Sunday, March 25, 2012

Google Places Ranking Factors Can Get You Suspended

If you read this blog in detail, then spend some time on other blogs and websites, not to mention videos, you will eventually have a very sophisticated understanding of the Google Places ranking factors.  Unfortunately, I might have read a bunch of books and watched videos on how to swing a baseball bat, but it take a bunch of swings, many of them strikes, before I get the application of those rules down pat. 

I get calls every day from folks who have managed their own Google Places business listings for months or years, only to have their world come crashing down around them, because Google has changed the rules or stepped up enforcement of the old ones.  They find their above the fold page one ranking has dropped to page three, or they have been suspended or even had the account closed.  Check out this video on ways to increase your Google Places ranking and avoid being suspended.  Then if you'd rather go back to selling the stuff you are an expert in, call me to handle this for you.  Randy Kirk 310-910-1848. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Google Places Ranking Factors 2012 - The Description Matters

Every local SMB in America should care about the minutia of Google Places Ranking Factor Secrets.  But not only do a very small percent pay any attention at all to Google Places, a small business who really wants to stay on top of the constant changes in local search might have to give up their day job.  Today we will take a look at another of the results coming out of the study of the ranking factors for Google Places - The Description does matter

We in the business of analyzing and optimizing Google Places have wondered whether the description was going to be downplayed as a ranking factor.  This wouldn't make sense in that Google's best information about what the owner believes his "place" in the world is, would be found in that short description.  Reminds one of a text version of the "elevator" speech. 

The new report out in mid March 2012 that you can read in detail here, found that you would move up almost an entire rank by including the category you cared about, or a synonym of that category, in the description.  Nothing was said about whether you could include two or three such category keywords in the description to up your results, but that would stand to reason. 

It would also appear that this is no guarantee of a boost, but merely a statistically valid potential increase in rank.  Still worth considering, for sure.  If you would rather sell your product or services instead of making a career of understanding the Goog, call me, Randy  310-910-1848

Find many other blog posts on the details of Google Places Ranking Factors here.

Google Places Ranking Secrets 2012 - Review Content Matters

A relatively new company called has completed a study that took a scientific look at how Google Places makes ranking decision.  There were many interesting conclusions, which all in all could increase your rank in Google Places by 9 positions. 

One of the new findings for increasing your rank on Google Places was that having reviews which included the keywords and geo information was very helpful.  So, when you are asking someone to provide a review, you might also ask them to specifically include the most critical keyword or phrase and the city you care about. 

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, the total number of reviews didn't seem to matter for ranking.  (Under 5 reviews and over 100 did have an effect.)  There is also no appreciative effect of the number of stars.  (with one exception noted elsewhere on this blog.)  However, the words used did matter if they reinforced the keywords in the category being targeted.

Therefore, one possible strategy would be to actually write the review content for the client and ask them to load it up.  I am not suggesting that you write something they don't agree to, but rather you can provide them with a better version.  You might even have them write the review, and then you edit in the specific keywords.  This will probably come off sounding the most "real."

The report did not indicate whether owner responses to reviews that included keywords also effected ranking.  But it couldn't hurt, as long as the use is not spammy.

So here is a possible perfect review for a bakery in Oklahoma City:

We had a very special design in mind for our son's 5th birthday cake.  We weren't even sure if it could be done, or at least done within our budget.  But David, the head decorator at OK Bakery right here in downtown Oklahoma City not only did the job, it came out better than expected.  David showed us how to use our basic idea with a twist that made the cake even that much more fun.  Our son loved his cake, and we will be using OK Bakery for all of our cakes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Google Places Ranking Secrets 2012 - Get 100 Reviews or More

Getting More Than 100 Reviews on Google Places Might Help Ranking. 

A recent report on the factors that seem to be effecting Google Places ranking concluded that having 6 - 99 reviews will not be more effective than having 5.  Five is the low magic number.  100 is the magic at the other end of the list.  The report did not parse out whether 101 beats 100 or 500 beats out 400, but they did see an effect for having more than 100, and suggested that ranking would be effected by the gross total above 100. 

