How to Optimise for Google Places (Google Maps)
Creating a business listing within Google Maps is something which is very basic to set up, and if optimised correctly, can be a very useful tool for SEO, the reasons for which are demonstrated in this article. Google Maps listings are the results which appear besides the business address showing on Google’s results pages, as demonstrated below.
These results appeared as a result of typing in ‘hair extensions in Dartford’. They are ranked according to a whole host of different factors. A sample of these factors can be found detailed below.
- A Complete Google Places Listing
Go onto Google’s search engine and type in ‘places’. Click on the ‘Places for Business’ page. Once you have signed in with your Google log in details you are ready to get started. Ensure when creating your profile that you fill in all the available information possible, including the main business address, business phone number and opening times. It also gives you the option to fill in payment method and add a photo. The more you fill in, the more information Google users can then gain from your page, so Google will in turn place your page higher in the search results.
- Optimised Information
Make sure you use relevant keywords in the description of your business section as well as the ‘services you offer’ section of your listing. However, avoid stuffing it full of unnecessary keywords, as this could result in your listing being removed from Google Places altogether.
If you have multiple phone numbers for various offices, or maybe a premium rate number, try and use the geographic number associated with the address of your business. The local area code in the phone number resonates with Google, and therefore helps to successfully identify your business as being legitimately where you said it was.
Something small to keep in mind when creating this profile, is that the closer your business is to the town centre the more prominence it has within the listings Google generates. If someone is searching for a service in a specific location, the closer a business is to that location, the more relevant your listing will be to what the user is searching for (Fig 2).
Google Places is specifically for local businesses. So allowing customers to know the area you serve is beneficial not only for them, but for reducing the amount of inbound enquiries which may not be relevant to you at all.
- Ratings and Reviews
Allowing customers and users to rate and comment on your services indicates to Google that you are a reputable company. Try to think about ratings from a customer’s point of view; if you cannot rate someone or you were to see negative reviews then you are less likely to use the services of that company, however if you see great ratings and reviews you are likely to be encouraged to use that business and their services. Hence, Google can see that you are willing to submit to scrutiny, and will rank you more highly for that, especially if your ratings and reviews are good. It is both the quality and quantity of these reviews that Google takes into account when measuring the ratings.
On a side note, don’t try to write your own reviews or rate your own company. Google will nearly always detect this, you will be removed from Google Places and your profile could be deleted, definitely not worth the risk.
Google Maps is a significant tool for marketing your business, so set up a Google Places listing, be sure to use as much detail and visual imagery as possible, and watch what it could do for your business.