Local Leads From Local Searches

Google Places 1

Internet users are making ever more local searches. This is one of the best sources for getting more leads into your business.

A local search is simply when someone enters a local modifier, like ‘accountant Tauranga’ or ‘Taupo builder’ etc.

Google had a product called Google Places that tailors specifically to these searches. Places is under constant development and tweaking as Google tries to make it work better.

Because these results show at or near the top of the search results, it’s very important to rank for them.

Google automatically generates these listings for many businesses, but a business needs to claim the listing to edit the information. The auto generated listings often have errors or inaccurate information.

Many of the ranking factors are similar to normal SEO, plus there are a number of different factors thrown in. The relevance of the local factors is thought to vary depending on the type of Google Places results that are shown.

Result Types

The Places results can integrate with the normal search results in several ways. The way the results show varies based on different factors that Google weighs, and again it changes constantly. The main ones we see are a ‘the seven pack’ which is a list at the top, and integrated listings where the Places features are added to the typical search results. Sometimes you see other things like a list of three or ten, or sometimes even a single result.

Google Places Pages

With every listing Google creates a page that belongs to it. The page is automatically filled with information scraped from other sites. A business can edit their page and add more info, photos and details. Customers and clients can add reviews which affect how the page ranks.

Controversy

There is a lot of chatter amongst search engine marketers about Google Places at the moment. Many feel it’s a poor product and doesn’t help things at all. Lots of experts point out that Places is a violation of Google’s own guidelines and is fairly hypocritical. If another company were to make it then Google would certainly penalise it and not rank it near the top.

While that’s all fairly accurate we’ve got to make the best of the situation at hand. Google makes the rules for their search engine and we’ve got to play be therm.

Getting Leads

While it’s not a perfect system, it’s well worth working with. Google Places can deliver quality leads to your business. As more people abandon the printed yellow pages, Places will become increasingly important as a directory.

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Luke Foster, Marketing Geek who helps New Zealand service businesses make the most of the internet to get more business.
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