Google Places Optimization Strategies


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Google Place Optimization

I recently conducted a Digital Marketing Strategies workshop for a group of business owners and every business represented in the room had incomplete or inaccurate Google Places data. What was also interesting was that no businesses in the group had more than 15 reviews posted on Google Places.

Once I showed the business owners how easy it was to fix their profiles and setup a process to get customers to post reviews, they were very thankful. They were not aware of the importance of Google Places but now they do so and they can inspect their listings.

Knowledge is power.

From this experience, I decided to remind all members of this community to run through this checklist and make sure that you are leveraging the full potential of Google Places. Let me know what you found when you looked at your Places page, and share with me if this checklist helped you. You can send a note to [email protected].

Google Places is Powerful Free Advertising

Google Places is the best free advertising resource for any business to increase online visibility, referral website traffic, and phone calls. Business listings in major metro market will be displayed tens of thousands of times a month! Despite this opportunity, many business owners have not completed and optimized their Google Place data.

Google Place Data Profile

When you login into your Google Places Dashboard account it will tell you what percentage complete your data is currently. Make sure you edit your profile to achieve a 100% complete status.

Google Places Optimization (GPO) however goes further than having your profile data 100% complete.

You also want to optimize the consumer experience and enhance your brand message when consumers read your page. You also want to increase the opportunity to get MORE clicks to your Places Page than local competitors.

Google Places Optimization Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure that you have your Google Places listing optimized. These tips apply to all businesses, and I have provided some specific advice for car dealers.

  1. Enter your business name, address, and phone number so that it matches the primary information associated with the local phone company. Do not use a tracking number unless all professional registries and all business directories are using this number. For car dealers, your primary local phone number should also be used on your OEM directory listing.
  2. Make sure that you enter your website address and test the link. You would be surprised to see how many listings still have or the OEM website.
  3. Use all five “business category” tags, which include your franchise brand and all services you offer. For example, if you are a Toyota dealer, make sure you pick “Toyota Dealer” as one of your 5 categories.
  4. Complete the “Additional Information” section of the profile to include brands of goods that you sell and related services that include: tires, oil change, brakes, transmission service, and of course used cars.
  5. Load 10 photos and stay away from photos of your building or your logo. Photos should show happy customers. For car dealers this means photos of customers taking delivery of a car, your work in the community, OEM awards, or any brand enhancing images. Photos that will make people smile! Photos of your building will not help to engage your audience.
  6. Load 5 videos and we recommend that three videos be actual customer testimonials. The remaining two videos can be a welcome to the dealership message and the final video to invite consumers to service their car at your dealership.
  7. Set your “Service Area” beyond the default range of a 20-mile radius around your store location. For most dealers the range can be comfortably increased to 50 miles. Dealers near bodies of water can create a custom shape for their service area. If you need help, you can refer to this article I wrote on custom service areas.
  8. Setup a process to get your customers to post reviews directly to Google Places. Your goal should be to get at least 30 reviews a month to be posted directly on Google Places. The Google Places App can help you easily achieve this goal. Between sales and service there are hundreds of customers that are completely satisfied with your dealership so ask them!
  9. Invest $25 a month to enhance your Google Places listing with a Google Tag. This yellow highlighted graphic can advertise your monthly specials. Also, set a process to update your specials each month on Google Places because they will automatically expire in 30 days.
  10. Once your have a strong number of positive reviews on Google Places, consider spending money to advertise your high marks from consumers using . Let your customers speak for you and drive more traffic to your website.

The good news is that once all of these tips are implemented, you can track the increase in impressions, clicks, and activity using Google Places activity reports. So login to your Google Places account and run through this checklist today.

I’ll be sharing more ways for business owners to leverage free online advertising tools and search optimization strategies at the 2nd Annual Automotive Marketing Boot Camp in Orlando, April 16-18th.

I hope you can be part of that experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch is an 20+ year veteran of the direct marketing industry. His career has spanned both management and technology roles. He is known for his expertise in consumer data warehousing models as well as digital marketing strategy. He is the author of four books on marketing and his latest book is entitled "Mastering Automotive Digital Marketing."


  1. Hi Brian,

    Great info, I think even fewer businesses here in Australia have switched on to Places…

    I was wondering what you meant by “The Google Places App can help you easily achieve this goal” (re: customer reviews)

    I assume you’re referring to the iPhone or Android app? How would you use this with your customers or to help create a system for reviews?

    I’ve just set up a Places page for a client and am keen to get some of their many happy customers to review it. Any tips would be great!




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