How to Optimize Your Google Places Page

1. Make sure your Google Places Page is 100% Complete.
Your Places page isn’t exactly “Optimized” if Google itself is telling you you’re missing some of the basics.

2. Make sure you get at least 5 Google reviews from your customers
Your average customer-review rating will then show up on your Places page and on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

3. Get DOUBLE sets of average-review stars.
You can do this by adding at least one customer testimonial to your website in what’s called hReview microformat (we will be able to do this for you). Basically, hReview is a type of code you can use to tell Google “Hey, this is a testimonial from one of my customers…pay attention to it!” Having just one set of golden stars show up in the search results can boost your click-through rate; having two sets of can drive even more clicks from potential customers.

4. Upload as many photos as you humanly can to major third-party sites.
In particularl use and You personally can only upload 10 photos to your Places page, but it’s possible to have more than 10 show up on your Places page. How? Google pays attention to the info that third-party sites have on your business. If you can supply those third-party sources with plenty of photos, Google often will grab those photos and put them on your Places page (in addition to the 10 photos you personally can upload directly to your Places page. Upload photos as many different sites as you can (it’s OK to reuse some of the same photos from site to site).

Bonus tip: Before uploading, use GeoSetter to geo-tag them with the lat and long of the business, and add NAP and keywords to the meta data.

5. Add a “post” to your Places page that includes a link
Add the post to a particularly page, photo gallery, special offer, or newsletter sign-up area on your website. One of the most basic purposes of your Places page is to get people to check out your site. It’s easy to forget about the humble “post” feature-most business owners never even learn of it-but it’s worth using if there’s a specific area of your site you’d really like potential customers to see.

To post to your Place Page, simply follow the instructions below.

Visit your Google Places account.
1. Choose the listing you’d like to post to, and click the number link under either the Impressions column or the Actions column.
2. In the top right hand corner of the dashboard, you’ll see a box that allows you to post.
3. Write your message and click Post.

6. Reply to every customer review written on your Places page.
You should get in the habit of thanking the customers who leave you nice reviews, and graciously responding to the few who don’t. Most importantly, this looks good to potential customers. It’s also good way to fill out the reviews area of your page a little more, and to slip in occasional tidbits about your services that maybe you didn’t have a way to mention anywhere else on your page.

7. Get “Best Ever” reviews.
They automatically count as 5-star reviews. Your customers need to go and search for your business by name in order to leave you “Best Ever” reviews.

8. Turn a couple of customer testimonials into photos and upload the photos to your Places page.
This is useful if a great customer wrote you a shining testimonial (in an email, in a letter, on a grain of rice…whatever) that you’d like potential customers to see, but you never asked that person to post a review for you.

9. Get as many customer reviews as you can on 3 or 4 third-party sites.
At the bottom of your Places page, Google features up to 3 links that go to third-party sites where customers have written you reviews. Up to 4 of these links also show up in your “preview” area, which customers see when they hover their cursors over your Places listing from the main search results page.

10. If possible, ask your most loyal customers to upload photos to your Places page
These will show up as “From a Google user.” This is another approach to getting more than 10 photos on your Places page (which is the maximum number that you can upload personally). This can help potential customers realize “Hey, these people actually have customers who give a rip…they might be OK. Maybe I’ll give them a buzz.”

11. Add a caption to the first photo you upload.
You’ll want to pick this photo-and its caption-carefully because everyone who’s on your Places page will see it. Unlike Bing, Google Places doesn’t have a way to add captions to photos, so you’ll have to save the caption as part of the image itself, and then upload the photo to your places page.

12. Add photos to your “Offers.”
However many of them you have on your page, they’ll be a little more noticeable and enticing if they’re not just blobs of text.

13. Upload a photo of a QR code to your Places page.
Even these days, not everyone has a smartphone, so not everyone can scan QR codes, but many people just LOVE scanning them. QR codes are like catnip for some people. You can have the QR code take them to a page of your website, another website-pretty much anything. It doesn’t really matter: the idea here is to boost engagement and make your Places page a little flashier.