Many small local businesses often get confused by what search engine optimisation could possibly do for their local business. When you search for a business in your local area, you most likely pull out your smart phone and search on Google. For example, searching for “Bakery” using my current location brings up these results.
Google places is incredible powerful, it tells me where I can find my local bakeries, tells me what services each bakery offers and then provides me with directions to the bakery I choose.
The only problem is that, all of your competitors appear in the same space, pop up higher than you in the listing or even completely push you down to the second or third page. This is where Local SEO comes in.
You need to stand out from your local competitions, and usually they aren’t doing much in the way of local SEO either, so it’s not going to cost you an arm and leg to outrank your competitors. The earlier you do it – the better. Get a jump on your competitors – Get Found with local SEO!
9 Tips to improve your listing
1. Claim and Verify
Is your business already on Google places and you didn’t submit it? It’s very common for Google to automatically add your business, but you will not have control of it. To take control of your listing, go to the listings page and press on businesses owner? This will allow you to take control of your listing.
2. Optimise Keywords
You’re allowed to have up to five categories (or keywords) in your Google listing. These are the words you want to come up for when people are searching you. Chose wisely and do some research on these, find out what people are searching before you put in any odd word. Google’s keyword tool can help with your research. Also don’t bother putting your business name here, because you will already appear based on your name.
Get a website for your business. Your places listing links to your website and the better your website the more qualified your listing will be. Even the most basic website can dramatically improve your business and Google listing.
4. Geographic Optimisation
Concentrate on your businesses geographic position and surrounding areas. Google Places is a local listing so focus on targeting your local area. Also be realistic in your service areas.
5. Be Seen
Be seen! Funny enough Yellow Pages still actually serves a purpose. Yellow pages and other directories feed information to Google and can be freely submitted to. Add your business and website to Yellow Pages, True Local, Start Local & Hot Frog to increase the strength of your places listing.
6. Get Social
Some of you might cringe when I say Facebook or Twitter, so if you have a y-gen member lazing around your house, you might want to use that resource. Facebook and Twitter are great for promos and general buzz, and they also help your Google listing out. If Google sees people are talking about your business, then it recognises that your business is more important and pushes it up the listings. Just remember that the Internet is a “tell me” not a “sell to me” platform.
7. Stay in Control
Always stay in control, the best thing about online marketing is statistics; you can see exactly how your listing is performing with the inbuilt stats Google gives you. Here is an Italian Restaurant in St Kilda analytics results for the month.
You can see from the screenshot above just how powerful a good listing can be for your business. Make changes to your listing based on the stats, business stats were invented so you could make better-informed decisions… so use them!
Reviews have become an important factor to your Google places ranking. Encourage your visitors to write reviews about your business, Google loves a good third party review, as do potential customers.
You have the ability to add offers and promos to your Google places so use them. The more complete and current your listing is the more credit Google gives it. Your customers will love it also if you have current promos on your places listing.
To get found online is one of the most important marketing your business will do today. It doesn’t matter what you are selling and where you selling it your business needs to get found online. Best of all local SEO is a cost effective way of advertising your business.