Is your property making the most of Google Places? If so, how does your page rank among local competitors? Place pages are more important than ever, especially when considering that a recent Google study found that 20% of all searches on Google are used to find location specific answers. Place pages - individual Web pages for businesses and points of interest - often dominate search results for location specific queries (e.g. “Chicago Hotels”), along with a Google Maps feature with red markers identifying locations. Google often blends Websites with their accompanying Place pages, as one search result (see below).
Typical hotel related Google Websites and Place pages in natural search results. Notice the direct links to reviews:
You can see where being among the higher ranked properties in Google Places can give your property extra exposure to travel shoppers.
Now, for the 10 tips to optimize your page…
1. Add as much detailed information as possible. Google Places listings are ranked by relevance to search terms entered, as well as location, among other factors. Make sure to completely fill out all of the fields in the edit page area. These include latitude and longitude, your property’s hours of operation, amenities and payment types accepted.
2. Fill out the additional, yet optional, information fields. These are broken up into two categories: “Label” and “Value.” Do not put full sentences into your label, instead use specific words. For example, add “Services: concierge, free wireless Internet” not “The services we offer are concierge and free wireless Internet.”
3. Take advantage of Google Tags. These tags allow your hotel to have a direct link to different locations such as a reservations page or photo gallery. The enhanced links are displayed as yellow highlighted icons. Google tags should not be mistaken for a sponsored listing, and they will not affect the ranking of Google Places listings.
4. Optimize your description. Write a description that will be helpful to your guests first, then Google… not the other way around. While describing your property, relevant search terms are key. For example, “Our South Beach hotel features cozy, yet spacious suites, generous amenities and an unbeatable location, framed by beautiful Florida beaches, entertainment and popular South Beach attractions.”
5. Select category listings carefully. Google allows you to select up to five categories. These offer your potential guests, and Google, a more detailed description of your property. You should only select categories that directly apply to your property though. Creating a lot of “custom categories” doesn’t necessarily help; in some cases doing this can hurt your ranking.
6. Keep your title simple. The title must be your property’s name. Don’t attempt to embed keywords into your title, as that is almost a certain way to ensure your property listing is never seen.
7. Use the “share an update” feature. These updates will be listed on your Google Places page for 30 days, unless you remove the event prior. This is another feature to reach out to potential guests, and add more information about your property, especially during special events, conferences, etc.
8. Include pictures and videos. Take full advantage of this, as Google allows you to upload up to 10 pictures and five videos. When you upload pictures and videos, it provides Google and your potential guests more information about your property. It also displays the photos next to your Google Places listing, which will naturally draw a potential guests’ attention.
9. Take advantage of the coupon feature. This is a good way to help drive traffic to your site. However, there are many guidelines for using coupons; the main rule is that the promotion should not be available without the coupon. Therefore, you would need to use a promo code or have them print the page to bring to the property.
10. Encourage online interaction with your guests. Ask that satisfied guests leave positive reviews on your Google Places page. If you do get a poor review, respond quickly and calmly. Positive reviews that are left on other reputable travel sites (including TripAdvisor) may also increase your Google ranking.
With four million businesses and growing currently listed on Google Places, the competition for page ranking, especially for hotel related searches, is constantly growing. If you do not currently have a Place page or your page is not appearing near the top of Google results, your property is missing a huge opportunity to reach travel shoppers... and direct bookings! With an expert in-house team or assistance from an experienced hotel Internet marketing company, your hotel will be able to truly capitalize on Google Places.
This article is brought to you by Vizergy.
VIZERGY, recognized as the global search marketing leader, provides Internet marketing for hotels, resorts, luxury apartments, condos and vacation rental communities. Established in 1998, VIZERGY offers results driven hotel Internet marketing strategies, digital design services e-commerce solutions, an online reservation system and GDS services. VIZERGY’s award-winning track record and proprietary software helps clients drive more revenue and aggressively compete online. For more information on VIZERGY and its services, please visit www.vizergy.com , call Amakeda Ponds at 904.389.1130 Ext. 179 or email Amakeda.email@example.com. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.
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