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Google Local Expert Reveals Top Ten Ranking Factors for Google+ Local and Google Places Now
Googles various search methods for finding local businesses have been in continuous flux for five years. As of mid July almost all Google Places listings have been merged with Google+ Local Pages. What does this mean for Google Places rankings?
Unfortunately for Mr. Mihm and the others on his panel of top experts, Google decided to radically alter the game in May. With the introduction of Google+ Local, and later with the announcement that Google+ Local and Google Places would merge, the pieces on the chessboard got scrambled.
Now the merger process almost complete, and Google Local expert Randy Kirk has decided to venture out with his list of the top 10 ranking factors for the new merged Google search products. Kirk's states, "With a major hat tip to the top three guru's in the trade, Mike Blumenthal, David Mihm, and Linda Buquet, the list I have come up with rests heavily on their writings, but offers the prospective of a small business marketer first, and a online analyst second. All three of the noted gurus mentioned are outstanding marketers, but much of their online effort is written for those who come to the table with a lot of knowledge already."
Kirk continues: "For instance, I would maintain that the number one factor in ranking for Google Places is to understand clearly where the potential customer is going to find a company's Google Places Listings. The vast majority of search is still done on the blended and default "Everything"
What are Kirk's top ten ranking factors for Google+ Local and Google Places as of July 15, 2012?
1. Understanding the relationship of Google Places to the Everything Search Engine
2. Staying the course on Google's core principle: Provide Excellent, original, relevant content
3. Prove to Google that you are trusted with Lots of relevant citations from trusted sources
4. Reviews - No matter the effect on ranking, the effect on conversion is monumental
5. The quality, ranking and SEO of the website listed on Google Places
6. NAP - Company name, address, and phone number must be identical over entire web
7. Proper selection of the five categories in the Google Places listing form
8. The company must claim their Google Places Listing
9. Category keywords and location in website URL, title tag, headline, content, and footer
10. No black hat ever - Follow Googles Rules
Clearly there is a few paragraphs of explanation necessary to even come close to understanding the impact of many of these top ten. Kirk says he has been providing detailed DIY instruction on his Google Places Help blog since Google Places was introduced. Each of these ten is covered in full in posts during the first three weeks of July. www.GooglePlacesHelp.blogspot.com
A bit of a prediction from Kirk, "The new Google+ Page will undoubtedly become a strong ranking factor. Using the page for excellent content, written to attract the customer and the Google Bot will be something small business should be doing. We will keep you up to date at the blog."