This is a very how long is a piece of string type of question, but a question that is:
a) Very important to any business that has a location
b) Very important for SEO agencies to understand
c) Generally very interesting
Similar to traditional SEO, a number of factors come into play. Some factors more important than others, so unless you are experienced in the field it is best to test 1 method, see if the results helped, try another method see if that helped and so on.
This type of testing is extremely important because if the Place page’s rankings decrease, you will be able to pinpoint the reasoning behind it and either modify or simply remove the change responsible.
What are the factors to consider?
One of the most important factors that have been carried over from the original Google Maps listings is to make sure that all the listings in directories are correct, and point to the same place. This includes:
• Phone number
• Street address
• Opening hours
If these items are non-existent, or don’t correlate, it can be seen that you are straight up lying to Google – never a good idea…
One of the most important factors in SEO, make sure that the most important keyword is first in conjunction with the location. E.g.: Best Shoes Sydney | Shoe warehouse
That is if you are looking to rank for the term Best Shoes Sydney. Although not essential to place a location keyword in the title tag, it is highly recommended if Google Places Optimisation is important to the business.
Maximise the use of directories with the same information
Although not all directories include links, it is important that Google knows that the website is listed on external websites. These may be places like hotfrog, truelocal, startlocal, yellowpages – and the list goes on. Some of these directories are paid, some are free. It is best to quickly jump on the free directories, create a listing with exactly the same information as Google has (refer to point number 1) to ensure you are not contradicting either directory or lying to Google.
Claim the listing
I have seen this tonnes of times, a listing that hasn’t been claimed – what a shame. Simply by claiming and verifying a listing, amazing things can happen! If users are viewing the incorrect information in the Google Places listing and call the wrong number, do you think they will ever call again? What is this doing to your brand? It is quite simple to claim a listing, and just as easy to verify the listing.
Link, links and more links
If you want to tell Google that the site is location based, this is a great way to do it! With a link “Best Shoes Sydney” do you ever think you will rank for Perth? Linking strategies are still very effective in regular SEO and they are now very important for Google Places. Linking from relevant location based websites is much much more effective than a website that is overseas and is a different topic all together.
Pauls Warehouse George Street Sydney -> link -> Best Shoes Sydney – GREAT!!
Californian Kebabs -> link -> Best Shoes Sydney – Not so great …
Rate the business
Something I have seen very rarely is users rating businesses. This is simple yet effective. If a user has a good experience with the shoe store, then by encouraging them to rate the business, a 5% off the next purchase is always nice. Just ensure that these rating are done on unique IP address – if not this can be seen as cheating…. If you are able to get users to plug a few keywords in the rating it is also very beneficial:
“The service at Shoe Warehouse was fantastic, great prices, very convenient location if you are looking to buy the best shoes in Sydney!”
Complete the listing!
Create photos of the business, finalise the payment details, create categories and generally complete all the fields in the listing. This tells Google that you are proactively finding and updating information.
Once you have completed all the above tasks, keep building links and make sure customers keep leaving good reviews. Now … Sit back and watch the traffic roll in!