Question #3- Claiming Your Client’s Google Places Listing

Louise posted a question in the comments so I thought I would draft a quick answer. Here is here question:

this video was excellent – it explained many things about google places that I didn’t know.

I have a question – I have a local business directory site. Can I claim google places on behalf of business owners (if I have their permission of course), for the web address – can I direct it to their listing on my directory – as some of the businesses don’t have websites.

take care


Ok, lets take these questions in order.

#1. With permission you can claim a business on behalf of the owner. However, you need to be sure to do two things. Firstly, ALWAYS do so in a new Google Places account. Don’t mix multiple clients within 1 account. Doing so just puts all your clients at risk. We have been doing work with Google Maps for 5 years and have never had an issue. But, that is because we follow our own best practices so all our clients are safe and secure. Secondly, your client should have access to their account. It is their business and as such the account should be theirs to control. Many local seo providers use an account that they have setup as leverage to keep a client longer. To us that is simply bad business.

#2. You could direct a business that doesn’t have a website to your directory however a better practice is to build them a website that they own/control. We are able to create simple websites that our clients love (using WordPress so they can easily manage it) for $500, so the expense isn’t great to get them something that will really serve their needs.

Question #1 – What are Google Places Citations

This is the most common question I have received and it is also the most basic so I will answer it first.

The easiest way to think of a citation is as a reference to your business. In the offline world a reference won’t usually be a link. Instead it will be a mention of your business and will include the following:
1. Business Name
2. Business Location
3. Business Telephone Number

These don’t always need to be located together on the same page, but when Citations (within the context of Google Places Local SEO) are mentioned this is what is meant. Simple enough.

Local SEO Tip #3- Find the Best Keywords for Your Local SEO in Seconds

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves focus on two areas for local search. The first is a company’s geographic location, typically a city and state, and then their product or service specialties.

An example of a local search would be “doctors in New York City, New York”. The results from Google, or other large search engines would be a list of doctors within that geographic location. These search engines do not display only website links in a local search, they show a “local directory” result. This local directory filters the output to the top ten or less results, and displays a map location as well as a text summary – Google calls their version “Google Places”.

In order to rank well in these local search results, a company’s website – and their local directory listing – need to contain keyword phrases that the search engines determine are advantageous to internet users searching for local businesses. The local businesses also need to determine which of those phrases are searched for the most frequently, in order to attract the most customers.

Using the above example of a search for a doctor in New York City, we start with the service provider term: “Doctor”.

1. We enter that term into a free keyword ranking tool such as Google’s Keyword Ranking Tool found at the following website address.

These keyword tools show us actual results from real-world internet searches, so we do not have to guess what the most popular searches are.

2. Next we examine the results and look for related terms that have a large number of local monthly searches. The term “doctor” leads us to: “family practice”, “pediatrician”, “physician”, and the plural “physicians”.

3. These phrases should then be combined with the location “New York” to give us the final phrases to be inserted into our web pages and online directory listings. Examples would be “New York doctor”, “New York family practice” and “New York physician”.

Use these phrases in the business description fields of directories, in the title tags and content of your website, etc will help your online visibility. There isn’t enough space here to detail their proper use but, suffice it to say, once you have determined these keyword phrases, their effectiveness comes from using them frequently and in as many locations as possible.

You may be interested in this related article about Local SEO Analysis

Simple Local SEO Tip #2

Post your physical address in a HIGHLY visible place on your homepage. The footer is not the ideal location. The more visible the better as Google seems to acknowledge the location of your address and weigh it as more credible the more visible you make it. Of course, there is no need to put your location in 50 pt font. But, hidden in the footer is far from ideal.

The Importance of Analysis For Local SEO

Almost without fail the first thing we do for any new local seo client is to analyze their current site and previous promotion efforts. That is step 1. But, the valuable nuggets we find are not in that research but in our research of their competitors. This isn’t done in a format that client’s will be able to decipher in a report but for our work internally it is invaluable. Often we are researching competitors the client didn’t even know they had.

Let me explain.

Of course we dig into their market. That goes without saying. To do that we look at their town and what the other players are doing. We also look at the surrounding town and larger area. We then look at statewide players and those in their vertical but in other states. Finally, we look at those competitors that are nationwide. Most of my competitors stop their research at their client’s city. That is leaving all the valuable intel unused. That is the difference between ranking where you want and not. Or ranking in 2 or 3 months vs 9 months.

Now, this intel gathering is an absolute pile of work for my team. But, it lets us find what I call the ‘local seo pivot points’. Those things that are being done that are having the greatest impact. We can then leverage those to best our competitors.

Now, those of you who know me and know how I work know that we have a cadre of in-house tools to help us complete our work. This research is no exception. With those tools we often spend 10+ hours on this research Month 1 with a new client. Without those tools it would take 50+ hours and be impossible to do in the scale we do it. My investment in the technical capital of this business is my client’s gain.

With that said we are looking to release a related tool that will allow our client’s an ‘at a glance’ snapshot of some of this analysis. I won’t give away to many details until it is 100% ready for release, but I believe it will unrivaled in the industry. And the price (free) for clients can’t be beat.

The Travel Industry & Local SEO Is The Next Frontier

Gowalla-the local meetup service is getting into the travel game-in a small way.  They now know when you fly by looking to see where you have ‘checked in’ and they show it via some spiffy graphics.  So if I check in at dca and arrive at lax they will show it on the airport’s page.