I understand that all of us have serious priority issues in running a small business.  As a consultant I constantly work to get past the five review threshold with every client, and find it hard to imagine why 100 or more is out of reach.  Like eating an elephant, it just needs to be attacked one bite at a time.  Eight or nine reviews a month, and in one year you are there. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Google Places Ranking Secrets 2012 - New Info on Google Places Reviews

Five reviews on Google Places turns out to do more than just turn on your stars.  That is important enough.  In fact, I'm not sure there is anything more important on Google Places than having at least 5 stars average and having them lit up.  Ok.  Being above the fold or at least on page 1 is critical.  But five stars is a close second.

Turns out that the five stars will help you get on the first page, above the fold, or even to number one.  A recent report finds that having at least five stars will increase your rank by .31 steps in the blended "everything" search results or 1.47 steps in Google Places itself.  As noted elsewhere in the blog, one to four reviews has no effect.  And having more than 5 doesn't matter until you get to 100.  Can we be 100% certain that this analysis is perfect in its understanding of how Google works?  No, but we can't really even be sure about the things that Google says work.

Get your five reviews ASAP!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ten Top Tips for Google Places Ranking - How to Get Your Business to #1 on Google Places

Ten Top Tips for Google Places Ranking - How to Get to #1 on Google Places

There are over 100 factors that Google analyzes to figure out where your business is going to show up on the critical 1st Page for Google Places and the blended Google Everything Page.  The first tip should be DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!  The truth is that the most sophisticated SEM (search engine marketing) guru's in the US are commonly flummoxed by the Goog.  And nowhere is this more true than when it comes to Google Places and Local Business online ranking.

But, some of you will plug away at this until you cry uncle.  Call me when you've had enough.  For now, here are my ten top tips for Google Places Ranking:

  1. Fill out the listing form completely with special attention on Name, Description and Category.
  2. Your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) have to be exactly the same everywhere, and should appear in text on the home page and location page of your website. 
  3. Follow the rules set up by Google Places.  In particular you cannot have two listings at the same address with the same phone number.  Don't use city information in the categories.  Do not spam the city name in the description.
  4. The quality of your website will have a major impact on your ranking.  Make sure your website has great SEO.
  5. Google Places likes to see that you are who you say you are.  Therefore, the more proof they can find the better for your rank.  Proof comes in the form of citations or places on the web where you NAP is found.  The more relevant the site to your business, the better for your ranking.
  6. Get at least 5 reviews so that your stars light up.  The more reviews the better, and the better the reviews the better.  It is not clear that Google is paying much attention to the quantity of your reviews for ranking right now, but they have in the past and may again.  In any case, better to be in third place with 10 reviews than 1st place with none, if the others in the top three or four have at least five.
  7. Stay on top of your analytics.  Check them at least once per week.  Which keywords are getting you impressions?  Are you impressions headed up or down?  Make adjustments accordingly.
  8. Put up some great pictures and videos.  Do use the coupons.  Make a post.  Add tons of extra content to the listing.  Once again, there is little evidence that any of this will help your ranking at this moment.  But it won't hurt, and it might help with conversions.  Plus Google loves content, and my bet is that content will be an issue tomorrow if it isn't today.
  9. Use all 5 category options.  Use the search bar instant feature to see what comes up when you start to type in your main category.  Use some of those results as possible categories. 
  10. Use Google Alerts for your business name and for Google Places.  This way you'll catch some things that happen regardng your online presence, and you'll stay up to date on Google Places changes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Google Places Helps Bankruptcy Lawyer To Phone Ringing Off the Hook

Google Places for Lawyers?  Top Google Places Rank Critical!  Bankruptcy Lawyer Tells Google Places StoryDivorce Lawyer Gains from Google Places. PI Attorneys Spend Thousands for Google Places Rank.

Google Places has become a critical part of the marketing strategy for law firms across the USA.  The recession has impacted the legal profession almost as severely as housing.  The result is that large legal firms and independent small law offices are competing for the coveted spots in their local area and beyond on Google Places.

My first law client was spending at least $7000 a month on internet marketing.  Others are spending that much and more.  Of course, a single case can often repay that kind of spend.  And, for many of my attorney clients, Google Places and other internet efforts are bringing in way more than one client per month.

