Google places should be a top priority to your small business seo strategy
Google Places Should Be A Top Priority To Your Small
Business SEO Strategy! Find out why.
Google Places SEO can be very similar to ranking a small business website BUT, just
like organic small business SEO, there are many building blocks that must be in place
even prior to a successful Google Places listing. Just like a house built on quality and
proper building code, a Google Places listing must be built on a solid foundation to
rank for the long term. Read on to find out the do's and do not's of Google Places and
Small Business SEO.
The to do list for smart Google Places SEO
Plan ahead to get the best results!
Google Places is a mashup of 2 algorithm's, Places and Maps. One is a geo specific
algorithm and one is a quality/relevancy/content algorithm that also scrapes from
various third party sites like insider pages, yellowbot, citysearch, and yahoo among
many others. Remember we're working with computers and algorithm's here folks! If
you have different information like addresses, phone numbers, and business names
that do not match up across multiple sources the algorithm gets confused, listings get
merged, and rankings get devalued. Unfortunately barring an act of God you will
never get to talk with a Google employee or Places technician to fix, discuss, or
"explain" what is already out there on the internet so you must do your best to do it
right the first time and keep things uniform or hire a small business SEO that has
extensive experience in ranking Places listings to first analyze your current visibility
online and consistency according to Google's data about your business. Here are a
few questions and concerns to consider before ever starting your listing:
1. Do you have your business name, address, and phone number posted on the main
page of your website?
2. Have you listed your business across other local business directories online and
does the data from those listings match up with your current main website data (data
from the URL you will post on your Google Places page)?
3. Can you find your location in Google Maps and is the pin in the correct position?
4. Do you have a current listing within Places that Google has already scraped? Does
the data match up?
5 Do you have multiple businesses at the same address? If so are they showing up
within Google Places and how are they categorized?
6. Do you have a PO box or a street address? Google does not like PO boxes from
7. Do you have a local number or 800 number? Google Places favors local numbers
over 800 numbers.
8. Is your address within 15 miles of the city you want to rank in? If you don't have
an address yet I strongly suggest to get an address in the closest major metro area if
Do you think I'm being too strict? Do you not believe Google can be this accurate
while being totally inaccurate at the same time? Try having inconsistent data all over
the web and see what happens to your places listing
Google Places SEO vs. Organic Website SEO
Setting up your Google Places listing is similar to starting a successful SEO
campaign on your website.
Have you ever heard the analogy that goes something like, "If a searcher cannot find
your $20,000 website, it's like a billboard in the desert"? Organic website SEO and
Google Places SEO are very similar in the fact that just because you have a beautiful
website and/or listing does NOT mean your customers will find you! With traditional
organic website SEO and promotion your foundation is based primarily on a few on
page factors especially with the Google Caffeine algorithm:
1. Meta Data. Title, description, and keywords relevant per page.
3. Load time
5. Image optimization
6. SEO optimized content with proper keyword density
Of course there are many other factors but if you have the following in place with of
course some stellar keyword research you are off to a good start.
Google Places is very similar in that it needs a proper foundation to add to with off
listing promotion in competitive niches and markets. Think of it this way pertaining
to a Google Places listing:
1. Meta Data= Business name, description, and categories
2. Multimedia= Images and Video
3. Content=Relevant 3rd party content like reviews, citations, and mentions that
match up from other properties
Now the list may not be as long but it is very similar in the fact that a proper
foundation must be built for success and accuracy. Think of 3rd party content like
links to your Places listing. The more citations, third party reviews, and relevant
content attached to your Places listing the more "votes" to the popularity and
relevance of the listing. However, without a proper foundation and accurate
information across many properties to start you will be off to a difficult start.
Google Places SEO vs. Small Business SEO for Your Main
Website? Who wins?
What Should I do first? Ask an experienced SEO or a Business owner and you
may get a different answer from each.
When I first begin work with a new client they have many questions on different
forms and methods of SEO and which to start with and which are most effective. This
is all relevant to the niche or type of business, the competition, and the city their
business is located in. It's much easier to rank a local website for surrounding cities
than it is to rank a Places listing for multiple cities. Each has it's own thresholds. For
my larger franchise clients and clients with multiple locations that have experienced
the effectiveness of a fully optimized and ranking Google Places listing the answer is
simple. Google Places first, main website ranking and optimization second. This is
for the following reasons:
1. They've seen the incredible difference proper Google Places SEO has done for
their bottom line
2. It's easy for a business owner who doesn't necessarily understand the finer details
of SEO to just log in to their account and see their statistics and measure their bottom
line with impressions, clicks, and search terms used to find their listings.
3. They know it's the first thing the searcher see's when certain keyword terms are
typed into the Google search bar which are typically their main "money" keyword
The bonus of proper small business SEO for your main website is to further qualify
the searcher and supplement the search terms that do not show in Google Places.
Google Places also allows you the unique opportunity to gain at least a 20% market
share of the first page! Think about these statistics:
1. Searchers are 8X more likely to click an organic listing vs. paid
2. 90% of all searchers do not go past the first page when looking for a product or
3. About 75% of all searchers only click through to the top 3 results
What does this all mean? The greater the market share whether in the organics or
Google Places in the top positions on the first page the more trust, popularity, and
opportunity to prove to the searcher that you are the best choice for what they are
Google Places and The Future of Local SEO. What's Next?
I see one thing consistently...More and More focus on a GEO specific Algorithm!
Small business owners get ready, things are looking to be shifting heavily
in your favor, are you prepared?
Google is up to something again and it's coming VERY soon in my opinion! Time to
get your local "ducks" in a row. It seems that everyday I'm seeing tweaks here and
there on the user interface and the different algorithms. One thing is for sure, the
biggest changes I see all seem to point towards a new geo specific algorithm that
focuses on putting the closest relevant business results in relation to either the
searchers IP address OR allowing the searcher to actually control the geo location of
their search queries. I'm also seeing somewhat of a tug of war between Google Maps
and Google Places, almost as if one algo needs to beat out the other to make
"something" official. So what will it be? Will Google figure out a way to merge the
Places algorithm with their traditional search engine? That is my prediction. That
eventually Google Places listings will somehow merge with the regular organic
search engine algorithm and the Maps algo will only be relevant to the actual
business location and directions. If this is true then what I have discussed above will
be more important than ever! I'm just having a little fun here with a prediction so
please, if you'd like to criticize keep that in mind. So sound off below! What do you
think will be the future of local SEO?
Google Places SEO Services
The Best Google Places SEO Provider Online, Period!
Musson Media Consulting works with single businesses as well as large franchises
and companies with multiple locations. Visit our site for a free quote or consultation
and get your Google Places listing in the 7pack.