Google Places is free, simple to optimize and can lead to huge results. Less than two percent of people that use Google ever click on the second page of returns. For local businesses, when someone searches for your products or services, you want to ensure your business ranks on the first page.
The first step is making sure you have either created a Google Places page or claimed your Google Places page. Before you create a page, enter your city and state, the word Places and your business name in the Google search box with quotes around your business name. It should look like this example: "Touchstone group" Chicago IL Places
This step is important because you should only have one Google Places listing per business location. Having two listings will be detrimental to your rankings.
Here are the six simple steps you can take to optimize your Google Places page:
- Add photos: To go one-step further, take the photos with a GPS-enabled camera, load them onto a website like Picasa and use that image URL to add the picture. Remember to create a keyword-rich name for the photo. An example would be “Our real-estate office here in Chicago IL”
- Include your business categories: This helps Google know exactly what your business is about.
- Include your URL: The information on your website’s homepage should match the description and categories that you have on your Google Places page.
- Add a YouTube video: This doesn't have to be a studio-quality video.
- Create a description: This should be simple and sound like something a normal person would say, not an SEO expert.
- Get reviews: You should never have reviews written from the same computer or create fake reviews. Invite past clients and current clients to leave you a review on your Google Places page. Once you have five or more reviews, the little stars will start to appear in Google’s search returns.
Follow these simple steps and you will be on the right path to getting your business ranked higher in Google’s local search.
Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.