I wrote the other day about the useful ways you can use Google Places for link building, and today I am going to tell you why you should be in Google Places yourself. (Note, Google Places was previously known as Google Local Business)
First, before I start, I must admit that this might not be a relevant strategy for every business in the world. However, it is ultra useful for businesses which have a store front, serve certain locations, or even those which just have customers in a certain city. The reason Google Places is important is that for many terms, and not only location terms, they give you an alternative (or additional) way to appear on page 1.
Traditionally, you might optimise your Google Places page and hope to get into the local search results, like here for the term “Sydney Hairdressers”.
You can see here that no matter how hard your SEO works, you have to scroll down to see it, because the top of the page is dominated by Google Places posts and Google Adwords ads.
To get a high position for this term, you need to buy an ad, or have a Google Places page. The Google Places page is a good option, because similar to your normal website, you can optimise it, try and get it higher, and not have to pay for any clicks on it.
These kind of results will be very common for many local searches you try, but, you might be surprised to know that even if searchers don’t use a location in their query, they can get shown Google Places pages. See here, where we typed only ‘hairdresser’, and four entries down is the Google Places results section.
Imagine how much more likely it would be for someone to click on your link if you had a Google Ad, a Google Places Page and a normal natural result all on page 1!
To get into Google Places is so easy – just log in to Google, and then go to Google Places. It will let you add a business, as long as you have a phone number for it. Note that you will need a business phone number or address for Google to be able to verify your listing.
When completing your Google Places page, include as much information as possible, filling out all the fields you can, upload images, and try and use keywords where you can (but don’t make it ridiculous).
If you have multiple business locations, you can put all this information into a spreadsheet and upload it in one go. However, in this case, your verification method will need to be a bit different, and the instructions will be given to you when you upload.
This page 1 ‘real estate’ idea can be extended to other kinds of entries as well. Google also often runs News results, real time discussions, pictures or video’s on their page 1. So, if you have search terms or products which are relevant to those mediums, try optimising for those as well, to get even more page 1 real estate.