Claiming Your Space on Google Places
In the past couple of months, you likely have noticed a significant change in the organic search results on Google. Now Google Places results are blended with organic search results.This change came as a result of Google’s ongoing effort to provide relevant search results. It also is based on research that shows more than 20 percent of queries are local, says Mat Balez, a Google product manager (http://www.neilshearing.com/2011/01/17/google-changes-seo-game/). It was tested in August 2010 and introduced to the world in October.
What does this mean for SEO, you ask? Obviously, Google is trending toward a stronger focus on local searches.
It also means that there is an effort by Google to provide results from “established, verified businesses to crowd out results from new and unverified websites,” says Neil Shearing, author of an Internet marketing strategies blog (http://www.neilshearing.com/2011/01/17/google-changes-seo-game/). Google is showing that it wants verified, actual businesses to be listed over unverified websites.
“This is just another step Google has taken to become even more sophisticated,’” says Ali Husayni, CEO of Master Google and an SEO expert. “Now, in order for you to be at the top of Google, if you are targeting local keywords, you need traditional organic SEO, plus the registration and the improvement of your business rank with Google Places, Google’s business directory.”
Husayni, who offers SEO consulting services, says businesses that want to be found easily with these Google Places changes should do the following:
- Claim your Google Places listing.
- Add videos, photos, menus and coupons to your Places listing.
- Add your business to all local Web directories.
- Encourage your clients/customers to write reviews about your business by using Google Maps, Hotpot (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/now-available-google-places-with-hotpot.html), or their Android phones.
We know that you tend to search for places around you, says Husayni, whose company helps businesses appear on the 1st page of Google in organic search results, adding, “We are constantly changing our methods of achieving first page results for clients, because Google is constantly changing its algorithms.”
This latest change is because Google wants to make it as easy as possible to find the right places for people, Balez says. Hotpot, a new local recommendation engine, allows users to rate and review places they visit, and this will help people continue to find places they like.
If you are interested in learning about our SEO programs, including placing your site at the top of Google search, simply visit Master Google at www.mastergoogle.com and fill out the services request form.
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