Archive for the ‘Google Places’ Category

Great Google Places video

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Check out this great video which helps explain how businesses use Google Places!

Essential local SEO tips

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Local search engine optimization can be just as time consuming and competitive as “regular” SEO. The same rules apply — you need to have good content and quality links. However, the tactics are slightly different in specific areas. As always there are some tactics that you can use easily and some that require a dedicated local seo expert who can provide a daily punch to your local ranking efforts.

Local search is essential to small businesses. In 2010, Google revealed that the proportion of Google result pages that show a map is one in 13. A few months later, Google changed from its Local Business Center (LBC) to Google Places, which enables businesses to communicate with customers as well as supplement their Google profile information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons and product offerings. We assume Google is serving maps more than 1 billion times a month.

With all of this in mind, here’s the beginnings of what you need to know to successfully tap into local markets.

Where to Begin

List your business in Google Places — it’s free. Watch a number of training videos and explore the features, including tools like tracking of actions (meaning how many times users showed interest in your business listing), clicks for more information on maps, driving directions or direct clicks, as well as impressions (how many times users saw your business listing as a local search result). As you’ll see, it will be important to get ratings and references, too.

While much focus is placed on Google Places, don’t forget to also register at:

  • Yahoo! Local
  • Bing Local

Verify Your Business

One easy way to find out if your business is listed anyplace online is to search for your brand name. Include the city or locale you are supposed to be listed in.

If you are not listed, take action. For instance, if I’m a tax attorney in Beverly Hills, California, I would search for “tax attorney Beverly Hills.” I’d see the top local results (just below Google’s paid search results) as well as a local map on the right, hovering over more paid listings.

When I click on one particular local result, I notice that it has not been verified, meaning it does not include a “verified business owner” link. An arrow points to “Business owner,” indicating it needs verification.

Google pulls the data on this result (address, phone number) from some of the larger business aggregators like infoUSA, and attempts to match it up correctly. However, that data could be wrong. If that’s the case, it would be important for this particular owner to take corrective measures. This is why it’s important to verify your business information in local search results.

Select Your Categories

When registering, make sure to assign your business to the listed categories that best describe it. You can add up to five categories. Once you start typing, Google Places will display related categories.

Continue to add as much information as possible, including hours, payment types, e-mail address, phone number, URL/web address, photos, videos and coupons. Fill out each field, if appropriate.

When you’re done, make videos, upload them to YouTube and link them back into your local profile on Google Places. If you install and use tools like, it’ll be free and easy to make an informational, useful video. Screen cam your PowerPoint presentations. You can include up to 10 pictures and five videos.

Get Listed in Local Directories

Obtaining citations from local business directories like Yelp and Merchant Circle can be a powerful tool to get exposure and drive traffic. (See the list of directories in the Local SEO resources sections below.) Make sure that all your information is correct, and keep the same formatting across all locations.

Ask for Reviews

Don’t be afraid to ask customers for reviews. Offer special incentives and discounts for return visits to your office. You can also add a postcard or business card into your office invoice mailings asking your customers to review the visit and talk about the experience.

However, don’t unwittingly spam this system by asking all your friends to review you in a week. You should also get references from the Better Business Bureau, your local chamber of commerce and the top local directories.

These tips should start you out. A local seo expert can help you enlarge your campaign and show you many more local seo techniques to bring you Page Rank and customers.

Goggle Places key to strong local SEO strategies

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

The industry of local SEO changed massively in 2010. We have seen the introduction and growth of Google Places, Google Instant, and Google Preview, etc. Many of these changes have been keeping local SEO orientated webmasters busy updating their websites so they don’t lose customers or business as a result of all these changes.

One thing I wouldn’t like to bet against is Google Places becoming a lot more competitive and dominant. Google seem to have focused on this strongly through the second half of 2010. The SERP has in my opinion become a lot more relevant, it gives you chance to find good information, whether it be a news feed, a blog post, local business listing or a natural organic result.

The last big PageRank update was in April 2010. This is one of the longest periods (as far as I can remember) that it has not been updated in. This gives me the impression that Google could be changing or may have changed its ranking algorithm to place a lower importance on the number of inbound links your site requires for ranking in Google Places.

I would say that your location and content/service you provide are becoming more important than link building. Google has now even introduced reviews for local businesses. Not only does Goggle Places allow you to review businesses using Google, it also picks up reviews from big review websites. Having positive reviews could become as important as having good backlinks.

Whatever the case it is clearly becoming more important that you have a well-designed ranking strategy for Google Places. Businesses wise enough to figure out how to stay ranked on the ever-changing Google landscape will be the ones with the most powerful local SEO.

Local SEO with Google Maps and Google Places, etc.

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Every business wants to be on the first page of a search when someone is searching for local businesses. But, how do you maximize your chances of getting on the first page?

There are a few ways to help optimize your local SEO:

First, get listed with the search engines. Getting listed by Google Maps will help tremendously. You have to fill out an application, get verified, and then wait a few weeks before your business will show up. Yahoo Local is another important listing. You can do this without the verification and your business gets listed faster. The more exposure you get on these sites, the more customers you will get.

