Some days ago, Google released Places Search. Websites that are listed in Google Places (formerly Google Local/Google Maps) are now listed as the top search results for local searches:
If you offer your products or services in a particular area, it is very important that your website is listed in Google Places.
How to optimize your Google Places listing
How your website is listed in Google Places depends on several things. For example, bakeries in Los Angeles are listed differently than Honda dealers in Knoxville. The location of your business, the industry that you're in and the keywords that you are targeting and other things influence your listing in Google Places.
Ranking element 1: your address
If you want to get high rankings for keywords that are related to a particular city then your business should be located in that city. If you want to be found for local searches in London then your business must have a physical address in London.
Ranking element 2: your business category
You must make sure that your business is listed in the correct category in Google Places. If you sell cars then your website should not be listed in the real estate category. You can specify the correct category when you submit your website to Google Places (see below).
Ranking element 3: keywords in your business name
If your business name contains the keywords for which you want to be found then you increase your chance of getting listed in the Google Places results on Google's first result page. If you have a restaurant, it will help your rankings for the keyword "restaurant" if your business name is "Peter's Restaurant".
Ranking element 4: citations of your business
Citations (also called "web references") are mentions of your business name and address on other web pages, even if these web pages do not link to your website.
For example, a yellow pages directory or the local chamber of commerce might list your business without linking to your website. The more citations your business has, the more likely it is that it will be listed for local searches. Citations have a similar effect on local searches as backlinks have on regular website listings.
Try to get your website address listed on as many websites as possible to show Google that your business is real.
Ranking element 5: you should have positive reviews
Google Places is basically a recommendation search engine. It recommends local restaurants, plumbers, hotels, etc. in the search results. If the recommended businesses offer poor products and poor services then people wouldn't continue to use Google Places.
Positive reviews and ratings help Google to gain more confidence in your company. The more positive reviews your company has, the better. Encourage your customers to write a positive review if they are satisfied with your products and services.
Ranking element 6: proximity to the searched location
If your business is located near to the searched location then it is more likely that it will be displayed in the search results. If you have a hotel near the Museum of Modern Art then it's likely that Google will show your Google Places listing for search terms such as "hotels near moma".
You can submit your website to Google Places with IBP's semi automatic submitter: IBP > Submission > Semi-automatic > Directories > Local Search > Google Places
To make sure that your website gets found for as many relevant keywords as possible, optimize your pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer. The Top 10 Optimizer helps you to get your website on the first result page of Google, Bing and other search engines.
9 November 2010
Article by Axandra SEO software