Optimise Your Resort for Google Places

Posted on Nov 4th 2010

Google Places, formerly known as Google Maps or Google Local is Google’s new way of giving more localised results.

After claiming your Google Places listing, your resort is now more likely to show up on Google search results.  For example, they’re looking for a “hotel on the Gold Coast”, results can possibly come with valuable and specific information about your exact location, opening hours, photographs, videos, your services and customer reviews. It also allows you to offer customers extra incentives to use your business in the form of coupons.

Many local searches on Google will now return a first page of results that includes a Google Map together with a list of up to 7 resorts that Google sees as matching the search query. So, for example, if a potential guest searches for ' Gold Coast Hotel’ Google will return results including a list of 7 local resorts and a map of the Gold Coast and the surrounding area with markers pinpointing the exact locations of each of the 7 resorts.

Since Google is now showing a more localised search, there is a stronger  need to optimise your content or website.  It is crucial to implement a local search, online review and SEO strategy to achieve prominent visibility in the results Google displays for location specific searches.

Google’s combination of organic and local search is a significant shift in the way the leading search engine displays information in search queries that trigger localised results. Many businesses that rely on organic traffic to drive revenue are going to be impacted by the changes in the coming days.

Businesses, resorts in particular, should closely monitor their search rankings, fully optimise their Google Place Page profile, and ensure that their business has a presence on the thousands of other second- and third- tier search engines and directories on the web (Yellowpages.com.au, Dlook.com.au, etc...) and online directories. To optimise a Google Places listing, companies should:

    * Include relevant Places categories.

    * Utilise long and short tail keywords, while avoiding duplication of keywords.

    * Create customised fields and informative business descriptions that utilise relevant keywords.

    * Integrate brand-approved photos and videos.

    * Fill out all applicable fields, including Hours of Operations, Payment Methods, and Service Areas.

    * Utilise Google Places Posts to keep information fresh and relevant.

    * Encourage online customer reviews (be aware of what sites are feeding reviews for your business category).

    * Respond to Google customer reviews through Google Places.

    * Ensure that your Google Places flag is located in the proper spot.

    * Add coupons and experiment with Google Tags.

If optimised correctly, resorts can have a competitive edge in Google Places.  In the end, resorts must find ways to capitalise on Google's changes and make it work to their advantage.


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