SEO Tip: Improve Your Ranking with Google Places

Last week, I had the privilege to be interviewed by Angel Tuccy and Eric Reamer of the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ in Denver to discuss search engine optimization – SEO (Click on pic of Angel and Eric for the podcast) Unfortunately, we ran out of time before I could provide a hot SEO business tip that any business with a physical location can implement today.

Google Places is a free service provided by Google that combines a physical address with the robust Google Maps application. Google Places allows an individual to review and evaluate business listings. For marketing professionals,of of the best reasons to understand Google Places is that Google has a clear preference for businesses listed in Google Places when providing search results.

Here is an example, I entered the search term “copying” and the first page of Google has two paid ads, a wiki entry about the subject copying, two company websites FedEx Office and Staples, then the Google Places results. Interestingly, the top three selections in the Google Places listings all have customer reviews.

Now that you see Google Places is important to Google ranking, there are some to do’s that are important:

  • Since Google Places uses an algorithm to list the most relevant results, you should include the most important keywords for your business in the 200-character description of the listing.
  • Listings are allowed to include up to five photos. Use appropriate keyword titles for the pictures that will also help with SEO. It is important to control the photos attached to your Google Places listing because with the fleet of street view camera cars, Google reserves the right to use their sources to add photos to your listing.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on the Google Places page. You can set up a program to give a customer a discount on a return visit for a positive review. One note of caution: Do not submit multiple reviews from the same IP address. The people at Google are smart, if you cram a bunch of reviews from the same IP address, Google will identify and consider this type of behavior a violation.
  • Be sure to add your Google Places site to your analytics. In addition to traffic, the analytics dashboard will show you the search terms used to find your Google Places listing. This will provide valuable information as you can focus your content creation on relevant search terms.

Let us know if you’ve used Google Places and seen impact on your SEO. Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

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