In this post, I am going to discuss the top ranking factors in local search results in general and I will provide you with a few tips specific to ranking in Google Places Canada.
David Mihm’s 2011 local search ranking factors is the go to guide for ranking in Google Places. David’s Top 10 Factors to Focus On:
Physical address of the search – The good old days of renting a post office box close to Google’s “City center proximity” are long gone. If you want to rank for a keyword term in Toronto, you need a physical location in Toronto. If you don’t have a physical location, do the math. It may be worth your while to rent a space downtown if your return on investment makes sense.
Manually owner-verified Place Page – Seems simple enough, yet we still see Google Places listings that are un-verified. It’s just another small signal to Google that you are a legitimate business.
Proper Category Associations – You must choose one of the categories provided by Google. However, you can add a total of 5 categories. Try to associate your business with categories that Google provides, otherwise, add categories that are as closely related to your business as possible.
Volume of traditional structured citations – Citations is the latest buzzword in the SEO world. Citations are just links from pages on websites that verify the information you provide in your Google Places account.
Crawable Address Matching Place Page Address – Make sure the address you provide in your Places account matches the address on the landing page. The address on your website landing page should be in text as opposed to an image. Hcard format is better.
Quality of inbound links to the website – Link building has long been the number 1 tactic used by SEO companies to get better ranking results in the search engines. Once Google combined Google Places results with organic results, link building became even more important.
Crawable phone number matching Place Page phone number – Again, just as the address should be crawable and match the address on your website, so should the phone number. Local area code on Place Page – Local area codes are another signal that your business is local to the city in which your business resides. Larger companies with multiple locations often using the same 800 number in multiple Google Places accounts would be wiser to go with the local numbers.
City, Province in Places landing page title – That’s LANDING PAGE title, not Places page title. For years, businesses have been spamming Google Maps by adding a keyword phrase and location to their Places Page titles. We have definitely noticed an increase in, “suspended” Google Places accounts as Google cleans up Places with more sophisticated algorithms.
Tips on Ranking in Google Places Canada
Verify your free YellowPages™ listing – Next time your are searching on Google maps (Canada), scroll down to the bottom of the left hand side of the page. You will notice that Google Canada bsiness listings are “distributed by YellowPages.ca™. Make sure your free directory listing information in Yellowpages.ca™ matches the the information in your Google Places page.
Verify Your free local Canadian directory listings – If you are a Canadian company, you should have a free listing in most major local directories. Review your listings to make sure the information is up to date and consistent with your Places Page. Here are a few major Canadian directories you can check:
Post your products/services to local Canadian classified websites – adding your products and services to websites like Kijiji.ca or classifieds.ca is yet another signal that verifies that you are who you say you are. Just make sure to drill down to your main city before placing your add.
Geo-tag your images – Open a Panoramio (from Google) photo sharing account, map your photos and then add your photos from Panoramio to your Google Places account. You should add all ten photos allowable to your Google Places account and why not do it from a photo sharing website that Google owns.
If you need more tips on ranking in Google Places Canada, call us at 905-469-6330, we would be glad to help you with any of your internet marketing strategies.