Much to the delight of digital marketers around the world, Google has announced the return of Google Places, the original Google Maps business listing service.
Most digital marketers know that Google Places was one of the best ways to get your business seen in Google Search results. Before today, Google Local results only showed a total of 3 results, severely limiting the exposure of great businesses that just happened to rank 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th place. This was never optimal and resulted in many a furious local business owner. That fury was often cast upon lowly digital marketers who tried everything they could to get their client into the coveted top 3 positions.
That ends today.
With the return of Google Places, now you can confidently get recognition and accolades by proving to your client’s that 6th place is actually REALLY GOOD! It also appears that Google has even reverted their algorithms back to pre-2013 specifications. This means that now you can add every keyword you want to rank for into the business name of the listing. Get started with Google Places here.
What Happened To Google My Business?
All things must eventually come to an end and be replaced with something that invokes a sense of nostalgia. This reversion accomplishes just that.
One of the biggest complaints about Google My Business was that nobody really even knew what it was. Was it Google+ Local? Was it YouTube Local? Was it Google Local? Was it Google Maps? Was it Google Maps Mapmaker? Nobody really knew and it’s impossible to say if anybody really even cared. All everybody ever wanted was a product that worked and worked good. Google Places worked.
Another thing to consider was Google’s dedication to customer service. When Google Places was originally launched, you could call an actual Google representative, in America, who would be happy to help you set up your Google Places listing. With the introduction of Google My Business, however, Google discontinued the ability to call in for help. Until today, you had to email Google My Business Support and maybe, just maybe, somebody from India would call you back. Obviously, in today’s fast-paced world, waiting on Google India to contact you could mean the difference between becoming a highly successful company or shuttering your doors permanently.
How To Take Advantage Of Google Places
Once you set up your new Google Places listings, make sure to do the following as soon as possible. (NOTE: You cannot migrate your current GMB listings because they are now all gone – you have to start completely over.)
- Put as many keywords you want to rank for in the business name field. If fact, you don’t even need to put the business name into the business name field. Your customers will know who you are.
- Select every category imaginable for your business. Who knows what will happen? What we can tell you is that if you are a plumber and somebody searched for “library,” you could show up for that query and make the searcher think that their water heater needs to be replaced.
- Use 800 numbers whenever possible. People trust 800 numbers.
- Never use your own images. Steal your competitor’s images, especially if they rank higher than you do.
- Mark your business hours as 24 hours, even if you aren’t a 24-hour business. Your listing will say that you’re open all the time and that means you’ll get the call first.
- Pay a link building company to build no less than 50,000 links that point to your Google Places listing URL. This worked really good back in 2013. It’s bound to work again.
- Buy as many reviews as you can afford. Don’t just wait on your customers to give them to you.
With enough work, you’ll be ranking high in Google Places in no time. Remember, if Google says you shouldn’t do something in Google My Business, you should absolutely do it in Google Places. It’ll work. Trust us. (cue evil cackle laughing).
Look – SEO can be confusing sometimes. There’s a lot of changes and updates that you need to be aware of and stay on top of – ALL. THE. TIME. If you’re looking for some help, well… that’s just what we do. This Google Places update is our specialty. *wink* *wink* We would encourage you to give us a call to either get some free advice or simply to have us do all the local and maps SEO work for you. That way you can sit back, relax, and know that you’re doing the best you can :)