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Places Optimization: The Ins and Outs

Google Places | 25 Nov 2010

While you we’re sleeping Big Google made some interesting changes. As you likely have already noticed, Google Places got a makeover and now occupies most if not all of the first page for many categories. Although frustrating for those who had organic listings, Google Places, more than ever, presents a slew of opportunity for business owners and marketers alike. Although I would love to dive into the many ways marketers can bank, I don’t want to give all my secrets away. Instead I will focus on the Small and Medium-size business owner and explain just how they can go about ranking.

Claiming your Google Places (Maps) listing is dead easy, but unfortunately it’s not going to do much if you are trying to rank in a competitive industry and/or city. For example, if you are a night club trying to rank in San Francisco, your listing is going to show up in the “more results near…” a couple pages back.

Nevertheless, it is not impossible, and in some smaller cities you could quite easily rank on the first page. So how do you do it you might ask? Here are 3 easy steps to ranking:


First of all you will need to get verified. Open Google and search “Google Places.” The first listing will bring you there. NOTE: The address you submit should be your business address. Google bases where you rank geographically on this address. Further, Google will want to call, text or mail you to verify your listing. I would recommend you choose the call, and be ready because they will call you immediately. Once you retrieve the code and enter it, you are verified. Step one complete.


A citation is where your business name and address are mentioned on another website. Keep in mind it is not necessary that the citation have a link back to your web page. Google will eventually find (crawl) this mention (cite) and it will contribute to you ranking. But before you go hammering these out there are a couple things you should keep in mind including: Trust Rank and consistency. Trust Rank represents the authority Google gives some web sites. Simply put your citation will be worth more if you put it on sites Google trusts more. Sites like Wikipedia, Yahoo Directory and are great examples of sites that carry weight in Google’s eyes. Also, it would be wise to look at the Universal Business Listings. For about $30/yr they will post on many of the top business directories for you. Eventually you will want to gather a big list of websites which you can acquire citations from easily. Consistency is extremely important. You need to make sure your contact information is exactly the same info you gave Google. Otherwise you are wasting your time. Lastly, I would encourage you to take it slow and steady. Google will get spooked if you do too many citations all at once.


Google Places Listings allow the public to leave reviews, good or bad. Currently for ranking purposes it is a quantity game. However, I would suspect it won’t be long until Google puts more weight on the quality of the review. Not to mention, you may rank better, but a bunch of poor reviews probably won’t help you too much. Reviews may also be given outside of Google on platforms like Yelp, Yellowbot, Cityvoter and Yellowpages.

Reviews can be obtained in a variety of ways, however we prefer the authentic approach. More specifically we like to take things offline and create strategies for you customers to easily leave you reviews. One example might be to leave a laptop on the service counter and encouraging that customers leave a review on their way out. Or perhaps simply comment cards that accompany the salt and pepper shaker on a table. Once you have a few, create a review profile on several review sites and post these as anonymous reviews. NOTE: Do not post fake reviews! This desperate technique will eventually catch up with you. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually someone will call you out on it.

TIP: We always suggest that you hold off a week between Verification and Citing, and an additional between Citing and Reviews. This way Big G doesn’t think it’s a bot. Natural is key! Also, if you plan to do further listings, doing this won’t leave a footprint.

The above is not a guaranteed method to get ranked in Google Places and in many industries in bigger cities it may not even get you on the first page. However, you never know until you try. We have built massive lists of websites we know we can get citations from that and are held in high regard by Google. If you would like a copy, drop us a line and we will forward you 100 in Canada and the USA.

If you are a business owner that would prefer if the PROS managed your Places Optimization, please contact us and we’d be happy to assist you.

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