Before the internet, there were various methods of finding local clients like newspapers, TV, direct mail, and word of mouth.
While some of these methods still work in certain instances – or even as additions to your ad campaign – it is clear that the business promotion landscape has moved online. In working with my clients, I have found that it is sometimes faster to get ranked locally than in global search engines. And oftentimes that good local ranking can cause you to rank higher in other broader search properties.
Local Search SEO is comprised of 3 different aspects: Listings, Citations and Directories, and Review and Check-in Sites. There are many things you can do for local search SEO results. In fact, the amount you can do sometimes feels overwhelming. So for today I will start with what I believe to be a very effective first step, and it should only take you an hour or less to complete!
Google Places is a local listing that is free, effective and easy to use and get noticed. Today on Google search results, Google produces the top 10 listings with addresses (we call this the 10-pack). We want you to be in the 10-pack!
Google Places has enormous advantages over other websites. Some of the benefits are that your location will appear as a place on Google Maps. Users will also be able to view and write reviews of your business right on your listing. Google places also has larger listings, allowing you to target your market better using relevant keywords, and connect meaningfully with your audience using photos of your business, your staff and your products. While this may work better for brick-and-mortar businesses, if you have a virtual business you are not precluded from using this tool. The simple solution is to rent out an office space or location for a nominal fee every month, and then use that address as your listing address.
Prior to creating your listing, you should be well armed with three categories of research information.
The three research categories are:
- Competing businesses
- Sponsored Ad Results
There are many free keyword tools available to you online, including the Google keyword tool. But the fastest way to do your research is to open your favorite browser and type in the words that you
would use when searching for the product or service that your business sells. Take note of the keywords that your competitors use, and the categories where there are many sponsored ads. See these as opportunities, write them down, and refer to them when claiming your Google Place.
Click “Get Started” on Google Places
Enter your Phone Number
Google will search to see if it already has any information on your business. Assuming Google hasn’t already listed you, give Google all the information it needs for a full and complete listing. If you are already listed, then claim your listing, and complete the information. Make sure you complete all fields.
You’ll be prompted for information about your business. Enter as much information as feasibly possible. In the simplest terms, to create a basic listing, Google requires the following information:
- Business name
- URL address
- Phone number
- Business description
- Business hours
- Business category
Make sure you upload photographs of your company, your staff, your products, and anything else you can find of relevant visual interest to the viewer.
When you have completed your listing, Google will need to verify it to make sure you’re the owner of the business. They can do this by phone if your phone number that you entered is the same as the listed phone number. Alternatively, they can do it by sending a code on a postcard to your mailing address.
It’s that easy! So take an hour and claim your Google Place today! I can’t wait to see you in the 10-pack!