One of the new announcements from Google today involved what they’re calling “Favorite Places” — more than 100,00 businesses across the U.S. have earned that title and are receiving window decals so they can brag about it. The window decals have a QR code that can be scanned by certain smartphones, and doing so will bring up that business’ mobile Google “place page.” Greg Sterling explains the Favorite Places announcement on Search Engine Land.
This, to me, is really just a bragging point for the time being. If you own a storefront on Main Street in Anytown, USA, only a very small percentage of the people that walk by your window will have the smartphone and barcode-reading software required to play this game. But just being named a “Favorite Place” and having Google’s endorsement in your window can be quite a Big Deal. So there’s an obvious question….
How do you become a Favorite Place?
Google’s help pages say this about how Favorite Places are chosen:
“The list was determined based on the popularity of a business’ Local Business Center listing, as determined by how many times Google users looked for more information about a business, requested driving directions to get there, and more. Google users “decided” based on their actions, and we sent the decals.”
Check out that first sentence: “…based on the popularity of a business’ Local Business Center listing….” In other words, Google is choosing local businesses as “Favorite Places” based on a ranking system for Local Business Center listings.
This ranking system is called PlaceRank, and this is where I step aside and point you to this blog post by Ash Nallawalla: How to SEO for Google PlaceRank. In that post, Ash Nallawalla introduces the PlaceRank concept and digs into a Google patent about how it works. Must-reading for the local SEO crowd.