So you’re here to find out how you can boost your position in the Google local listings, increase your visibility, and start getting found by more clients, right?
I’ll show you exactly how in a minute, but first it’s important to understand why.
First, You Should Know This…
Unfortunately, over the last few years Google has frustrated and confused business owners with their frequent updates and changes to their Google+ platform. What was once referred to as Google+ (Google Plus) and originally created with the intention of becoming a popular social network, now incorporates 3 individual entities in one.
These are Google+, Google Maps, and Google My Business.
What does this mean to you?
It means that you can control what is seen on your Google+, Google Maps, and Google My Business Page all in one place. These three are one in the same now and because of this, ensuring they’re all consistent is more important than ever to your business.
It’s no secret that close to 80% of all consumers start their internet activity from search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, and Google, when looking for products or services.
With Google controlling approximately 70% of all search engine traffic, it makes sense that by increasing your visibility on Google, you will also increase your exposure to potential clients searching for your services.
Google’s ultimate goal is to bring back the most relevant, useful content to a user who searches a specific “keyword” or query. This is normally based on two factors.
Those two factors are:
In their efforts to do that, their algorithms take into account hundreds of factors that determine where a website should show up in the search results for a particular keyword.
Their “local listings”, however, are not actual websites but “places” on a map, or particular business listings. These Google listings are connected to a Google+, Google Maps, and Google My Business page. They’re one in the same but they also have a different set of rules when it comes to being ranked higher as compared to the organic listings that display 10 results per page.
Until recently, there were seven businesses listed here, now Google only displays three. We’re not sure why but we do know that since four businesses are no longer getting visibility, they will have to find an alternative means of advertising (Google AdWords anyone?).
Why Should You be Leveraging the Power of Your Google Business Page?
We already know that most people use search engines when looking for a service or product, and the majority of those people are using Google when doing so. So why not make it easier for them to find you?
As you can see from the image below, having your business displayed in the local listings can do wonders for attracting new customers or clients. It positions you above the traditional ten organic listings (websites), and toward the top of the page. Some business owners are even getting clients without having a website like in the example below.
Often times, business owners aren’t even aware that they have a Google Plus or Business page. This can be due to the fact that there are data aggregators that collect information from across the web and Google can pull this information from those sites.
If you are aware that you have a Google Plus page for your business, you’re going to want to make sure it’s verified if it isn’t already.
Not sure if a page for your business exists? Here’s a few ways to find out.
Option 1: Do a search for your business name on Google. If the page exists it should appear on the right hand side of the search results. If not, it might be hidden in the search results but why waste time, try option 2.
Option 2: Search for the name of your business on Google. If you’re not one of the lucky 3, you’ll need to search a little further by clicking on the more places button.
Option 3: Search your business name on Google, then click Maps after the search results are displayed. You can also go to Maps before searching but be sure to use a city identifier to help narrow it down. For example “Brown’s Roofing Company Atlanta”. This will eliminate the chances of any national brands interfering with your results.
If you found it, great. If not, then you would need to add your business. It should have a link that looks like this below:
Once you’ve found your page through either method, you’ll first want to see if the page has even been claimed. If there’s an option to “claim this business”, that means your business is actually available and anybody could claim it. So hurry up and claim it if it’s yours!
After you claim your business you’ll be asked to confirm by entering the address of your listing. It’s extremely important to enter the correct information here because this is where Google will send your PIN to verify your business.
Google will also then create a Google+ profile for your business. This is where you can address any reviews or comments on your page. You should receive a postcard from Google within 1-2 weeks that contains a PIN code. After receiving the postcard, there will be a number to call and enter the PIN when prompted.
That’s it! Now your business is verified. At this point, you’re more than likely already a step ahead of your competitors. But if you really want an unfair advantage, you’re going to need to make sure your Google Business listing is optimized and filled out correctly.
That’s the intent of this post but it’s important to first make sure you can even have control of your page to make any adjustments. The following is what’s going to push you closer to those coveted top 3 positions, if not in the top 3. So you know how to find your page, let’s get into the meat of what’s going to help your business.
These 7 tips will increase the visibility of your Google local listing
1. NAP – The “nap”, as it’s commonly referred to, is the name, address, and phone number of your business. You would assume this the obvious, but it’s more important than you think. Remember those data aggregators I was telling you about? Well they can pull information from all types of directories so having a consistent NAP across the board will decrease the chances of confusing Google.
2. Citations – These are typically any business listings on websites or directories. Some examples are White Pages, Yelp, Super Pages, Bing, Yahoo, Manta, etc. Again, this is where you want consistency. All of your citations should have the same NAP, hours, website, social profiles, and any other information related to your business.
3. Category of Service – You might be surprised but often times, business owners don’t want to take the time to find their respective business category and end up leaving it blank. This isn’t doing you any favors. Make sure to choose the category that best fits your service. This will make it easier for potential customers or clients to find you.
4. Photos – You should always upload photos! A lot of business owners don’t take advantage of this section. Upload photos to your Google page and title them with related keywords. If you own a landscaping company for example, you can upload a photo of a job being done. You could then title that picture “landscaping Miami”. You want to optimize your titles but don’t overdo it. Alternate them so they’re not all the same. For example, you can use something like “Miami landscaping company”, then “landscapers in Miami”, followed by “Miami landscaping”.
5. About page – This section is important. Even though it’s not visible in the listings, Google does see it and it’s your chance to let Google know what your business is about (and how relevant it is to what’s being searched). You want to fill out your about page as much as possible with truthful and accurate information. If possible, use the first 50-60 words to fit any relevant terms in. A great way to start off would be…”Wild Splash Landscaping in Miami, FL delivers superior quality…”. Not only due you have your business name included, you also have the keyword “landscaping Miami FL” in the same sentence. These subtle changes can be be quite effective and increase your position in the local listings as well.
6. Connect your website – If you have an existing website, you’ll want to be sure to add the URL in the additional links section of your page. This will do two things. It will give your website a powerful link from Google, and it will also allow Google to see the content on your website and associate it with your business page, increasing its relevance. You should also add any links to social profiles in this section.
7. Reviews – Although reviews don’t seem to make much of a difference in ranking in the local listings as we can see businesses with no reviews in the top 3, and businesses with many 5-star reviews nowhere to be found. We do know, however, that having good reviews can be a sign of social proof and increase the trust, and click-through-rate to a listing, which leads to more calls. Encourage your customers and clients to leave a positive review on your Google+ page whenever possible.
If you follow these 7 tips I’m confident you will increase the position for your Google listing and be on your way to generating more leads.
If you’re still unsure about optimizing your listing on your own and would rather let me handle the work go here to learn more.
Until next time, keep growing.
Founder, Grow SEO