My top 10 tips on how to rank well in Google Places (aka Google Maps)

Google Places (aka Google Maps) can be a fantastic way to rank well in Google. The majority, if not all, of localised searches now displays Google Places.

Google have made a mass of changes over the past 12 months, the 2 biggest visual changes are the map results which are now intertwined with normal results and the small map now displaying on the right hand side of the page which follows you as you scroll.

When you do a search for a local term you may get something like this:

Search: car dealerships in London

Google Places - Cars London

Search: solicitors in Glasgow

Google Maps - Solicitors Glasgow

Ranking well on Google Places has grown even more popular over the past 12 months as a quick winning strategy to ranking well but there are some dos and don’ts with Google Places.

Here are my top 10 tips to succeeding:

1. Make sure your Google Places listing is 100% complete, over the past 12 months I have never seen an incomplete listing rank well.

2. Never fill your company name with your top keywords, Google is getting tough on this and in some instances some companies have lost their places account because it is classed as keyword stuffing.

3. Write a detailed and unique description about your company; don’t just copy the first paragraph from your homepage. Remember Google loves unique and well written content aimed at the user; spend 5-15 minutes creating something new for your listing.

4. Always include a legitimate address and phone number, if you don’t you are run the risk of Google removing your listing and banning your company from having a listing in the future.

5. If there is already a Google Places listing for your company which you didn’t create, firstly, claim this as your own and delete the entry, or, once you have claimed the entry, update all of the details. Whatever you do, do not create a second entry, this is seen as spamming.

6. Make sure the details on the listing correspond with the details on your website, having different phone numbers, addresses etc looks suspicious.

7. Something which I have experimented with (and is well documented) is the fact that Google will look for the details you have placed on your Google Places account matches other business listing websites.

So, if you are listed on Yell or Free Index, do these details match your Places account? You need to make sure they do and get your business listed on as many business sites as possible that accept telephone number, address etc. This is a signal used by Google and helps with the trust factor.

8. Get your customers to write reviews on your Google Places account, having reviews and testimonials not only looks good, but also gives Google more confidence that the listing is legitimate and the business is real.

9. Something which I have experimented with is having your details readily available on your site. Having your phone number and address on every page of your website is also telling Google you have nothing to hide in terms of these details – this again will help with the trust factor.

10. Spread the word about your listing – add it to your website, share it on social networking sites, link build against the listings page – all of these types of activities helps Google identify that it’s a worthy listing and if you have a solid social strategy in place, Google will be able to see that certain social sites are connected to your business and listing – yet again, another trust factor.

Note: Whilst Google Places is a great strategy, you can only target the city which is mentioned in your address, i.e. you couldn’t target Birmingham with a Wolverhampton address. If you are looking to do this, you need to make sure you have a legitimate address for the area because the city name is used as a ranking factor.

and finally, what’s the blue Google Places marker?

Places Blue Marker

For those of you wondering what the blue Google Places marker is – you are given this if you are listed on Google Places and advertising on Google Adwords.

So what are you waiting for? Get started on Google Places now: www.google.co.uk/places

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© Dave Cain