Google places rankings are being more tied to organic placement than previously with one of the many ongoing changes in Google’s algorithm.
Per pagetrafficbuzz Google confirms panda 3.3 Quoting Google, Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename Venice?] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.?
Most of the Google places listings are being shown with the 7 pack (like the restaurants Auckland example shown). The first results are more based on the top organic ranking for the search phrase, with padding to make up the 7 pack based more on the Google places algorithm.
If there is a [brandname] [location] type search like “starbucks parnell” then you are likely to see a “Google onebox” type listing that shows wording like “Places for Starbucks near Parnell Auckland”. The algo for the Onebox is more based on the Google places algo than it’s Organic algo.
Local results have also been improved as Google has revealed to be using a new system that will let them show more reliable results from the searcher’s city.
The amount of SERP’s with hybrid local results is also increasing with sistrix reporting it has grown from 1% to 3.5% of search results (slide 14).
- Create a google places listing for your business
- include the categories relevant to your business’s main search phrases, especially noting the categories used by the websites currently shown for your targeted search phrase
- include the main [category] [region] search phrases in the title and content of your homepage if you are a single location business - so as to get ranked organically higher
- get incoming links into the page with the exact match [category] [region] phrase
- Encourage your customers to add Google reviews of your business. It is very hard to get people motivated enough to add reviews. So possibly encourage them with a bottle of wine couriered to them if they can add a review. Make a point of getting even one new review every month. Better to have new reviews on an ongoing basis than many reviews all at once, then nothing.
- if your business has multiple locations, have a separate page for each on your site that is specifically optimised for the location phrase, and have a separate Google location listing for each business. On each Google places page, include a link to the homepage of your site. Make sure that each location has a separate phone number and has an address that Google can send a postcard to. Get each regions customers to add reviews for your local listings.