Here are some numbers that indicate the lack of competition for Google places keywords. If you search for the keywords " Seattle real estate agent", Google's universal search results indicate around 77.4 million searches. However, local business search results indicate 10,038 results. In addition to that, information from Google Places Stats and Facts indicate that for every 5 Google searches, 1 search was indented to yield local results. As a business owner, this is something you cannot ignore.
With Google Places, Everything That Matters Isn't On the Listing Page.
You want to fill all those spaces in and get yourself a 100% score. But after all you might find from dozens of great resources on how to fill out the form, you may be shocked to see that you're still not on the front MAP. Google created and owns Google Places. You may be thinking I deserve the prize for being obvious at this point. But Google ownership is a critical peace in the puzzle that is Places. Google has the most sophisticated algorithms on the planet. Call them robots or spiders or whatever name you wish, Google has the ability to check out your company's creditability like no one else can. And they do. This ability and their dogged determination to make sure the person executing a search gets correct and valid information combine to make the next part of your success on Google Places potentially the most critical of all.
1. You must be consistent - Your company name, address, most important keywords relating to your category, and local phone number need to be the same EVERYWHERE. Every page of your website should have a textual version of your company name, address, and local phone number. As a marketer, I will tell you the phone number should be prominent. For Google Places purposes, this information can be contained and information block at the bottom of the page if you prefer.
Then this same information should be found on your blog, directory listings, other local search engines, Facebook, and so on. If you move or change your phone number, all of these listings need to be changed and updated. The more places that Google Places can find confirmation of your basic information, the better chance you have of moving up in the placement on the maps.
2. The prominence of your web site matters...a lot. All of the elements that help your website rise to the first page of search are going to help your Google Places ranking improve. If Google sees that your website has tons of information, has keywords that match the categories on your Places listing, has links from other reputable online sources, and gets a lot of visitors, those elements will count towards credibility on Google Places.
3. No black hat spam anywhere. If you have been talked into some nefarious black hat practices and you get caught, you can easily find your Google Places listing MIA. If your gut is telling you that the practice you are engaged in or someone wants to sell you doesn't sound fair. It probably isn't. You might even get a benefit for a while, then wake up one morning and you are banished.
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