How to get higher rankings on Google local business listings online

If you own a website, ‘how to rank higher on Google’ probably makes for one of your most common searches, ironically enough. Webmasters are always looking to leapfrog their competition, but if your website is the front page of a well-run business, you absolutely NEED to get those rankings.

While search engine placement is important enough already, a business’ individual ranking in Google Places a.k.a. Google local business listings matters even more – you want to rank at the top of the business listings in your area and even impose a little on the areas around you. Here’s how to do it.

Getting Google to like you more

While we can go on and on about Google’s complexity, it’s still a machine that follows the same principles its coders imbued it with: look for established and popular websites and rank them higher.

Therefore, you want your business to look that way to Google no matter its current state. Start by editing the Google Places page itself: provide enough information on how to contact you and what your working hours are and don’t forget to line up the Places name of your business with its listings on the web.

The last part is especially important: Google, the almighty website, turns to other websites to know more about an individual site. Your Google Places business name should be the exact name you’re using in the Yellow Pages and various other listings sites – all of these citations should be aligned to the letter in order to avoid confusing the search engine.

If you’re juggling several business names or locations across various places on the internet, be prepared to do some searching and reaching out in order to set everything straight. Remember: a business that seems to have everything in order will automatically rank higher with Google’s listings, so figuring out how Google gives good grades is a hugely-important part of ranking any website.

Getting Google to think people like you

Google can get you more visitors than any other website on the internet can. There’s only one problem: it needs to believe your website offers something positive and worth returning to.

One of the safest and most effective ways of accomplishing this is to get good reviews on your Google Places page. Of course, easier said than done – lots of people can’t bother writing online reviews and those that do often prefer sites like Yelp to Google’s own service.

You’ll have to decide whether you want reviews from actual customers or simply those that are ‘SEO-optimized’, to put it nicely. No matter how the review came about, as long as Google can verify your reviewers as actual people with a normal online profile, your business listing will go way up.

Ideally, since every additional review helps gain a bit more recognition, your reviews will come from several sources: customers who were asked to write them, friends and family who have gotten the same request and as ‘outside assistance’ by SEO specialists, if you can get it. Be wary of shady practices, though – Google’s always had a knack of catching up to these, and they’re only getting better by the minute.