You’d be surprised actually at how many local business owners still aren’t aware of Google Places. I’ve talked with several business owners in the past about Google Places who not only knew what Google Places was, but they were equally surprised to learn that a Google Places listing was already created for their business. That’s right, anyone can actually create a Google Places listing for a local business. But it will remain in an “unclaimed” status until the business owner actually claims the listing. And once claimed, the business owner can then optimize the Google Places page with relevant information about their products and services, and even upload photos and videos from the Places page.
How Your Website Can Improve Your Google Places Rankings
When it comes to local search results, Google places listings have become the standard for what Google displays. However, this search display and integration of Google Places is morphing a bit to a combination of both a Google Places page and a website. And as you’ll notice in the search results below, the top search results are actually a fusion of Google Places results and business websites. So actually the local business who has both a Google Places and website is being given preferential treatment below.
Let’s have a look at what I’m talking about there (you can also click here to see the results):
As you’ll notice, the top 5 search results for the phrase “auto insurance smyrna ga” are all Google Places pages that also have a website directly linked – or integrated, or fused – into the search result.
What do I mean by this?
First take a look at the map bubble icon to the right of each of the listings. These are the business name, address, and phone numbers as they appear on their Google Places pages. Then look to the left and you’ll see their local business websites. The title of the listings – the part that has blue letters and is clickable – is actually pulling in the from the title <h1> tag of the company website, and text underneath the title is actually pulling in text directly from the homepage of the same website.
So what you are seeing now is a combination, in Google’s search results, of both a Google Places page AND a local business website.
In fact, the top 5 search results are businesses that have BOTH a Google Places page and a local business website.
Let’s take a look at some other searches, just to see if this trend continues to play out – and I’m going to link to these search results so you can verify the information I’m sharing with you:
pest control lakeland florida – the top 2 search results are those of a business that has both a Google Places page and a local business website.
carpet cleaner orlando florida – the top 5 search results has a Google Places page and local business website.
chicago real estate agents – the top 4 search results are those with a Google Places page and a local business website.
dentist in topeka ks – the top 5 search results are dentists in Topeka that have both a Google Places page and a local business website.
A critical observation to note about these listings are that not only are the Google Places pages triggered for locally targeted search results, but their websites are equally optimized for the same keyword phrases.
It’s the double combination of proper keyword targeting on the Google Places page and the local business website that drives authority and relevance to these sites and allows them to elevate into the top search results of Google.