Getting ranked in Google Places is so important for any business that I decided to devote a whole article to it. It is amazing that so many businesses, especially antique stores and malls, haven’t even claimed their spot in Google Places.
What Is Google Places
Many people don’t know what Google Places is. The photo at the right shows an example of Google Places. It has two parts, first is the map on the far right showing the location of the seven businesses to the left. Secondly is the list of seven businesses related to the search. In the example photo, the search in Google was for “antique mall Decatur, AL”. You can see the map and the seven listed businesses. The businesses are listed A through G with their corresponding locations marked on the map. Besides the name of the business, other things listed are address, phone number and web site if they have one. Of the seven businesses listed, only two show a web site. The other five just show maps.google.com.
How to Get Ranked On Page 1 of Google Places
If all of this is Greek, or maybe “geek speak,” you can always hire a SEO (search engine specialist) like me to do all of this for you. But if you want to try to tackle this for you, these are the things you need to do g to get listed in one of those seven spaces on the first page of Google. If you are not in one of those seven spaces, your business will probably not be seen. In a large city where there are many more businesses, most of the businesses would not be listed in the top seven. Only one of them has done the things necessary to get listed on page one. That is Mountaintop Antiques, and I am the one that did all of the things for them. The first question most will ask, is then “Why isn’t Mountaintop Antiques listed number one?” The one thing most businesses can’t control, especially retail businesses, is their location. Google Places gives preferential treatment to the businesses that are listed closest to the city center. You can see that Mountaintop Antiques is further away from the city center of Decatur than all of the others. One other factor that can’t be controlled, is how long you have been listed in Google Places, the longer the better. But these are the things you can do.
First, claim your listing. Most of the businesses have not been claimed. In fact most businesses have not claimed their Google Places spot. If you click on the “Place page,” it will take you to another page. In the upper right hand corner, you will see “Edit this place- Business owner?” Just click on this and it will take you to a page where you can list all sorts of things about your business. It is important to fill out all of this, especially to upload photos, as many as they allow, which I believe is 10. You need to alos upload a video. If you don’t know how to do this, just ask some young people how to upload a video to You Tube. Then you upload the You Tube video to Google Places.
You will also see, “Write a review.” This is VERY important. Over the next few weeks you want to get several reviews for your site. People have to a Gmail account in order to write reviews. A good tip here. You want to have more reviews than the other businesses listed ahead of you. But don’t get others to do them all at once. Ask some of your best customers that you know will write a positive review. You can also ask friends who have been in your business.
The next VERY important thing to do is get your site listed in as many local directories as possible. These are called citations, and again, the more the better. There are probably one hundred of these or more.
The number of reviews and citations you have is an important factor in your Google Places rankings. Again, the larger the city, the harder and more competitive it is to get listed in the first seven places. My antique store was in Dallas and there were more than a hundred antique stores and malls trying to get in those seven spots.
Another factor that it is probably too late to do anything about is the name of your business. Notice the darker letters for Bank Street Antique Mall, the last two words, “Antique Mall” are darker than Bank Street. Remember what the search phrase was, “antique mall Decatur.” It is that way both in the name and the URL name of the web site. The best name for SEO and getting ranked would be “Decatur Antique Mall” or even “Antique Mall Decatur.” But 99% of people don’t consider this important when they choose their business name. When I decided on my name for my SEO business, I chose Dallas SEO Specialist, to capitalize on “Dallas” and “SEO.”
For a business that may work out of their home or customers don’t come to the business location, you can get a PO Box at a UPS Store or something similar that is located close to city center to help get a location close to city center.
Having a web site that is et up in the proper way is also important. Too many people who build web sites know how to make them pretty, but they don’t know how to optimize them to get the best ranking. But that could be another whole article to explain that. I’ll just say it is important to use the proper keywords and have your site set up to rank well for those keywords.
But for now, make sure your business is listed in those first seven spots on Google Places and the higher the listing the better.