What is Google Places?
Google Places is a local business offering provided by Google for businesses to create a profile that has the potential to appear in the Google Maps section of Google. Google Maps is used for directions and can be found at the top of your browser when using google.com. Google Places listings are found in search results in Google when a person searches for something that Google deems to be a ‘local search’.
A local search is normally a search for something that a person is looking for in their local area. Most often, it’s for a service such as “dry cleaning” or “thai restaurant”. If you search for “thai restaurant los angeles”, the chances of Google displaying a list of Google Places at the top of search results is very high. The Google Places listing will display the business name, address, phone number, number of customer reviews as well as a link to the Google Places profile page.
If a person searches for “thai restaurant” without specifying a city, Google will most likely determine your location by your computer IP address and display thai restaraunts local to your area. Google Places is essentially a local business directory with directions, contact information and reviews. Google Places directly competes with Yelp, Citysearch and Yellow Pages.
What does the Google Places Profile display?
If a person clicks on the Google Places profile link on the first page of Google, they will be sent to the Google Places profile for that particular business. The profile page looks like this:
Information listed on a Google Places profile:
- Business name
- Business address
- Business contact email
- Business telephone number
- Images (can be uploaded by anyone)
- Promotional call outs (coupons, specials, news, etc)
- Business description (provided by owner of business)
- Videos (provided by owner of business)
- Reviews (reviews left on Google places)
- Map of Business location
- Related Places (Google displays listings of other businesses in the same area for the same search criteria)
Are there other Local Search Directories?
Yes, there are hundreds. Many businesses waste hundreds of hours creating profiles and asking customers to post reviews on local search directories that get no visitor traffic. It’s a waste of resources and a costly use of time. There are roughly 65 local search directories on which we recommend building a profile. Roughly 10 of those directories should get lasting attention. The other 50-60 serve as ‘citations’ for Google Places. Google places gathers ‘citations’ from around the internet to determine how important a local business is. The main source of citations are local business directories. So, it’s important to build these directory profiles, but the lasting effort and time must be put into the top 10 local directories.
Some of the top 10 most important local search directories include: Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Citysearch, Yellow Page and Thumbtack.
Why Google Places?
Why is Google Places important? More than 85% of people search for local businesses online and if your business isn’t visible in Google Places you are losing business to your competitors. Google is on a mission to create the largest social search network in the world. They have directly attacked Facebook with the launch of Google + and have integrated Google Places into this strategy.
Google captures the highest number of visitors, which equates to the highest number of sales for your business. Until another directory steals this market share, Google Places must be a top priority for every small business. If you wait, you will be left behind and Google Places only displays 1 to 10 business listings on page 1 of Google.
How to Rank on page 1 in Google Places
Setting up a Google Places profile with the proper elements is critical to success. However, that alone won’t get your business ranking in Google Places. There are important factors that must be addressed in order to rank in Google Places. Some these include: reviews, citations, local tags on website, links, mentions and social buzz.
Google Places Package
- Google Places Profile Creation
- Optimization of Profile
- Verification of Profile
- Citation building for Places listing
- Website optimization for Google Places
- Keyword link building
- Social bookmarking
- Guidance and Strategy for reviews
- Video creation
- Video optimization and distribution