Firstly: Google’s Local Business Centre is now called Google Places.
Here’s something all SMEs should know… Google Places is a fantastic opportunity to present your business in the organic sections of a SERP.
You may already have noticed when making your own searches that more and more local business results are appearing in search engine results pages (SERPS).
Just try searching for “barber” in Google, to see what I mean.
So how effective are these links? Would you, for example, be happy to select from a business listing when conducting an online search?
If the answer’s yes then you’re like millions of other web users worldwide who use local search to find what they are looking for. Yet this is often a forgotten element of an SEO agency‘s search strategy or and SME’s plan for search engine optimization.
As always, search results are based on relevancy so take the time to add some relevancy to your listing.
Optimising your Google Places listing might just provide the quick-win, page 1 visibility you want and help you to propel from a lost ranking position to smack bang in front of your customer. This is especially true for businesses with significant marketplace competitiveness. (The example term of “barber,” used for this blog, was searched for 74,00 times in May 2010 alone!)
Here are my 15 tips for your ‘maxing’ traffic from Google Place listings:
1. If you haven’t claimed a listing and it exists, you should claim it.
2. If you’re setting up a listing for the first time, critique and select your business category carefully.
3. Include a keyword relevant to your business in addition to the business name shown in the listing.
4. Wherever possible don’t have multiple businesses name variations under the one address.
5. It is recommended that your primary phone number listed is a land line.
6. Business proximity to the phone number’s area code can be important. E.g. (0161 Manchester)
7. Avoid using post boxes as the primary business address for the listing.
8. Include your company website.
9. If you have a suitable email address for customers to contact you, then add it in.
10. Post a relevant and unique description that succinctly explains your business’s purpose.
11. Shortly within the UK you will be able to tag your listing allowing special coupons to be offered within your listing. This is great for smart phone users. As they scrolls over the tag your business coupon appears. (See C)
12. Google is paying significant attention to reviews these days so ask your customers to write some genuine reviews.
13. Try to include hours of operation, public transport information and methods for payment.
14. Make sure you post several photos. Even try adding video. (Remember Google runs You Tube).
15. Users may change location within a SERP result, so adopt some or all of these options to maximise your opportunity for accepting the local results traffic. See below for the (change location) example or try it yourself.