How to use QR Codes for Google Places
Today I want to show you how to use a not-so-new technology to help small businesses rank higher in Google Places.
When triggered, Google Places results achieve both great relevance and exposure. Trust me, if you type in “restaurants” you cannot avoid looking at them. If you were Pizza Hut, let’s say, you would want to have a listing on Google Places for any branch. And that’s exactly what they do.
The ranking on Google Places is affected by three factors: location, relevance, and prominence. Whereas there is little we can do about the location, SEO can help improve relevance and prominence. I am sure you all know everything already about relevance; therefore I will focus on prominence. Google reviews have proved very important, but how many of you have been asked/invited/begged to write a review by your favourite sandwich shop? Not many, I guess. You see, the problem is that an increasing amount of businesses use Google Places but very few of them let their customers know about it.
I have to admit; SOMETIMES I found one of these two window decals.
From a marketing point of view, the first one is disheartening, I cannot think of any customers eager to go online and rate this place after looking briefly at it.
The second one is a bit better, at least is interactive, I can scan the QR code and be redirected to the Google Places listing, but, as many things in SEO, the context is paramount. Think of yourself; would you stop in the cold to scan the QR code after you had a great dinner and cannot wait to get tucked up into bed? I doubt it.
QR codes are probably doomed to disappear in the next few years to make room for more engaging technologies, but at the moment, they still fit the purpose.
We want customers to write reviews on how epic their sandwich was, so why do we not make life easier for them? Here are some creative examples for Foodie, our favourite lunch stop here at Verve Search.
QR codes also have up to 30% error correction level, so you can play with them and make them more human-friendly by embedding a business logo.
There are just a few other rules that you need to remember:
1. Use a URL shortener. The shorter the URL, the higher the error correction rate.
2. If you are embedding a logo or an image (and please do it!), remember not to edit the highlighted patterns or your QR Codes readers will not be able to detect the code.
3. QR Codes in colour are not a problem, as the darker dots are the ones that are read. There should always be a contrast of 55% or above between background and foreground.
4. You should leave a quiet zone of four modules (or dots) around the QR Code, so that it can be read effectively.
Let’s spread the QR Codes love!