Local Search Locomotion: How to improve your performance in Google Places

The steam train, or should I say the Japanese high speed bullet train, that is Google Places is one that you should be riding because it is moving faster than ever. In a report released by Comscore on the “State of local business search” (2011) it was shown that Portal sites, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, account for 74% of all local business searches, whilst Yellow Pages and other directories only account for only 7% of local searches! The study showed that the primary reason for choosing local portal sites, like Google, is speed and accuracy.

Already 20% of all searches on Google are local and this number is even higher when searches are performed on mobile devices.  Predictions suggest that within 2 years 70-80% of all queries will have a local result on the page.

Consumers are increasingly using more sources like Google to find local info, the report shows that more people are turning to online and mobile platforms to find local business info.

Now that you know what people are using to find local businesses the next question is “what are people looking for when they perform a local search?” The report released by Comscore shows that a large proportion of those searching locally are primarily looking for:

  • Contact information
  • An address/directions
  • A company that offers specific product/service

Google Places is there to facilitate customer interaction with bricks-and-mortar businesses and for this reason it is important to note that PO Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations and will be removed. Exclusions also include; web-shops and businesses with no permanent address like, a mobile hot dog stand.

Now you know what people are looking for, how are the results determined?

  1. Location Location Location
    The closer you are to a search, the higher you rank. Although there
  2. You Complete Me
    The more complete and accurate your business information the better! This includes information on your Google Places page as well as any other information on the Internet that may contain your business information.
  3. Word Up
    Use keywords as part of your business name and the more keyword rich your Google Places the better.
  4. Linked-In
    Sometimes a link can contain a physical address, rather than a website address and a phone number associated with a particular business. It serves to validate the businesses existence at a particular location, which makes the business more relevant for a particular search in Google Places.
  5. Gold Star
    Reviews are now displayed on the front page of Google with a 5 star rating. It is important to cultivate reviews because they will improve your overall rankings and increase the likelihood of a click, phone call and/or sale.

Remember all the information being posted about your business, whether you know of it or not, is being collected and displayed on your Google places page. Any reviews, pictures and business information are increasingly amplified by Google Places and receiving much more attention than ever before, and you need to be one of the persons paying close attention.

Webfirm will not only create and submit your Google Places page; we will optimise it so that it is specifically aimed at your target audience. We’ll make sure you page is targeting the key categories and keywords that your audience is using, as well as making it stand out with relevant photos of your business and services, and find reviews from real consumers to help you stand out amongst your online peers.

So, jump on the high-speed bullet train and increase your online presence with a Google Places listing today, contact Webfirm to find out more – email us at info@webfirm.com or call us on 1300 WEBFIRM (932 347).

Image credit leyla.a on Flickr

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