The first thing you may want to do is bookmark this excellent article on Google Places by Rand over at seomoz.org. The article is terrific and you will find some excellent resources and insights by going through the comments!
First off, hopefully if you are a small business in the Denver, Colorado area; you have done some research or asked some questions about Google Places. Long story short, it will never hurt your bottom line results to be listed near the top of the page for your important search terms! There are many contributing factors as to who gets to be included in the Magnificent Seven-and I’ll share with you the latest thinking:
1. When you go to Google Places to claim your listing, fill out all the information that they ask for. It’s important to state how large your business area is. For example if you are a tree service in Denver, do you also go to Castle Rock and all the way up to Westminster? If you do be sure you state that. In the description, write a summary that includes your keywords, this is very important so take some time.
2. If you have a blog, write a post and link to your Google Places page. Do you have a business associate in Denver not in competition with you? let’s say you know a Denver Painter-he could write a blog post about you and you could reciprocate. Please be sure that you link to the Google Places page and never say “click here” use your keywords, such as Painting Contractors Denver!
3. Now, the heavier lifting starts! You need “citations” from other sources to help you climb into the Magnificent Seven-you may ask, what are citations and how am I going to get them? Think of citations as links from other sites. These links are very critical to your success. Here is a great, free tool for finding citation sources: http://www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder/ This free tool is compliments of Darren Shaw-big shout out to Darren!! Put in your keyword phrases such as “Painting Contractors Denver” and it shows you a great list where you can go and sign up your business with the business name, address and phone number. These citations will now point to your website and will greatly increase your chances of showing up prominently!
4. Be sure you always use the same name everywhere. For example if your business name is J Place Paintng use that name everywhere and use it exactly-don’t vary it!! Google is looking for consistency so if you decided to use the name Superior Painting by J Place Painting-you are shooting yourself in the foot-trust me, use the same name, address and phone number for best results!
5. Do you have a $100 website or less? Do your best to optimize your site for keywords, meta tags and authoritative and original content-this too is important in your quest for a top listing in Google Places.
6. Have your customers go to your Google Places page and write a recommendation-it will help you a great deal! Offer them something for their time and effort such as a discount, gift card etc.
Here are some other very good articles on Google Places Optimization:
I’m sure there are many other great sources but this will get you started 😉
If you are not inclined to do this work call or email Steve to have him look at your project for optimizing your Google Places page!! Good Luck