition than in a lesser known market.
Optimization of the Google Places listing will be necessary to gain one of the top positions, but most businesses feel that the investment is worth the effort. The amount of traffic and business received is tremendous.
How to Get Your Business Listed on Google Places
Google Places optimization and listings can be handled by a professional. Many services are available online to help people improve their ranking on Google Places. The fee is typically nominal.
Many companies elect to complete the listing and optimization process in-house, but the process will require more time and effort for a person who is unfamiliar with optimizing listings. Here are a few tips to help people list and optimize their listings with minimal effort:
Know the Rules
Google can identify users that are using techniques to simply achieve a better ranking, and users who are trying to improve the readability and attractiveness of the listing. Webmasters that use unscrupulous practices may be found guilty of spam. Google may reprimand webmasters accordingly for this practice. Listings in violation are at-risk of being removed. To ensure your listing is not in violation, read the rules and guidelines listed on the support page of Google.
Provide as Much Information as Possible
• The Official Business Name. Always try to use the exact name of the business to avoid ambiguity. Steer clear of acronyms that are not official or shortened names.
• Physical Address. Business owners should have a physical address. Most companies with P.O. Boxes do not have the success of those with physical addresses.
• Phone Number. Have the numbers to your business accessible to provide for the listing. Toll free numbers and fax numbers should be included.
• Website Address. Google Places listings do not require a website listing, but it is a good idea to include the listing to gain traffic from people who look at the listing. Websites will also improve rankings of a listing.
• Email Address. An email address will be required to list in a Google Places listing.
• Business Category. Choosing categories that define your business is important.
• Gather Images. Take photos of the business and its products. This will give searchers an idea of your company’s business offering.
• Gather Videos. Instructional videos are recommended to help promote the business.
• Locations. Create a listing for each location around town. If a business owner has hundreds of businesses across the nations, a listing must be created for each location to be effective.
• Gather and List Other Details. These details may include different products carried by the business or different services provided.
How to Collect Listing Data for Google
Third Party Sites. Google crawls sites to find business listings. The information is then pulled into Google Maps. This information is often found on third-party websites that also feature business listings. Most business owners have their business listing data on multiple sites. This makes it easier for Google to find information for Google Places, but it may also cause problems because businesses may create a listing in Google Places that may already exist.
Direct Submissions. When Google receives information from a business owner directly, the listing will be more to the business owner’s specifications and will be more authoritative. The information business owners provide to Google will always take precedence over the submission gathered from third party websites. There are some exceptions to this rule, but this is typically true.
How to Begin the Direct Submission Process
Search for Your Business. Determine if your business is already listed in Google Places. This can be accomplished by searching at http://maps.google.com. Search with the business’s name, street address and phone number. If the business does not appear with these three searches, it probably is not listed. Google will also perform a search during the claiming process. Any duplicates will be brought to the business owner’s attention.
What to Do If the Business is Already Listed. If the business is listed, ensure that the information is correct and optimized. Also, check for duplicate listings. Check to determine if the listed has been taken by a business owner or by a verified owner. If the listing has already been taken, determine who in the company has already set up to account information. If a non-business owner has taken ownership of the listing, Google will require verification from the business owner that the listing is associated with his or her business. Once verified, the listing can be modified and monitored by your company.
What to Do If the Business is Not Listed. If the listing is not listed, begin the direct submission process.