Google Places Optimization is the new Search Engine Optimization! You have probably noticed Google’s search results focus on local businesses much more then years past. Google has recently incorporated automatic location detection. If you live in San Diego, California and search for “divorce attorney”, Google will automatically recognize your location and will display Google Places listings of divorce attorneys in or near San Diego. Google’s algorithm now detects location and determines if the query warrants local business listings or national “regular” results.
This localized shift has changed the dynamics of search engine optimization and has leveled the playing field for small businesses. Location becomes the dominating factoring in rankings. So do local businesses need SEO if the dynamics have changed and the playing field is level? Absolutely. In fact, I believe the shift in search results to local listings has increased the need for optimization – Google Places Optimization (GPO). Prior to local Google places listings it would have been difficult for any small businesses to compete with a national website targeting the same set of keywords. Now local businesses only need to compete with other small local business targeting the same set of terms. This shift to local results has made it easier and even more necessary to take action to get your small business ranking near the top of local listings.
Here is a few things you can do to optimize your Google Places.
– Fill in every single field in your Google Places account
– Make sure your website clearly displays your business address and phone number in readable text. (Preferably in the Header & Footer)
– List your business on other local business sites like Yelp and SuperPages
– Make sure all your listings are up to date and have matching addresses and phone numbers
– Find and list your business on local business directories that are relevant to your industry
Now that Google has made it easier for searchers to find your small local business, go out and optimize your Google Places!