4 Ways to Rise to the Top in Google Places and Google Maps

Smart phones have changed everything when it comes to local Internet search. Between the iPhone and Google Android based smart phones alone, companies are reporting upwards of a half million account activations daily! While somewhere between 15% and 20% of all searches Buy Google Reviews on the web are done from smart phones these days, nearly 75% of ALL searches online no matter the device have to do with searching for local information. Let us not forget that nearly two thirds of all Americans search for local businesses online. It is time to get your Google Places page whipped into shape!

Google Places is a force to be reckoned with for certain. Not too long ago, Google changed the format of its search results page to include maps and local listings. This means that even if your actual website is not ranking on page one, yet, you can still get your Google Places page a front row seat in the meantime. Additionally, once you do get your website ranking on the first page, now you have two mentions on Google’s page one of your business instead of just one.

Please note that because of the recent enhancements Google has made to the search results page, local listings have become very competitive. Once upon a time, one could simply create a business listing on Google and get noticed. Things are a bit different going into 2011, and you can bet they will continue to evolve. For now, here are four action items you can do to make it way more likely you show up in the top 7 local search results Google displays on the first page:

1. Include product or service keywords in your listing description.

It is smart to casually mention one or two cities or towns you service and sell to, but DO NOT over do this and do not throw city names into strange fields elsewhere on your page; this can be more damaging than helpful. It is good general practice to not over use key words anyway. Most importantly, make sure your description is written for people to read, not search engines.

2. Make sure your Google Places profile is 100% complete.

When you are creating or editing your listing, you will notice in the right margin a percentage score of how complete your profile is. This must be 100% if you want Google Places to work for you at all. There are more than 20 different elements you can fill in and they all need to be complete. Having a 100% score can mean the difference between showing up on the front page of Google Places (or in the first 7 Google Places results on the regular Google search results page).

3. Get a handful of client reviews on your Google Places page.

This can be the tiebreaker that makes the difference between being seen and not being seen. This is especially true in more competitive local markets. If all of your competition is sporting a 100% completion score on their profile page, what do you suppose both Google and prospective customers browsing the web will look for next? The review portion of your Google Places profile is mostly influenced by people outside your immediate control, and is therefore a variable Google is most likely to use to break ties in the case of ranking one listing above another. Across the board, you are doing really well if you 10 legitimate customer reviews working for you. Most Google Places profiles don’t get near 10 reviews.

4. Get listed and claim your profile in all of the top local directory services.

This does sound a little backwards as we are talking specifically about Google Places here, but Google is a search engine company looking to continually validate its existence by providing the freshest most accurate data possible. This means that they are constantly looking at thousands of third party sources to ensure the data it has is correct. If you are not listed anywhere else, it may effect your ability to show up on the first page at all. To start you may want to consider the following: Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Best of the Web, HotFrog, and Foursquare. The same rules go for any of these listing services. Make the profiles as complete as absolutely possible!

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