Google Places can bring a lot of traffic to local businesses as well as lend credibility to an establishment. It can help you get people from Google Maps to your establishment, as well as help you rank highly in organic results for local searches.
Here’s how to get a high ranking in Google Places.
==> PageRank and Backlinks Matter
One factor that still plays a strong role in Google Places rankings are your backlinks. In standard SEO, backlinks are the backbone of any SEO campaign. In Google Places optimization, backlinks play a lesser role, but are still critically important.
According to SEOMoz’s Google Places reverse engineering study, PageRank has a very measurable impact on how well you rank.
In addition to getting links back to your site, you should also focus on getting links from local sites. For example, if you own a pizza shop in Chicago, try to get as many links as possible from other Chicago businesses and websites.
==> Work on Your Citations
Your citations are other web sources that cite your business.
These include websites like the Yellow Pages, Superpages, Yahoo!, Yelp, Citysearch and more.
These websites will list your address, phone number and possibly your web address as well.
Google uses these citations to verify that you are who you say you are. They want to make sure your business actually exists before putting it live on Google Places.
The number and quality of your citations affects your rankings. If any of your citations are inaccurate, make sure you contact the website to change them. If you’re not listed on any major offline business directory, make sure you submit your business.
==> Get Reviews
Reviews play another big role in ranking. The more reviews you have and the better the reviews, the higher your rankings.
Try to get as many people to review your business as possible. You can ask personal friends, family members and employees to leave honest reviews. You can also incentivize customers to do reviews.
Do whatever you can to get as many reviews as possible. However, never fake a review and never review your own business.
==> Listing Tips
There are a few important things to pay attention to in your listing.
First, categories are extremely important. They help Google figure out exactly what kind of business you run, because keywords aren’t always a good gauge when it comes to business names.
Make sure you’re in the right category. Do a search for your business type, see what category your competitors are using and do the same.
Make sure you verify your ownership of the business. Doing so will also give you a measurable bump.
Finally, make sure you fill out the information as accurately and completely as possible. Use your real phone number and not a call tracking number. Use your main website and not a website designed specifically for Google Pages.