If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know how passionate I am about preaching the importance of Google Places for local businesses – or any business that’s located in a particular local / metro area.  So even if you have 10 locations throughout the U.S., each of those local offices needs to have a Google Places page.  And if you are a local business like a carpet cleaner, attorney, car dealer, etc… then you absolutely need a Google Places page that is linked directly to your local business website.

Here’s 5 tips to help you build a stronger Google Places page, which will ultimately give your business more traffic, rankings, and exposure on Google.  This is critically importantly because millions of people are searching on Google right now for what you offer.  And if your local customers don’t see your business at the top then guess who’s phone is ringing???  That’s right – your competitors.

5 tips for Google Places pages

1)  Optimize both your website & Google Places page

If you are a local business who has a Google Places page and a website, then it’s imperative that you understand how to two properties are inter-related.  Google Places pages now pull in metadata (information) from your website and marry it to your Google Places page to determine things like authority, relevance, and ultimately your rankings in Google search.  That’s why it’s critically important for you to optimize both your Google Places page and your website in way they both complement and feed off one another.

2)  Completely fill out your Google Places page

Most businesses just blow through the form you have to fill out for your Google Places page.  Unfortunately, by leaving out information that you could have otherwise entered, you could be cutting your legs out from reaching top rankings in Google search results.  For example, Google give your the ability to add 10 photos and 5 videos.  However, 95% of the Google Places pages that exist don’t even have one.  This gives you and your business a tremendous opportunity to outrank and outperform your competition.

Also, things like the character count in the description element.  Google gives you 200 characters to describe your business.  Yet you’d be surprised how many business only put a short sentence to describe what their business does, or provides.

So take advantage of each element in your Google Places page and max out each section.

3)  Ensure Consistency of Business Information

One of the biggest factors affecting your Google Places rankings is the consistency of your business information across the web.  For example, let’s say you have your business name, address, phone, and URL on your website but something about the information is off and not an exact match to the information on your Google Places page.  This is a big deal and will dramatically hinder the authority of your Google Places page.

Using your Google Places page as the anchor, ensure that anywhere else your business information appears reflects exactly what your Google Places page is showing.  There should be an exact match from your Google Places page to your website and any other location where your business is listed.

4)  Increase Occurrences of Business Information

As mentioned in #3 above, consistency of your business information across the web is critical to achieving top rankings in Google Places.  But equally important is the number of occurrences that list your business.  But again, having a large volume of placements won’t amount to a hill of beans without it being consistent and accurate.

A great service I use to achieve occurrence and frequency is the Universal Business Listing service.  You’ll be able to submit your business information once and have nearly 150 local business directories post your business listing.  Check them out here > https://www.ubl.org/index.aspx

5)  Customer Reviews

It’s always funny to see the look on business owner’s faces when I show them the analytics of their Google Places page.  They are typically shocked to see how many people are actually searching for what they offer and even more shocked at the number of people who are clicking on their site.

All of this means that customers are already visiting your Google Places page which means it’s a great opportunity to start promoting and asking for people to leave customer reviews.

Customer reviews can have a huge impact on the overall authority of your Google Places page because its the one part of your page that is actually user generated content.  All other factors on your Google Places page are you, the owner, creating the content.  But customer reviews is where your customers actually get to produce the content and Google gives a lot of authority to pages that have a lot of traffic and reviews.

What other tips would you suggest to improve Google Places page rankings?