Almost everyone online is familiar with Google Maps, if you have conducted a search with a local modifier, chances are the first results were Google Maps results. This happens because Google maps is not really just a business listing tool, it is a search tool that allows users to search local businesses. Achieving good rankings in Google maps is especially important for businesses with a local target market. I want to elaborate on how to optimize a Google Places page so you can get a higher search ranking.

Set Up Google Places
First of all you have to set up a Google Places business page. Before you start, do a quick search, it is possible your business already exists in Google Places, in that case you will have to claim it. If it is not already listed, you will have to list it, which can be done by completing your profile on Google Places. All you will need is a Google account which is free and easy to set up. Google admits that this step does help improve rankings on Google maps because it enables Google to obtain reliable and trustworthy information and expand its information about businesses.

Get Business Citations
Citations are not that hard to get, they are basically just a mention of your business on another site, kind of like building a backlink. When getting citations, you want the anchor text to be as close as you can get to the exact match of your Google Places listing. So if you have your link, description, contact information or anything else, make sure it matches to your Google Places page. This will also help you achieve organic search rankings as well – it serves a dual purpose.

Get Your Business Listed
In order to get the best possible citations you will want to list your business in other pages. (This will also help you Dominate Local SEO) These other listings can come from various sources such as Yahoo, Superpages, Insiderpages or Angie’s List, just to name a few of the more well known sources that will pass along more link juice. Doing this gives Google all the relevant information about your business. Make sure that your details are comprehensive because filling out as many fields as possible can really help your rankings for all different kinds of search phrases.

Make Sure Your Citations are Accurate
In some cases you have already submitted your business info to other sites and directories. If you have done this, you will need to go back and check that all your existing citations and any other listings are correct- there is no point in getting listed with the wrong information. Check these to make sure your citations have accurate names, addresses and the correct phone numbers. It has even been thought that providing a physical address can help your placing. It is important to ensure that your website details are correct but more importantly that the data on your website is correct and the same as these citations.