Google is the number one search engine in the world because they have developed a knack for delivering the best search results. But what most business owners may not realize is how Google has recently changed their focus to helping support local businesses.
Google has gone local in a big way with Google Places!
Here’s an example: before when you would type in best google reviews a search term like “dentist” you would get links to websites and articles about dentists and dentistry from all over the world; now when you enter “dentist” in Google you get the top rated dentists in your local area featured very prominently on the page along with other results such as ads. The great thing about this is that these local listings are free and a great way to get massive exposure on Google.
Why You Should Claim Your Free Google Places Page
Every business should be taking advantage of Google’s new local focus by claiming and optimizing their free Google Places Page. Every business with an actual physical address qualifies to get a Google Places page. This is a web page where you can list information about your business such as products, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, photos, images, special offers and more.
Who can argue with free advertising — especially when it leverages the power and reach of Google?
Still, the most important feature of Google Places is that it gives Google users a chance to rate and review your business. This is called digital word of mouth. Each Google Places listing has a section directly underneath the business information where these reviews are listed. A typical review has a star rating from 1 to 5 stars followed by the actual text of the review.
How to Find Your Google Places Listing
There are two ways to find your Places listing. The first way is to head to Google using your favorite browser and type in your business type followed by your city and state in the search box. This may take a bit of persistence as you may have to keep clicking on the “more results” link at the bottom of the listings.
The second and easiest way is to go to and type in the name of your business followed by city and state in the search box. In most cases your listing will show up immediately.
How Does Google Places Rank Local Listings?
Naturally, you’ll want your Places listing to stand out from your competition. So the savvy business owner should be trying to do everything they can to get to the top of the local list for their particular product or service classification. To achieve better rankings you first need to understand Google’s ranking procedure.
Google ranks their local business listings by using a combination of various factors with the main determinants as follows:
Rating Star Score – Take the total number of stars from all the reviews and then divide by the total of all of the reviews that is your aggregate rating score which can be anywhere from 1 to 5.
Total Number of Reviews – The greater the sample, the higher you will rank compared to your competitors with a similar aggregate rating star score.