Google has always kept their cards close to the vest regarding local ranking factors. They never get into specifics.
Also, I’m not alone when I say that the “description” or “introduction” field of your Places page doesn’t seem to influence your rankings for the better (although extreme keyword-stuffing can get you penalized).
It’s for those two reasons I’m puzzled by a pair of emails that apparently came from the Google Places support staff.
Dan Hiestand of Chico Car Care kindly forwarded me these two emails yesterday. I’m including them in their entirety, just so you have context. (Italics added.)
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:08 AM
Subject: RE: [7-7403000004210] Google Local Help
This is Juan with Google at our Ann Arbor, Michigan location. I hope you are having a great day!
Thank you for letting us know about the issue with the category being incorrect.
I went ahead and made the changes to reflect: auto repair shop.
You may need to give it up to 24 hours to see the changes on your end. If for some reason the changes are not showing after 24 hours, then please respond back to this email and I will have our technical team look into this for you.
I took a look at your listing, and I wanted to suggest something that may potentially help your listings ranking, You can add more content to your introduction using valid content that is relevant to your business. Its very important to link parts of your website to the introduction, and if you have any kind of social media website such as Facebook or Twitter we recommend that you link those into your introduction as well.
I hope this information has been useful! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Have a great day!
Just a fluke? I don’t know. Here’s email #2:
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:16 AM
Subject: RE: [6-5472000004265] Google Local Help
Thank you for contacting Google My Business! My name is Tiffanie, I am a part of the Ann Arbor, Michigan support team.
I received your email and I would be more than happy to assist you! Per your email I understand that you would like your categories updated.
I have removed air conditioning repair from your list of categories, and Auto Repair is already listed there. It is important to log into your account and make sure this category has been removed to ensure the information does not revert back.
Since you took out the time to contact us I would like to provide you with some tips for your Google Plus Page. By editing your introduction field to include more products or services that you offer can make your page more relevant to more types of searches and be a positive influence on your ranking.
For your page specifically I highly recommend you optimize your introduction section. I see that you have a few sentences about your description. This is a great start and it’s very informative to potential customers who visit your page.
The system actually uses this section when it’s looking for potential search terms to trigger your page. It’s always a good idea to add relevant phrases. Including search terms and even location terms gives you a much better chance to show for these specific phrases.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding this issue please feel free to respond to this email.
Weird. The emails seem to be from Google, all right.
What do you think?
Do you think those Google support-team members accidentally said to much? Do you even believe them?
Have you gotten similar feedback from Google Places support?
Please leave a comment!