GOOGLE PLACES BASICS
What Are Google Places?
Google Places is Google's directory of business websites that have physical addresses. Online-based businesses cannot use Google Places unless there is a physical location where customers can visit. Google Places listings are usually displayed on the first page of Google, with three business listings presented on a given keyword search.
Each business listing provides the following information:
1. Name of the business
2. Star Rating of the business
3. Contact Number
4. Physical Address
5. Website Address
Why is Google Places Important for SEO?
Having your website listed on Google Places creates a great heap of trust with Google. Take into consideration just how many spam websites there are lurking on the internet. Google Places verifies your business has a physical location, which indicates it is a legitimate company. Google Places listings also enjoy a powerful backlink from Google itself, which helps improve your SEO organic rankings.
Benefits of Google Places Listings?
Being listed on Google Places comes with a wide range of advantages, these include:
1.Google more trusts. Higher organic search engine rankings as your website.
2. Targeted and local website traffic in your city.
3. Increased Conversion Rates, Sales, and Customers
4. Great Exposure Online
How Do You Sign Up To Google Places?
Signing up to Google Places is quite simple, but it comes with its complications. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to sign up to Google Places and what you require to submit your business listing successfully:
SET UP YOUR GOOGLE PLACES LISTING
You need to have a Google account to sign up for Google Places, which means creating a Gmail account if you don't possess one. If you have an existing account, use that one, but it's important to note that all google systems should be placed into one location for easier management.
Visit https://www.google.com/places. Click on the button that says "Add New Business" and fill in all the pertinent details of your company. It's essential to add as much information as possible about your business. Do not leave an empty field, and fill in everything as accurately as possible. (operating hours, email address, physical address, etc.)
Once you have completed your online business form, you have to verify your listing by two means:
A. Verify by postcard
B. Verify by home number
A. VERIFY BY POSTCARD
It is the most common method of verifying your business address. The only problem here is that your postcard may arrive late or may not arrive at all. It is not Google's fault, but usually your local post office.
It can be extremely frustrating as there have been many instances where people cannot verify their address simply because their postcard, with their secret code, has not arrived at their business location.
B. VERIFY BY PHONE
This is probably the easiest and quickest method of verifying your email address. If you can use this option, it's best to do so; however, if you do not have a landline number, you will not verify your business address with a mobile number.
If you are having issues with the postcard method, install a VOIP landline so you can verify the listing comfortably. VOIP lines are affordable and can cost anywhere between R200-R300 per month.
HOW TO OBTAIN GOOD POSITIONS ON GOOGLE PLACES
There are multiple ways to obtain good rankings on Google Places and have tons of traffic arriving on your website. Here are excellent practices to reach top positions on Google Places:
Submit Your Business Listings To The Local South African Directories. Submitting your business website and business details to local directories is the number 1 strategy to rank well on Google Places. It would be best if you targeted the biggest and most trusted directories in South Africa; these include:
F. active Web
How To submit your listing without getting penalized by Google?
It's essential to submit to 1-2 local directories per day. Google-like consistent and natural link-building efforts, do not submit your website to tens or hundreds of directories all at once, as you could potentially get your website penalized.
CUSTOMER REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
It's essential to get your customers to rate and review your Google Places listing. The more positive reviews and comments your listing receives, the better and higher your rankings. Having many positive reviews also creates trust with potential clients. Customers can choose what to rate your services out of five stars, plus they have the power to comment on your services for everyone to see.
Google Places is a powerful marketing option to obtain new clients and grow your business online. Implementing the above practices will slowly but surely get your website ranked on top positions of Google Places in South Africa.