I've been reading quite a bit about G places optimization and I have successfully gotten a local business into #2 spot in places and their site on the first page for one set of their main keywords. Things are going well for them. But the more I read and the more I experiment I'm left with a question. Some studies and white papers on the ranking factors for local SEO/places like this one (including comments section) http://marketaire.com/2011/12/21/internet-marketing-local-seo-citations/ claim that NAP (Name Address Phone) symmetry of your citations is critical. Meaning if your company name( in this case a fake hair salon) on GP is "Sharppe Designs 123 fake ave, sometown" you should make sure that your citations all read exactly the same. Avoid citations like (Sharppe Designs hair salon, #9 123 fake ave NW, Sometown) This make a lot of sense to me. But here is the thing. Some Google places pages that I'm looking at have either optimized the name on the listing to contain keywords, or the business name listed has the keyword. So in the case above, keyword being "hair salon" the non optimized places page for "Doug's Hair Salon" ranks better than the highly optimized "Sharppe Designs" places page. Based simply on the fact that "Doug's Hair Salon" has the keyword in the business name. Now, people are not likely to change their business name to rank better in the SERP. So, what's the advice here? Reject the SEO gurus and change your GP listing to read "Sharppe Designs Hair Salon" even though the business name is simply "Sharppe Designs" on all citations and such? Or leave it as is and hope that symmetry matters more and that in time other SEO will overcome it. Right now IMHO it seems that keyword in business name ranks super high in places. Almost as much as Exact Match Domains used to. I see some guys are even keyword stuffing the listings title. Probably a short term gain.