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YOU ARE HERE: Home > Marketing Tips > Google Maps / Places Optimization

Google Maps / Places Optimization

Optimize Your Listing to Attract Local Website Visitors

Optimize Google Places ListingGoogle Places (also called "Google Maps") is a great way to find local businesses and get driving directions to where you want to go. Google Maps is also a great way for your company to get new local business since millions of people search Google Maps every day! If you have a business that caters to local customers in your city, a free listing on Google Maps makes it easy for them to find you.

Whether you're a large company or a small "Mom and Pop Shop" start thinking locally because that’s where your customers are. If you're not promoting your business on Google Maps (and Yahoo! Local), now is the time. Google Maps will help you get high search engine visibility for competitive (and potentially lucrative) local city oriented keyword phrases like "San Francisco attorney", "pizza New York", or "Philadelphia cosmetic dentist."

When potential customers search Google for local information, they'll find your business: your address, hours of operation, contact information, even photos of your storefront and videos of your products or services. Google Maps will even give them a detailed map of your location and easy to follow directions to your office or storefront. They can also view satellite images with or without map data of your location and a "Street View" showing photos of your street and building. It's free, easy to set up and you don't even need a website to be listed. Google Maps is truly an amazing Internet tool.

Google Places Provides High Visibility in the Search Results

Google Maps results usually show up just below the Google AdWords PPC Ads and above the organic search results in this order…

  1. Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads
  2. Google Maps - Map and Business Listings (A, B, C… and so on)
  3. "Organic" Rankings - Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google Maps SERP

You can use Google AdWords PPC Advertising, Google Places and "Organic" Search Engine Optimization to get top placement on the Google search engine to generate more business. For example, we helped our client Dr. Cirka - a Philadelphia Dentist - get listed #1 for all three, Google AdWords, Google Maps and Google organic rankings. You can see his www.PhillyDentistry.com website listings in the image above.

Google Maps gets your website in the “Sweet Spot” of Search Engine Visibility as you can see from the Google Eye Tracking Test Results. This study shows that most viewers look at the top left of the monitor first when view a web page. This area is where Google Maps is displayed.

If your business gets listed prominently on Google Maps, you will usually appear before businesses competing to be #1 in the organic search results. This can bring you many new clients each and every month.

 

How to Get Listed in Google Places

Adding your listing to Google Places is very easy. Just follow these step by step instructions and your listing can be online within 48 hours.

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Step 1: Log in
To create your Google Places listing follow these easy directions:

Add Google Maps Listing

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Step 2: Create Your Listing

In this step you will enter your Company/Organization name, Street Address, City, State, ZIP, Phone, Email address, Website address and Description. To the right of your data, a preview window will display what your listing will look like. After you have entered your information, click "Next."

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Step 3: Add / Claim Your Listing

Add Google Maps Listing

In this step you will "Add" or "Claim" your listing. If Google already has a listing for your business, you will have the option claiming the current listing or adding the listing you just entered. Since this is a new client, I’ll click the "Add Listing" option. To claim the listing, click "Claim" and follow the instructions. Google will verify your listing by calling the phone number you entered. Answer the phone and type in the pin number listed on the screen.

NOTE:
You can also verify your listing by having Google send a postcard with your pin number to your office. Follow the verification instructions on the postcard. It’s not junk mail, be sure not to throw it away!

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Step 4: Add Some "Flair" to Your Listing

Add Flair to Your Google Maps Listing

Once your listing has been verified, you will be able to provide additional information. Be sure to add the Category of your business (dentist, attorney, etc.), your Hours of Operation, Payment options, additional Details (such as parking instructions, etc.)

Add some "flair" to your listing! Google Maps will allow you to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos. You can also add coupons.

NOTE:
Once you tie the listing to your Google account, you can log into the Google Business Center any time to edit your listing and add photos or videos.

Results:

The result of a well-optimized Google Maps listing is top positioning on Google and the Google Maps system with a personalized listing including your business name, address and contact information.

Google Maps Listing

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Step 5: Optimize Your Google Places Listing to Get to the Top of the List

To populate Google Maps search results, Google gathers business information from numerous websites (Internet Yellow Pages [IYP] directories, and other sources). Yes, you can easily enter your business information into the Google Local Business Center for free, but to get listed at the top of the list you'll need to optimize. This is similar to Search Engine Optimization in that you’ll need to get your website listed on other local websites and databases to rank high.

