Ask happy customers :-) of your client to give some reviews on place page as this might help a bit
Thanks, yes that is in the plan but anything external or other factors that affect these rankings?
Those companies need external links and other citations in order to help Google establish that they're bona fide. You should have listings with consistent business names/addresses/phones/URLs in other major online directories, particularly those which feed into Google Places/Maps for the business's category. Internet yellow pages, ratings sites, blogs, online newspapers -- all of these can help contribute citations.
citations citations citations......lots and lots and lots of long boring work. but it pays off right! start with UBL pay them some $$ to get you started then fill in the gaps manually.
and all the other stuff silvery said.
The sites need to rank well in organic search in the new Place Pages world before they will appear in the Place Pages top rankings. All the things you do for organic SEO will benefit it.
so what are you saying? if you aren't in one of the pre populated spots you won't make it?
J_Rad, Not clear who you are asking.
I'm saying that one has to perform great SEO on the page in question to make it rank. Some people might think that putting testimonials on the Place Page is all they need to do.
oh yea heck no way more then that.
but what other kinda SEO can you do to a goog place page, other then get it to 100% properly, reviews, and citations? Then do your citation homework on the top guys.
I've got a client right now that i feel im doing everything 100% perfect and above and beyond what is currently ranking...and im getting no love at all. Kinda frustrating cause the top 7 are mostly unclaimed pages not filled out with junky citations.
I agree with you J_RaD, my client has their GP page filled out 100%, got lots of listings on local directories, etc, site ranks well naturally in its own right, but for local searches on Google it doesn't appear, even if you put the search in for the village they are in they don't but others from neighbouring towns and much further afield in that county come up. Very frustrating as I can't explain it to the client as to why!
yea no joke you've done all the right stuff and nothing moves....then yea, uh what do you tell the client. How do you explain that this isn't an exact science and goog just has a mind of its own.
SEO is like trying to playing a game that nobody tells you the rules too, or maybe some very vague rules.
I have seen the results from GP go up and down all of the time. I have only made a few minor changes since creating the page. One day I will be ranking high and then the page won't be found anywhere. Recently it has been ranking for different keywords that I wasn't specifically targeting. I think Google must still be experimenting a lot with this. I think you can only follow the basic guidelines, watch the stats and then just forget it for a while.
i've read lots of studies on how place pages rank, they did some citation checking, review, etc etc etc. Everyone comes up with.... who knows its a mystery.
I've a good bit of local experience as do others that have commented above. My current opinion is that you have to do a lot of both basic local optimization (ie citations, create maps, etc) and a lot of basic web optimization.
Currently my observations lead me to believe that basic seo has greater weight than does basic Local optimization. (ie more weight on meta titles and links). But that could be deceiving. One source of very strong local signals is creating geo references such as maps. Its harder to discern what the competition is doing in that regard.
I've seen no evidence at all that having a 100% Google Places ranking does anything for local rankings. But 100% implies full information, lots of pictures, videos, etc. All of that is a positive thing.
Similarly a couple of years ago I partook in an in depth analysis of Local Rankings. Even then volumes of reviews on its own wasn't a strong indication of rank.
But great reviews are helpful for ultimately evaluating the business. (Plus they are meaty, informative and interesting to read :D)
In part I look at the Local/Maps index as a less developed less trustworthy, less spam filled index than the google.com index and ranking. I think Google realizes that. It could be one of the reasons they created the merged local/organic rankings.
As such I'd do a lot of work on both sides but put more continued effort into links to the relevant pages that will show in merged organic/local rankings.
At least that is the way I see it now....but its a moving target. All that could change, IMHO
I agree with earlpearl and was going to say many of the same things.
I've studied the new merged algo a lot and what it takes to rank high now is a combination of 3 things.
1) Well optimized Place page including everything that used to work on the old Places algo. Citations, reviews, etc. (About 50 factors go into this algo with 5 of them being uber important & most have been mentioned above.)
2) Well SEO optimized site with high organic ranking. (I think I've heard there are around 250 factors that go into the organic ranking - however for the new local merged algo on-page optimization has gained in importance and plays a VERY big part from what I'm seeing.)
3) Then you also need the right local hooks to tie it all together. A few different factors play in here and there are different ways to do it. As a bare minimum be sure the same exact name, address and phone number (that are on the Place page) are in the footer or sidebar of the site.