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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Google Places: The Effect of Citations on the Outside MAP Placement

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This is directed to SEO and marketing consultants looking for a substantial lead over their competition. It's also for all business owners and marketing managers who are frustrated with their inability to rank their Google Places listing as high and higher than they want.

You have not skipped a word in this blog.  You have more reviews than any contenders.  You have a 100% rating on Places in terms of listing completeness.  You have an active coupon.  You have listed your company with the same name, address and phone number on an endless list of other Local Search Engines. The name address and phone number are even on the home page of your website.  After all you've done, you're still not showing up on the MAP of Google Places.

Why do you need those things first before worrying about citations?  It's because every one of those things is more likely to get you to your goal, and because the advice on citations is boring, and is just barely going to add to your "Google points."

So why do it?  Because those last few points could be exactly what you need to make that last move up.

With that huge introduction finally out the door, now we should probably define citation.  A citation any time another website mentions you, especially if they are credible in your same field.  Say that you're a bakery, and you get a write up in the local paper declaring you as the best bakery in town. The online version of that paper will then include your name and hopefully your URL, thus you gain credibility.  These are citations.

The next step is to go to every listing ranking higher than you.  Take a look at the citations that Google is showing as per the picture of my example listing shown above.  What you want to do now is see if you can get the same sources' citations.  In one case it might involve something as simple as being added to some sort of directory.  In another case you may need to convince someone to do a write up on you.

So here's the good news and bad news. The bad news is there is absolutely no guarantee that Google will pick up your citation even after all of this hard work,  but they probably will.  The good news is that most of your newly acquired citations could have benefits in their own right, and may also help the position of your website, blog, or other URLs that are mentioned in these citations.

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