There appears to be a mistaken belief by some businesses that buying “Tags” from Google on their Google Places pages will help them in their ranking. This is not true. Once again, Google is doing the surprising thing that set them apart from all their predecessors by not exchanging cash for rankings.Just as they did with their original search strategy, Google is focused more on giving their ultimate customer, the searcher, the best results, whether the listed firms buy tags or not.Now you may want to buy these little yellow tags for the extra attention they may bring to your listing, particularly if you are not number 1 on the map. Just how much extra attention these small tags will bring is questionable at best, but probably not negligible.If you are not on the first page places map in your market, you would be better off to focus on getting there. Tags will not do it.What will is being sure that you fill out your Google Places page as fully as possible. This includes uploading all 10 images Google allows and at least one video. This single step will catapult many businesses to the top of their local listings because so few of their competitors know that it is important to do so.After merely claiming your page, this completion element appears to be the most powerful single thing you can do to rank. Make sure you take the time to put in your business hours, and the type of payments you receive. They count as well. In fact, you want to fill out as much as you can.Make sure you also offer a coupon, even if you do not have any specials to offer. Just make it a restatement of your standard pricing.There is also a line for additional information. Be sure to add something to it. It can be as simple as saying you offer quality service with a smile.These steps will all help you rank, not because they are difficult, but because so many of your competitors will not take the time to do so.Eventually that will change, so you want to also be sure to get yourself listed with as many other directories and relevant business lists as you can possible get listed on. Google calls these citations.These citations are not necessarily backlinks to your site. Google is good at searching the internet. They want to see that you exist in a lot of other places besides the Google Places Page. They have had long battles with internet marketers who have tried to use “Black Hat” techniques to grab the advantage a first place listing brings to a business. Thus they seem to be ranking those with stronger networks of citations higher. It is relatively easy to get ranked for a broad array of national sites. Eventually, the local listings at your Chamber of Commerce and local industry groups will play a larger role.The other increasingly important factor that will grow in importance will be the number of reviews your site gets. The smart business, will design an ongoing system to actively encourage positive reviews. These need not be on your Google Places page itself. In fact some industry experts think it is better that Google find these reviews on other sites like Yelp. And find them they will.So while there may be a place for buying tags for your business, don’t do it hoping it will help your ranking on Google Places. Instead if your ranking matters to you, and it should, start by making sure your listing is complete.