UPDATE: most of the tips in this blog post are now obsolete because of Google Places migration to Google+ Local. We have written an updated blog post with relevant optimisation tips titled: Google+ Local: 7 Vital Things To Know For Optimisation
So you are probably quite happy with yourself – you have taken the time to list your business (and it’s branches if you have branches) on Google Places. You have probably asked a number of your clients to kindly write reviews about your business on your Google Places page. You buy yourself a pint or a glass of wine (whichever is your preferred poison) for a job well done. Well…wait…you are not quite there yet! With the horrendous amount of competition on Local Search, Here are 10 Ways to take your Google Places page to the next level that’ll make your listings stand out from all your competitors and drive more clicks through to your website:
1. Add More than 10 Business Images
Google Places allows users to upload ten pictures onto the individual Places page. Now here is a trick most people are not aware of – Google pays attention to information listed on third-party websites. For example, if third-party sites such as Thumbtack, InsiderPages and CitySearch have photographs of a particular business, Google may take the pictures off the third-party sites and add them to the specific Places page. This is in addition to the 10 pictures that have already been loaded. So get going and start uploading pictures on as many sites as possible. A very useful tip is to make use of GeoSetter to tag the pictures; what it does is set the latitude and longitude of the business as well as meta tags and keywords. All of which is very handy in getting the top slot on the search engine listings.
2. Get at least 5 Google reviews from your Customers for Star Ratings
Average customer review star ratings only show up on your sites listings on Google search results and places page when you have 5 or more reviews. So do not stop on 1, 2, 3 OR 4 reviews…make it 5 or more!
3. Add Monthly Posts to Your Places Page
Your Google Places page has to be attractive enough to draw visitors to view it. Adding posts that link to interesting pictures, special offers, discount vouchers, informative newsletters and other stuff can make the page highly attractive. Posts can be a useful tool for a business to attract potential customers when information that stands out from the competition is added – they last for 30 days.
4. Repsond Customer Reviews Written on Your Places Page
Good or Bad…Endeavour to respond to every customer review posted to your Places page. Thank nice reviews and attempt to resolve issues raised in negative reviews using these tips. It is also a great way to fill out your reviews section and would most importantly look good in the eyes of potential clients. In positive review responses, remember to not only thank your customer but add how you helped them.
5. Get “Best Ever” Reviews
If you have an extremely satisfied customer that would be more than delighted to write you a sparkling review, why not as your customer to leave you a “Best Ever” review? ”Best Ever” reviews are special automatic 5 Star rating reviews that includes a badge that is displayed on your Places listings. As your most satisfied customers to go to places.google.com/rate and then search for your business
6. Get as Many Customer Reviews as You Can from 3 or more Third-Party Sites.
Google features 4 links in the preview area of a Places listing. Google also features 3 links to 3rd party local business listing review sites at the botton of a Google Places Listing page. External reviews simply add more credibility to your Google Places review to prospective customers going through your places page.
7. Double Up Reviews by Adding Rich Snippets Reviews
Set up a review/testimonials section on your website to either display an individual review by a customer or aggregated reviews by a number of your customers using the Rich Snippets reviews ratings mark-up (in schema.org or hReview mircroformat). Marking up the review or client testimonial page on your website allows Google’s spiders to understand that your website has a review section and ultimately leads to Google displaying the star rating on your site in it’s search results page. The magic here is that you are able to combine your rich snippet reviews with your Google Reviews giving you a double mega review rating on Google’s search result. Very few websites are doing this at the moment.
8. Add Multiple “Offers” to your Places Listing
Google Places allows businesses list multiple offers or coupons on their listings pages – it is the tab on the top right corner of your account. Potential customers are able to print your Google Places offers and take them to your business. This is also a great way to measure the effectiveness of your Places listing. Don’t just add a single offer – try adding at least 3 to 5 variants.
9. Add photos to your “Offers.”
After adding a your Offers, remember that it does not stop there! Let your coupons standout by adding images (although optional) that are quite descriptive to the offer.
10. Upload a photo of a QR code to your Places page.
As much I personally do not use QR codes, a growing number of people love scanning QR codes. Why not cater for this audience by hopping unto qrcode.kaywa.com to generate one for your site in less than 5 seconds and then add the QR code image to your Google Places listing.