How to Increase your Practice’s Ranking in Google Places
Posted Aug 24 2010 7:57pm
If you aren’t familiar with Google Places (Formerly Google Local Search), then have a look at a post I wrote not long ago which provides a good overview: Why you should be using Google Places .
Google Places provides an easy way for you to drive targeted traffic to both your website and your physical practice locations. If you haven’t already set up your Google Places’ listing(s), then set aside 15-20 minutes to do so – you’ll be glad you did.
If you need help adding or claiming your listing, check out these step-by-step instructions for doing so or view this comprehensive how-to video produced by google.
Ranking in Google Places is vitally important for your practice. With a Google Places listing your practice can appear near the top of the search results in your area for terms like “dentist” and “dentist in XXXX”.
Secondly, with a Google Places listing, you can look forward to much more targeted traffic than organic (non-Google Places) search results. Search engine optimization experts will tell you that targeted traffic means higher converting traffic, and higher converting traffic means more customers for you.
There are a number of factors that determine where your listing will be ranked within Google Places. Here are the biggies (in no particular order):
100% Complete Business Profile
Claiming your listing
The following tips will help you to maximize your ranking from within Google Places in local searches (in no particular order). Naturally, the more of these tips you implement the better.
1. Complete your business profile – Make sure that your Google Places profile is completely filled out. Simply provide as much information as you possibly can.
2. Claim your listing – In some cases, Google has already created a basic listing for your business within Google Places. Google does this by pulling your business information from various business directories and websites around the web. If Google automatically generated your Google Places listing, then be sure to claim it. To do this, be sure that you’ve set up a Google Account and login to Google Places .
3.Add your business to online business directories – Add your practice’s contact information in as many local business directories as possible. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, take a look at a post I wrote a while back listing the top 10 free places to list your practice online . Start with this list and add your practice to as many additional business directories as possible for maximum effect. Just remember, consistency is key. Add your contact information exactly the same way in each listing. For example, if you spell out the word “street” in one directory, make sure you spell it out in the others as well.
4. Add Video or Pictures – Add pictures and/or videos of your practice to your profile page. Google loves this, and your customers will appreciate the transparency that only video or pictures can provide.
5. Coupons – This may or may not apply to your practice. However, if your practice offers coupons or specials – be sure to list them in the space provided.
6. Organic rankings – Your rankings in the organic (regular, non-Google Places) search results for your top keywords does appear to influence at least to some degree where you’re ranked within Google Places. However, Google Places aside, its critically important that your site is optimized for the search engines. You can do this yourself, or hire an SEO expert to do this for you.
7. Add contact details to your website – This is a no-brainer. Luckily, the vast majority of you have already done this. I’d take this a step further, however, and advise you to add your address along with your business name and phone number on every page of your site.
8. Review, Reviews, Reviews – Request that satisfied patients add reviews to your Google Places page.
9. Separate location pages – Create a separate page on your website for each location. Then link your Google Places’ listings to their appropriate location page within your website.
10. Buy Your Way to the Top – For a flat $25/month fee you can enhance your listing (include additional information other listings can’t) and potentially its ranking as well
Some of these tips can be implemented today, while others will take some time. Either way, do what you can as time permits. I can’t guarantee that these tips will enhance your listing’s ranking within the Google Places’ search results – nobody can. However, it is likely that you can expect at least some positive effect.
If you would like to add a tip to this list, or have seen positive results from the usage of these tips please share with other Dental Heroes’ readers in a comment below.