More than 20 percent of searches on Google are from people looking for information on a businesses location.
If your business is one that relies on local clientele, then this is not to be overlooked.
For a long time now, Google has given business owners the option of listing their business’ information so that when someone searched for a business, a list of local results would show up and yours would have the possibility of being included. These showed up next to a map that marked each of their locations.
If you haven’t already explored a Google Place page, go ahead and do a search for a local business, let’s say “San Diego Italian restaurant.” The listings with the red pushpin next to them are Google’s local results. To the right of these listings, you’ll see a star rating system followed by a link called “Place page.” Pick one and click on it.
You’ll see that the business owner has the opportunity to provide information about their business in a website-like format including the following:
• Categories your business falls under
• Store hours
• Payment information
• And any other additional details such as parking, dog-friendly, etc.
Notice too that when you get your search results page, some listings also have a cluster of external links leading to review sites.
This means that as a business owner, you have some work ahead of you. Reviews are automatically pulled into your page from other sites including Yelp!, CitySearch and Insiderpages.com for example. Unfortunately, you don’t have control over which reviews show. So as if I haven’t given you enough homework already, be sure to treat review sites as part of your Google Place page management. It’s your job as a business owner to encourage good reviews from satisfied customers and to manage negative reviews as well.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the additional work Google just gave you, keep in mind that they are making these changes to better the experience for the user. , The new Place pages makes it so that people searching for the most basic information about a company, can find it all in a one-stop click. It’s pulling together the best results for what that person is looking for and letting them see all the most relevant information, without ever having to leave the search results page and without ever going to your business’ website. And herein lies the problem for business owners, because between Place pages and the many aggregator and review sites, your website is getting lost.
Therefore, my biggest takeaway is that you must treat your Google Place page as another website. It needs your attention to be monitored and optimized.
If your place doesn’t have a Google Place page, you’ve already fallen behind. There’s only a slim chance you’re website will show up above these pages and, quite frankly, making your own Place page is the easiest SEO you can do for yourself.
Here’s how you get started
Claim your business:
Go to- http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter
Once there, simply enter your phone number and carry on from there. Keep in mind as you fill in the information that your goal is to succinctly describe your business using researched keywords where they fit naturally. If it looks spammy to you, Google won’t like it and nor will searchers. You also must earn the trust of the searcher – sell them with your great images, useful videos or honest description. Don’t try too hard, just be thorough. You can read more about the factors that affect your Place page ranking in David Mihm’s Location Search Ranking Factors Survey.
Lastly, remember that your Place page is something that must be managed, not simply completed. Just as I say with all SEO, you’re never done. It is important to monitor you Place page analytics (Google provides these to you, similar to how they do with your website’s analytics) and make changes accordingly so that the Place page can best benefit your business.