Here is the hierarchy of optimization techniques listed by importance:

  1. Completeness of information in your listing
  2. Keywords included in your company name (don't SPAM)
  3. Website Optimization - use City and State keywords in your Titles and Meta Tags, add your address to your web pages, etc.
  4. Category w/ Search Terms (cosmetic dentist, personal injury attorney)
  5. Proximity to center of city - Think Locally - Having a business location in the CENTER of town helps you get to the top of the list. The closer your office is to the center of your city, the higher your listing is usually positioned on the Google Maps list. For example, if you view any Google Maps list, the first three listings returned (A,B & C) are located in the center of the city. The businesses listed further down the list migrate out from the center of town.
  6. "Flair" - photos, videos, coupons, payment methods, parking instructions
  7. Listings in directories that include local address info (SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, CitySearch.com, etc.)
  8. Number of In-Bound Links (IBLs) from local city websites and directories
  9. Total number of reviews
  10. High ratings in your Google reviews (More stars can mean higher positioning)

Do Not SPAM! - Google can and does delete listings of businesses that "SPAM" their system by submitting inaccurate information. Google Maps now has Local Business Center Guidelines to let you know what is allowed and what is NOT allowed in your Google Maps listing. Google’s new guidelines include the following:

  • Represent your business exactly as it appears in real life.
  • List information that provides as direct a path to your business as you can.
  • Only include listings for businesses that you represent.
  • Don't participate in any behavior with the intention or result of listing your business more times than it exists. Service area businesses, for example, should not create a listing for every town they service.
  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business's title or address fields.

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Step 6: PROMOTE Your Listing to Get to the Top of the List

Buy a Google Tag!

Google Maps has a "Tags" advertising system that allows you to get higher visibility and more clicks via the use of a highly visible Yellow Tag that you can use to enhance your listing. Google Tags will not move you higher up on the list, but it will get you more visibility and clicks to your website. To learn more about Google Maps Tags, watch Google's video on YouTube: "What are Google Tags?"

Use Google Tags to enhance your Google Maps listing and get more clicks!

Get listed in other local directories!

Yes, you can easily enter your business information into the Google Local Business Center for free, but to get listed at the top of the list you'll need to PROMOTE your listing (and website) . This is similar to Search Engine Optimization in that you’ll need to get your website listed on other local websites and databases to get positioned high.

Why?

Because Google Maps populates its local search results by gathering business information from numerous OTHER websites (Internet Yellow Pages directories, and other sources). Google Maps compiles and displays their Local/Maps results by gathering details about local businesses by crawling and parsing data from other online websites, directories and databases.

For example, Google Maps is partnered with Verizon and Yahoo! Local is partnered with AT&T. Therefore, having listings with the local online "Yellow Pages" can (and usually does) cause your listing to be placed higher on the list giving you more exposure and website traffic. So, get your website listed in the LOCAL"Internet Yellow Pages" and LOCAL reviews directories like…

The Top Reviews Sites for Google Places:


Yelp.com
- http://www.yelp.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to Yelp


CitySearch.com
- http://www.citysearch.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]

Submit your website to CitySearch


InsiderPages.com
- http://www.insiderpages.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to InsiderPages


Yahoo! Local
- http://local.yahoo.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to Yahoo! Local


Angie's List
- http://www.angieslist.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to Angie's List


JudysBook
- http://www.judysbook.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to JudysBook

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Other Recommended Internet Yellow Pages Sites:

AllPages.com - http://www.allpages.com/
Submit your website to AllPages.com

Best of the Web - Local - http://local.botw.org/
Submit your website to BOTW Local

CityVoter - http://cityvoter.com/
Submit your website to CityVoter - NOTE: Select your city, then submit.

DexKnows - http://www.dexknows.com/
Submit your website to DexKnows

Local.com - http://www.local.com/
Submit your website to Local.com

Kudzu - http://www.kudzu.com/
Submit your website to Kudzu

MagicYellow.com - http://www.magicyellow.com/
Submit your website to MagicYellow

MerchantCircle.com - http://www.merchantcircle.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to MerchantCircle

SuperPages.com (idearc) - http://www.superpages.com/
Submit your website to SuperPages

YellowBot - http://www.yellowbot.com/
[Includes Reviews of Local Businesses]
Submit your website to YellowBot

YellowPages.com (AT&T) - http://www.yellowpages.com/
[at&t]
Submit your website to YellowPages

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Data Suppliers to Local Search Engines:

ibegin.com - http://www.ibegin.com/
Submit your website to iBegin

ExpressUpdate.com - http://www.expressupdateusa.com/
[Formerly InfoUSA]
Submit your website to ExpressUpdate.com

Localeze.com - http://www.localeze.com/
Submit your website to Localeze.com

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By Industry:

UrbanSpoon - http://www.urbanspoon.com/
[For Restaurants]
Submit your website to UrbanSpoon

DealerRater - http://www.dealerrater.com/
[For Auto Dealers]
Submit your website to DealerRater

TripAdvisor - http://www.tripadvisor.com/
[For Travel sites, Restaurants, etc.]
Submit your website to TripAdvisor NOTE: Click "Register Now!" on top of site

Edmunds - http://www.edmonds.com/
[For Auto Dealers]
Submit your website to Edmunds

Zagats.com - http://www.zagat.com/
[For Restaurants]
Submit your website to Zagat

OpenTable - http://www.opentable.com/
[For Restaurants]
Submit your website to OpenTable

MenuPages - http://www.menupages.com/
[For Restaurants]
Submit your website to MenuPages

Vitals.com - http://www.vitals.com/
[For Doctors]
Submit your website to Vitals

10Best.com
http://www.10best.com/

Allmenus.com
[For Restaurants]
http://www.allmenus.com/

ChefMoz.com
[For Restaurants]
http://www.chefmoz.org

DiningGuide.com
[For Restaurants]
http://diningguide.com/

Etc.

