We’re all pretty familiar with the Google Places results we receive when we enter a local search query but who or what decides which business deserves the right to get the highly sought after “A” position? Well the answer is simple (and obvious)…Google!
There are however many factors that we know about which help influence Google’s decision…
Places page 100% complete
This may seem a pretty obvious factor and it is, but it is one that we all too often see over-looked. Each area of your Google Places page should be completed in full to provide the user with as much information as possible. This helps the CTR (click through rate) and also shows Google that you have put a bit of effort into it.
Take the time to get ten professional pictures of your business premises or staff and if you don’t have any videos you can use Animoto or similar online tools to quickly create a few short vids.
Keywords in Title/Description
Where possible include your targeted keywords in the title (only if it’s your real business name) and in the description (careful not to over use keywords or be spammy). Also take care to choose business categories that are both best associated with your business and your chosen targeted keywords.
Photos and Videos Geotagged
Upload your photos to Panoramio and/or Flickr and tag their locations to correspond with your Google Places page.
Quantity (Quality) of NAP Citations
The amount of citations and the quality of these citations is still a huge ranking factor. Citations from other local authority sites have more weight than citations on irrelevant sites. NAP consistency is also a very important factor.
It is essential that the business name, address and phone number are identical in each citation and on the business website and Google Places page.
Number of reviews
This has been a source of many debate but in my experience, having over 5 reviews has a positive effect on your Google Places ranking. It not only helps the ranking but obviously improves CTR if you can have positive reviews from past clients.
Show the Google Bot that you are keeping your Google Places page up to date. Upload monthly vouchers or special offers and take the time to respond to reviews. This proves that you are taking a pro active approach to interacting with your customers and this helps your ranking.
Proximity to city centre
The distance your business address is to the city centre or the “centroid” is also a ranking factor. The closer the better. If your business is located far outside the city that you are trying to rank for, it might be a good idea to get a PO Box or other address somewhere near the city centre.
If you have a website which is linked to your Google Places page there are a few other factors which can help your ranking:
Business address crawlable on site
The business address must be crawlable (i.e. in text or html format) in the footer of every page of your site. This helps Google identify your site’s location.
Upload a geositemap kml to your website’s root folder and submit it to Google’s webmaster tools. This also helps Google identify your location and helps link your website to your Google Places page.
Another popular method of building location trust with Google is marking up your site with microformats to inform Google of your business’ physical location. Check out schema.org to learn more about this.
Organic ranking of site
The natural or organic ranking of your website is another huge ranking factor if linked or merged properly with your Google Places page. If your site’s main page ranks well, your associated Google Places page will rank well!
There are many other factors that Google takes into account but if you have most or all of these ticked off you’re well on your way to dominating your local search results.
For a free consultation on how we can help you dominate your local search market contact us today.