A quick look to the right column of this blog will give you two testimonials of what we were able to do.  One is a bk attorney.  The other is a divorce lawyer.  Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to share the experiences of criminal and PI attorneys that have used our services.  However, the results have been just as stunning.

Realistically, moving an attorney to the top for critical keywords in major metro areas is not a 30 day deal.  In some cases it might take six months to a year.  But moving a law firm up in rank has always been possible within a month or so.

Our methods are all white hat.  We could generate some better results faster by using black hat approaches.  However, these are always short lived gains.  Our method is to get you to the top in a way that will keep you there for years.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Google Places Suspended? Google Places Reviews Gone? Google Places Listing Disappeared?

Why Did Your Google Places Listing Get Suspended? What Happened to Your Google Places Reviews?  Worse Yet, Why Did Your Google Places Listing Disappear or Drop to Page 4?

My phone rings all the time with those three questions.  Nothing ruins your day, week, or even year like a drop in your Google Places rank.  What causes these issues?  What can you do to avoid it?  The embedded video below is designed to give you basic information regarding those issues and more.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Google Places Helps Mortgage Broker in Los Angeles Weather the Housing Crash

Do People Looking for Mortgages use Google Places?  Do Folks want to Refinance use Google Places to find a Mortgage Broker?

Bill Rayman is one of the smartest and funniest guys you'll every meet.  But like everyone else earning a living in the housing market in 2008, Bill felt like the phone just stopped ringing.  Through a massive campaign of YouTube Videos, blog postings, Website development and optimization of Google Places, his mortgage broker business is booming.

A top ranking for Google Places re: Mortgage Broker Los Angeles is worth a ton of dough.  This ranking was not easy to get or to maintain, as there is very serious competition for that spot.  Are you trying to get a top spot on Google Places for your Mortgage business?

P.S.  If you are needing the top Google Places ranking for Mortgage Broker in Los Angeles, we can't help you.  :  )

Monday, March 5, 2012

Google Places Helps Ontario, California Bakery Reach 30th Anniversary

Being Number 1 On Google Places for a Bakery is Going to Make All the Difference in the Sales and Profits. 

If you own a bakery, you probably depend on three things for your success:  Walk in traffic for the basic yummy treats and coffee, regular birthday and all occasion cakes from families and businesses nearby, and wedding cakes.  All three of those customers are very, very likely to use Google Places to either find a bakery or to find your phone number or address.  You do not want your current or potential future clients to have to look down the Google Places Page to find your listing.  While doing so, they just might stop and check out your competitor.

A little over a year ago, Ontario Bakery was seeing an erosion in their sales.  Within a month of hiring us to help, we had secured top of the page positioning for them on multiple keywords and in multiple geographic areas that they serve. 

We are happy to report that Ontario Bakery, located just South of the 10 Freeway on Mountain Ave and Fourth Street, will celebrate their 30th anniversary since they purchased the shop.  Congratulations to Chris and Kathy Fabos and their staff.  And thank you, Google Places.

PS.  In that we are more than just a Google Places Help company, we are actively helping Ontario Bakery with their huge month-long anniversary sale and a big party on the 31st.  Let us know if we can help you with your upcoming big sale.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Google Places Tip: How Much Should You Spend to Get A Top Google Places Ranking

Should you spend $1000 a month on Google Places to get a top ranking?  Should you spend $500 a month to maintain a first place ranking for Google Places?  How much is it worth? 

Google Places is the most valuable advertising location available today for small local businesses.  And it is FREE!  But is it really.  Like any free or almost free product or service, there is massive demand for the goodies.  That massive demand has created a groundswell of professional businesses who are working hard to get their clients to better and better rankings.  Some of these companies are total frauds.  Some are only incompetent.  Others do a good job and charge a fair price.  Can you afford to go it alone, and spend nothing to gain a great position on Google Places?

If you choose to Do It Yourself, this blog is for you.  If you think it would be smart to get a pro involved, then check out the video below.  It will help you figure out how much you can afford to spend, or should afford to spend.  20 years ago, you would have been spending $500 to $3000 a month or more for Yellow Pages ads.  Today you are likely spending nothing on YP.  You can and should spend that same $500 to $3000 for Google Places as it will get you even better results than the old printed Yellow Pages.