Another way to optimize your SEO for you local region is to get listed in yellow pages type directories. Yellow Book, Yellow Pages, Yelp, and CitySearch are all examples of these types of directories. People utilize these just like they used the Yellow Pages phone book in the past. They need a service or a product and they look it up. Your business will get much more exposure when listed on these sites.

You should also list your business on free local classifieds such as Craigslist, Backpage or USFree Ads. People look to these sites to find service every day. These are very popular with Internet users and will get maximum exposure for little cost and effort.

Another way to get more exposure is to get reviewed. Ask your customers, or your friends and family to review your business on the various directories and online review sites. You can also attempt to put a link to your business on various local sites such as a Chamber of Commerce site.

One of the most important thing you can do is to manage your business profile. Your profile contains the basics: business name, address, phone number, and business description. This is what information will appear when someone does a search. This information will also appear on sites for national data providers. You certainly want this information to be correct and give a true description of your business.

If you have a web page, you can do a few things to make it more local search friendly. You should have your address on every page of your site. Furthermore, even if you have a toll free phone number, you should put your local phone number of every page of the web site.

Creating a page on your site titles “location/directions” will also help make it friendly to local searches. Have a link to Google Maps and Yahoo Maps on your location/directions page. If your business serves other surrounding towns, list as many of those as you can on your site.

Local SEO has become very important since Google introduced Google Places. Also, the proliferation of netbooks and smartphones have increased the important of getting listed on top locally. If you have a business that is living for local customers, learning how to get the maximum exposure on search engines is vital to the health of your business.

Using Google Places to rank in local searches

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Google Places is by far the strongest free marketing tool out there for local businesses. Originally introduced in March 2004 as Google Local, it displays local business info at the top of Goggle’s organic search returns accompanied by a map. Most searches turn out 7 businesses, which means ranking in the top 7 of Goggle Places can be a huge lift to a local company.

Breaking into the top 7 of Goggle Places takes expert knowledge and time and staying there takes continued effort. It begins with claiming and optimizing your Google Places local business listing. Once done you can examine your ranking and then decide if you want to bring a local SEO expert in to make sure you are up in the top 7 returned results.

Check out the screen shot below to see the way Google Places displays its 7 results, and also the position of sponsored ads.

To begin the process visit Google and search for Google Places. Register for an account. Follow the bouncing ball until you can click on the button that says “Add a Business”. The first page of the submission form is mostly fill in the blank, but there are several important opportunities to optimize the listing.

Business Name

You must choose your business name wisely. While no one audits the listings to verify that the company name matches your incorporation documents, you must still be wary. If your company’s legal name is “Joe’s Computer Repair” you need to tweak it for the purposes of Google Places optimization. One easy way to do this is to add a keyword descriptor or your primary city. For example: “Joe’s Quick Computer Repair” or “Joe’s Computer Repair of Miami”.

Goggle Places Description

Carefully craft a 200 character description of your business focusing almost exclusively on your key products and services. Don’t waste space here for marketing speak such as “Proudly serving the Miami area since 1976”. Also, do not waste space here by including geographic references. The geography is almost entirely controlled by the city you list for your address. Inclusion of additional cities does virtually nothing when it comes to optimizing your Google Places listing.

For our hypothetical painting company, “Joe’s Computer Repair”, an optimized description would go something like:

Computer repair shop specializing in PC repair and speed enhancement for PCs. Services include hard drive repair and backup, data recovery, speed optimization and general computer repairs.

It is important to remember that the description is designed to reach a broader search audience – not win awards on Madison Avenue. Keep it simple and include your top keywords. 200 characters is not a lot of room, so make sure not to waste space.


Google Places requires the use of at least one standard category. Begin by typing your top keywords and choose the most relevant category. Google Places provides the ability to include 5 categories. Use them. If your top keywords are not standard categories, then use one or two closely related standard categories and use the remaining three slots for specific keywords.

For our hypothetical company, the categories might look something like:

Computer (Standard)
Computer Repair (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
PC Repair (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
Data Recovery (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
PC Shop (Standard, but an extremely popular related search term)

Service Areas and Location Settings

The Service Areas and Location Settings options are designed to allow a business to establish a service area if the company does not have a storefront of some sort. If in doubt, complete the option accurately for your business.

Business hours and payment options are purely optional and serve little if any value to the optimization process. Potential customers certainly will find the information useful.

Google Places provides the ability to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos (from Make sure you always use keywords to name your photos and take advantage of the “tag” functions provided by The impact on Google Places traffic is limited, but any impact is good.

Additional Details

To optimize your listing, create a table of your key products and services using as many keywords as possible. Each detail consists of two fields with a maximum space of 200 characters each. Include as many additional details about your company, your products and your services as possible.

The new Google Places local business listing will not be active until verified. Usually, verification can be completed by triggering a phone call from Google’s computers to the phone number of record for the listing.

Sponsored Ads?

Once verified you will be included in Goggle Places. If you find you are not listing among the top 7 in Google Places you should think about bringing in a local SEO expert to fine tune and continuously monitor your Google Places status. That is likely a better option for you than paying Google for ad sponsorship and placement, as an actual SEO expert working for you not only will have you ranking in the top 7 but will otherwise optimize your information and site so that you rank effectively and keep customers on your listing.