Often small, local businesses face the question of how to grow visits to their websites, and ultimately, to their businesses. SEO and PPC are the traditional, proven ways that can boost site traffic and leads to all sites; but, for small and local businesses it makes great sense to start with local search optimization. Local search has been around for some time, but very few people know how to take advantage of this free Google feature.
The process begins by creating a Google Places account (this used to be called Google local listings). It is one of the best and easiest ways to increase your customer base economically, as it is absolutely free! Recently, Google launched Google Tags, a new advertising feature, which helps you stand out from the competition. It adds a small tag beside your listing in the Google Places “7-pack” and charges a small $25/month fee to use this feature.
Once you set up an account, be sure to fill out as much information as possible because it definitely affects the rank of your listing and adds more credibility to your business. You will have to “verify” this listing, which can be accomplished by entering a verification pin you can choose to receive by phone or mail.
Here are some important factors you should consider when optimizing your Google local listing:
• Put in your exact address and choose the most relevant business categories
• If the opportunity presents itself, use a keyword in your business name (for example: Brother & Sister Moving Company)
• Add photos and videos of your office and products/service. Many businesses aren’t currently taking advantage of this feature, so you can one up your competition quite easily in this respect.
• Offer a special coupon in your profile, which will encourage users to both visit your business and (hopefully) write a positive review on your Places page.
• Submit your business information on local search engines, local databases and local business listings
• Make sure your information on superpages.com and other local-based information sites and user review sites is accurate, as these citations will show up on your Google Places profile and are thought to improve the optimization of the profile.
Hope this information helps your local search optimization efforts. Let us know if this post helped you set up your Google Places account. Share your thoughts and experiences.