Competitive research can help you determine which local databases are helping your competitors get higher listings than you on Google Maps (or Yahoo! Local).

Identify your TOP 3-10 local competitors who consistently get top positioning. Do a search on Google to find which competitors are consistently displayed on Google Maps for your keywords. Conduct research on the top 3-10 who are listed at the TOP. For example, if you're a dentist in Plano, Texas search Google using the keyword "Plano Dentist" and you'll see your competitor's listings. Then click their links to learn more about what your competition is doing:

Google Maps Results

NOTICE:

Don't click the website links because that will just take you to your competitor's websites. Click the "More" and "Review" links to view their Google Maps listings. For this example I'm going to click on www.theplanodentist.com's "More" link and view their Google Maps listing:

The Plano Dentist Listing

Scroll down to "More About This Place" section. Click on "More" to see full list:

The Plano Dentist List

View your competitor's listings for potential listings and link opportunities for your website and Google Maps listing:

Google Maps listings and link opportunities!

Every website on this list is a potental listing for your website that can get your Google Maps listing to the top! I would suggest getting listed with the big "Authority Websites" first in this order:

  1. www.yellowbot.com/plano-dentist-plano-tx.html
  2. dallas.citysearch.com
  3. angieslist.com
  4. dallas.kudzu.com
  5. Etc.

Now do this Google Maps research on more of your competitors. I suggest researching at least 3 competitors and getting listed where they are listed to get you higher on Google Maps.

After that you can also check Yahoo! to find other places where your competitors are gettings links and listings. To view a list of your competitor’s in-bound links, use the "Link Query" on Yahoo!

  • Go to www.Yahoo.com
  • Type "link:http://www.YourCompetitor.com" (without the quotes) into the search box [http://www.YourCompetitor.com should be your actual competitor’s website name.]
  • Click "Web Search" and you’ll be presented with a list of websites and directories that link to your competitor’s website. Look for local-oriented directories and Yellow Page directories and consider getting listed in them as well.

CONCLUSION:

Google Maps is a great way to make it easy for your customers to find you so you can build your business. If you have a business that caters to local customers in your city or town, add your free listing on Google Maps and optimize it for TOP positioning!

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Now add your listings to Yahoo! Local and Bing Local!

Just like Google's local business listings offer excellent exposure to local shoppers, so does the Yahoo! and Bing local search systems. Both are another way to get your website and business found by consumers looking for products and services relative to a particular city, e.g., your city.

While there are certain submission procedures for getting listed and getting your site into the local search database, it is optimization that determines whether your site will climb to first spot. Here are my recommendations for getting top positioning in Yahoo! and Bing Local:


Yahoo! Local Listings

http://local.yahoo.com/

STEP 1:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  • Click the "Advertise With Us" link.
  • Sign up for "Enhanced Listing" for $9.95/month.
  • Submit your business listing. Be sure to use the same techniques used for submitting your Google Maps listing. For example, pick the correct category for your business (Dentist, Attorney, Flowers, Restaurant, etc.), add keywords that match the products/services you offer (teeth whitening, etc.)

Yahoo! Local's "Enhanced Listing" is keyword optimization dependant, meaning that if your listing information and website are optimized properly and you have keyword-optimized in-bound links pointing to your website (see SEO) then you may rank high on Yahoo! Local by just using the "Enhanced Listing" for just $9.95 per month! Not a bad deal!

STEP 2:

If you want even higher exposure than your "Enhanced Listing" is offering you, then consider buying a "Featured Listing" which is their best listing option with 6 Top Listings available. Price varies between $20-300/month depending how how big your city is/how much competition there is.


BING Local

http://www.bing.com/local/default.aspx

STEP 1:

Add your business listing in the Local Listing Center.
https://ssl.search.live.com/listings/default.aspx

STEP 2:

For even higher exposure a dvertise in the sponsored section with YellowPages.com.
http://listings.yellowpages.com/documents/special_offers/jump-msn.asp?from=maps_localsearch_com

Click here to see YellowPages.com advertising options and rates


Need help with Google Places Optimization?

Call 541-280-3363 or Sign Up For Your Free Consultation. Learn how you can get more results from your current marketing budget. Optimize your web site to and increase your leads, sales, referrals, and profits. Click Here For More Info

For more information about Interactive Marketing and the web site traffic building and conversion rate optimization services we offer, call us at 541.280.3363 or fill out our form for a FREE consultation.


Interactive Marketing
19565 Buck Canyon Road Bend, Oregon 97702
Tel: 541.280.3363

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