With Google holding approximately 65 percent of the search market share and maps.google.com getting 40,000,000 or more unique visitors each month it is no wonder that having great coverage via your Google Places listing is constantly top of mind for businesses. Since the web is a large place I decided to compile some of my favorite resources that serve as frequent go-tos.
Google Places Quality Guidelines: This is the most important resource to reference regarding Google Places. The Quality Guidelines are thorough, updated frequently, and need to be followed in order to have Google properly recognize and map your business
Google’s Fix a Problem: Google will help users walk through an if-this-than-that problem solving scenario for the most commonly addressed concerns such as “My Listing has Incorrect Information”. This is a newer feature for Google Places users and should be visited to help solve problems.
Google Places Help Forum: The Help Forum is designed so that Places users can post questions to be answered by Top Contributors and Google Employees. Recently, the interaction from Google has really improved. Plus, they have even started posting articles to address bugs or long standing issues. One of the most recent examples addressed the many concerns with Google Reviews.
Google Places Dashboard-Signing into your Google Places account is the easiest way to give yourself a quick health check and understand how customers are looking for your business. With map listings it’s very easy to get on the wrong track and think you aren’t being found. Looking in your Google Places dashboard will remind you how your listing is benefiting your business with metrics like impressions, clicks, actions and more.
Industry Blogs: There are definitely a few go-to industry blogs that always have the inside scoop on what goes on in the world of Google Places. “Understanding Google Maps & Local Search – Developing Knowledge about Local Search” written by Mike Blumenthal, is a good resource- he’s kind of like a local search scientist. On top of that, he will respond to comments quickly with more information or clarifying questions. Although this is generally my first stop, here are a few more that are chock full of news and theories:
In most cases, Google’s primary goal with the Google Places listings is to show their searchers the most relevant businesses possible. Relevancy is determined by examining several factors like business location, services offered, consumer interaction (reviews) and showing results accordingly. Understanding how Google would like you to represent your business based on their guidelines and following them is the best first step to having a happy relationship with Google Places.