Google is in the process of switching over from Google Places to the new Google+ Local, but I still get asked often about how to improve your local listing in the search results. It's a good question to ask. Without a doubt it is the most important thing you will do when it comes to your local search traffic. Here are 7 quick and easy tips to give yourself a better chance of ranking high in the local results. I'm sure these suggestions will still be viable down the road. So here we go:
7 ways to improve your Google Places search ranking:#1 Create Your Listing Already!
There is an old saying that goes, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Google places a lot of empasis on age when it comes to their listings - both web results and local results. Age is one of the easiest factors to verify trust. If a business has been listed for years and hasn't been shredded in the reviews or burnt to the ground, clearly they're doing something right. So stop waiting around and get yourself listed. Visit https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/ and sign up. It's 100% free.
#2 Verifty Your Account
Anyone can add a business to Google Places. In fact, Google actively seeks out businesses to add to the listing so that it can supply users with the most information possible. Because of this many of the listings aren't verified by the owner. A verified account is going to provide an extra level of trust for your listing. To verify an account look for this on the right hand side of your Google Places page:
Click the manage this page button and fill out the information to establish ownership. Google will then mail a post card to the business address on record. This card will have a web site address on it and a code. Go to that address, enter the code provided, and just like that you will now be the verified owner of the account listing. This will give you access to analytics on your listing where you can see how much traffic your are receiving. Another perk!
#3 - Fill In As Much Information As Possible
Google loves information. It's their life blood. The more information about your business that you give them, the more likely it is that they will show preference to your listing. If you have two businesses where everything about the listing is equal, but one has filled out their hours of operation, payment methods received, parking, and all the other fields then there's a very good chance it will outrank the other. Take the time to thoroughly complete everything.
#4 - Add Pictures and Videos
You're given the opportunity to add 10 pictures to your local listing and 5 videos. Take advantage - put them all in. Pictures of your facilities, staff, products, website captures, anything relevant to your company. This goes hand-in-hand with putting as much content as possible into your listing.
Remember that Google owns YouTube, so adding in some YouTube videos is sure to score some brownie points. If you don't have any videos shot, make a slideshow of your existing images. YouTube is the second largest search engine in use today. Having your business represented there is another way to generate interest.
#5 - Create An Offer
You can create a special offer for your business directly through your dashboard. Interacting with your Google Places account is going to show the search titan that you're an engaged business owner. Google loves to see updating coming from a website or Places account. It's also a great free way to advertise a special that your business is running. We will delve more into updating shortly.
#6 - Provide Excellent Service
Yes, being awesome at what you do will help your Google Places listing. Why? Because when you do a great job people take notice and all of those raving fans lead to a wonderful occurrence - Reviews! Getting positive reviews will help your ranking. It'll also make you stand out from the crowd. If I'm looking through the listing and I see you with all your wonderful reviews I'm going to gravitate towards you. Just make sure that you follow all of Google's terms of service. Soliciting or trading reviews is a big no no.
#7 Update! Update! Update!
Google loves updates - local listing or web listings. Why? Because it shows that someone cares enough about the site to be making them. If a site or listing has been the same for years, how relevant can it be? Make sure you are accessing your Places account monthly to add new pictures, videos, and creating new specials. With the changes being made over to Google+ Local you will want to keep adding content and updates to your Google+ business page. It'll have the same effect.
If you implement these 7 tips and stay diligent with your updating I guarantee you that positive things will happen with your Google Places local listing. Remember that it can take time to gain rank but that once you're there the rewards can be huge. If you have any questions please drop by our Facebook fan page or our Google Plus business page and ask away.
By Charles Daniels