If you’re running a business, you need to have a web presence. However, said presence isn’t worth anything if you don’t know how to make yourself prominent. With so many businesses competing for attention, it can seem like an uphill battle to stand out. By establishing a strong ranking on Google’s Maps, Places and My Business pages and working upward, you can make your business stand out in the competitive market of online listings.
To start, you’ll need to know just how your business is doing in this regard. While searching for your business name will (hopefully) bring up your business’ website and social media pages, it won’t give you an accurate sense of how your business is performing in terms of popularity. Instead, you should do a Google search for the products that your business sells or the services it provides. Imagine that you’re someone looking for this product and service who isn’t sure what business to turn to. Then, you need to find out how you rank, or if you rank at all. Since Google results are optimized to bring up local options, it would be rather disconcerting if you were nowhere near the front of the rankings. For instance, if you run a hair salon, you would hope that people in your city searching for “haircuts” would see your salon as one of the top results.
Assuming the search goes reasonably well, you should see your business depicted on a map. Pigeon, a specialized Google algorithm, uses a person’s distance to help determine rankings. It specifies things more based on location, which can be incredibly helpful. By following some special guidelines, you can harness the power of Pigeon’s algorithmic thinking to give your business a search engine boost.
The secret to a great Google Places ranking is optimization. While it’s understandable to think that having a well-run business is the key to having a strong search engine presence, the reality is that you have more control over search results than you realize, and that is what will make you stand out. A properly optimized Google Places page will not only give a significant boost to your rankings, it will also give much more information to your future customers. For instance, they’ll be able to easily find your contact information, hours of operation, past customer reviews and more. Think about how often you search for a certain type of business and gravitate towards the one with the most vital information handsomely displayed right away. By optimizing your Google Places page, you’re not only helping out your business; you’re also providing a service for other people.
To make the ranking happen, you need to follow all the necessary steps of optimization. Confirm whether or not your page is part of Google Places. If you don’t have a Google account, you need to set one up. There will be a page under this account called Google My Business. Then, you’ll choose between “Storefront,” “Service Area” and “Brand” for business type. You will then be prompted to conduct a search for your business. If it has already been listed, you need to make a claim for your business page in order to ensure that you have proper control over it. Otherwise, you’ll just need to make a brand-new listing through the “Add your business” button.
Once you add all the details of your business, such as address and phone, you will need to ensure your right to represent your company. Verification is not an instant process, even with a high-tech company such as Google. They will send you a postcard with a confirmation PIN, which can take about two weeks to be delivered.
After you’re initially set up (and even before the postcard arrives), you can begin optimizing your page. There will be an “Edit” button on your page’s dashboard, where you’ll be able to optimize each pertinent aspect. It’s absolutely crucial that not one detail here be off in any regard. Your business name should be accurate. Your address, phone and email should match up with what you have on your website. My Business also provides a Category section, which will allow you to better detail what sort of business you provide. You can list as many as five in this section, so be sure to choose the ones that are most important and most representative of your business.
A business is always more bound to stand out if customers can immediately get a sense of what it and the people who operate it are like, which is why words and pictures can make a huge difference. Include plenty of quality photos in your My Business page. These should be varied and detailed, so people feel intrigued and enthusiastic about your business. You should utilize the Introduction feature. It doesn’t need to be terribly long. Instead, you can just provide something of a mission statement that you believe will bring in traffic. Don’t rehash anything you’ve written in the past, such as on your website. Reflect on your business and how you operate it. Then, find a way to summarize these findings as best you can.
Once you’ve taken care of this, you’ve made an important step, but the work is not over. You’ll need to keep consistent tabs on your My Business page to see how it’s doing. Make routine searches for your business in Places to see what sort of progress you’re making. If you find yourself stuck in the same low-ish rankings, then you need to strategize. Re-optimize your My Business page or seek consultation with successful businesspeople. (Though perhaps not with any ones who are in direct competition with you)
Making your way to the top of the Google Places rankings isn’t an instantaneous process. However, it’s relatively simple to understand how to inch your way up. As long as you are diligent and understand what makes a business stand out, you should be able to find yourself on the top of the results soon enough.