If you want your website to appear on page 1 of Google’s search result, Virtualnet highly recommends Clients to sign up to Google Places (formerly Google Local Business Centre) to appear for localised phrase searching i.e. Hotel Tunbridge Wells, Solicitor in London etc.
What is Google Places and how does it work:
Google Places was created to help make local search results more relevant and enable businesses to create free Google business directory listings. The advantage of this is that your business listing will appear when a user searches for a type of business followed by the location where they are searching. Websites that are listed in Google Places can appear at the top of search results next to a Google local map. This depends on the search query and the listing that Google has. These business listings are becoming more important, as they are being displayed more often in searches, with up to ten listings before the organic results start. These listings are embedded into Google search, maps and Google earth, so when a user searches for businesses in your area, your listing appears with your address and your location on the map. The following information can be included in your account:
- Your Business Address
- Business/Shop Hours
- Methods of payments accepted
- A link to your website (s)
- Photos & videos of your business
When your business is added to Google Places (once it has been validated by Google, by phone, text message or postcard), customers with a Google account can then write reviews about your company. This provides your listing with a rating from 1 to 5 stars. Having a good rating enables users to search for businesses within a particular area with a certain rating.
How to sign up:
To sign up to Google Places you will need to do the following:
- Create a Google account if you have not already done so, (its free) by clicking on the following link: https://www.google.com/local/add/ and following the steps. Your Google account login can be used across many products
- Go to Google Places http://www.google.co.uk/places and login to your account and enter the details of your business (Address, business hours, methods of payments accepted, link to your website, photos and videos etc).
- Google locates you on the map from your address information.
- Google contacts you either, via phone, text message or postcard, and activates your business listing.
- Google maps can also be added to your site, for instance on your Contacts Page or How to find us Page.
The above information gets you listed on Google Places, but in order to improve your listings position on Google searches, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the following advice:
How to get a higher position in Google for localised searching?
Researching the Internet, speaking with Google direct in Ireland and reviewing forums on the subject, we have found that in order to influence your position with Google Local Business Centre for search results, you will need to do the following:
- Encourage customers to write more reviews. Remember, those writing reviews will need a Google Account to do so, or access to a website which encourages reviews that has an account with Google.
- Where possible, add more photos to your account and if possible videos, (all help to increase the companies visibility and ranking).
- In your account with Google Local Business Centre, ensure where possible to include location Keywords in Local Business Listing These are the keywords which are shown on your Local Business advert
- Also the Location Keywords should be included in your Local Business Listing Description, i.e. ‘the full postal address’ this is the Description which is shown on your Local Business advert.
How to get high up in Google Listings – What can Virtualnet or your Web Developer do?
On reviewing online resources regarding Google Places, we can action the following:
- Include the Location of your Business in the Meta Title Tags of predominately the Contact and Home Page.
- Input the address & Phone number of your business within the HTML code on the Contact and Home Pages of your website. Hiding the HTML in the code may help also.
- By appearing on Google Earth, this can influence your positions on Google Local Business also. Uploading a KML file (Keyhole Mark-up Language) to Google Earth (based around XML code) allows Google to associate your business to everything Google orientated (Maps, Earth, Maps for mobile). This file displays geographic data for your business. In order for this to work you need Google Earth Pro, however Virtualnet will provide this. We can go ahead and do this for you and also pay the fee etc.
- Having a technical site map compliant with Google’s Tools can also influence positions in Google’s Local Business. We can upload a Geositemap file using KML or GeoRSS feeds to your website, we already use Google Tools and have an account with Google for this purpose. The advantage of this is – It’s easier for Google to index your Business listing (via the map).