I track these things however I don’t actually use the services.  The people who should know when I am flying, my family, friends, clients, know that because I tell them.  Not because a graphic on a page tells them.  I just, personally, have privacy concerns about this and similar services.  And I don’t need the ego boost to know I am “Mayor” of my local Starbucks to feel important.  But that is just me.

However, I will watch to see what moves they make in the industry so my clients are prepared and stay 1 step ahead.



The Most Misunderstood Facts About Ranking Your Small Business

There’s a lot of confusion out there about how search ranking impacts your small business. Don’t let these misunderstandings bog down your search marketing strategy.

Fact: Keywords are important
Mistake: Keywords are the most important factor in ranking
Yes, it’s vital to identify the right keywords for your business. Your site will rank better, and your visitors will feel comfortable when they see their own word choices reflected on your site. But if you’re worrying about keyword density, you should stop wasting your time. Instead, create readable content that actually communicates well. Don’t write for the search engines. Write for the humans.

Fact: Content is important
Mistake: Any content will do
Regular site updates improve your ranking, but too many business owners are stuffing their sites with boring, generic content that no one will ever want to read. Again, it’s all about making your site useful for the human visitors who end up there. Use fresh and authoritative content to establish your site’s credibility – not just with the search engines, but with your visitors and with thought leaders in your industry.

Fact: Links are important
Mistake: All links are created equal
If you’re working with an ethical SEO professional, you should already know that some link-building tactics are prohibited by Google and may get you banned from search results. “Link farms” – sites that exist only to generate lots of links in order to increase search ranking – are NOT a good idea. Remember that authoritative content we talked about earlier? Great content is the best foundation for building quality links. Promote your content through social media and work on connecting with other online authorities. Your ranking will see the benefits.

Fact: Ranking is important
Mistake: Search ranking is an end in itself
You know that searchers probably won’t find your site unless you make in onto the first page of Google. But when someone finds your site, that’s just the beginning of the process. Stop worrying so much about your ranking, and make sure your site delivers great results. Check that the page title, headings, and content on your pages are all consistent with the search term you’re targeting. Visitors need to find what they’re looking for on your site. Otherwise, they will leave in seconds. Your site analytics will tell you whether visitors are staying to look around or bouncing away without a second thought.

Fact: Traffic is important
Mistake: High traffic means high profitability
You could have 10,000 visitors a day, but your website won’t generate any revenue unless some of those visitors convert into customers. You should already know the most important thing that you want people to do on your site. Make your website easy to use by focusing your home page on that one key step in the sales process. Persuade your visitors to take that action, and you’re in business. Or, instead of directing all the traffic to your home page, consider having special landing pages for different search terms.

15 Things You Should Never Do At An SEO Conference

Conferences are a great way to pick up new ideas but more importantly are a chance to talk “SEO” without people around you screaming with boredom!  SEO conferences are generally laid back affairs but be aware the following 15 actions may get you blacklisted from any future events.

1. Try to Seduce SEO Chicks


There are two good reasons for this

1. Most are married to top SEO’s!

2. You’re an SEO not Neil Strauss

Yes.. its true that women exist in SEO but that does not mean you need to try that new chat up line you found in the latest seduction eBook you’re flogging.

Check out SEO Chicks!

2. Get Paralytic at the Bar

Any sensible person knows the bar is were the majority real SEO activity occurs during a conference. Attempting to drink your own body weight in Gin and trying to show off your new party trick is not a good idea.

3. Give Away that Amazing Niche with No Competition


You’re in an SEO conference, enough said.

4. Try and Sell Yourself or Your Services

bad salesman

If you try and sell links, domains etc all you’re gonna do is piss people off. You could try to sell your body but I know of no domain or link that is worth that feeling you feel in the morning.

5.“Do a Borat” (run naked through the conference)

naked borat

Yeah it’s funny on film, but if you try it for real like you’ll find it’s the quickest way to meet the security team and waste your entrance fee. I know what you’re thinking, but even if you get a thousand back links every one in the SEO world will have seen your wiener, not good if it’s a cold day!


6. Going on, and on, and…..


You’ve been asked to give a talk at an SEO conference, your is head spinning with ideas. You envisage Rand Fishkin looking up at you with awe and respect..all this is understandable. It does not, however, mean that you have to be one of those guys who spends two and a half hours explaining how you spent six months getting a pr 7 back link. Keep it short and to the point, after all isn’t that what you would want if you were listening?

7. Wet Yourself When You Meet an SEO Idol


Ok, I know you probably spend hours blog commenting, tweeting and following every word of Fiskin et al, but you have to remember that the Danny Sullivan’s and Michael Gray’s of the world are REAL PEOPLE and not demigods. Treat them as such.

image source

8. Suck Up to The Speaker

It’s only natural that you want to make an impression, we all do. Repeatedly telling the speaker how amazing he (or she) is, but endlessly waffling about how incredible their talk was is not the way to go about it. In fact you’ll probably find the buffet a very lonely place, as nobody will want to talk to you.

9. Over Use Slides With Too Much Text


The human attention span is very limited. To combat this, it’s best to think you are presenting to an audience of Homer Simpsons, keep the slides to a minimum (less than ten), use lots of pictures and go easy on the text. Even the most die hard nerd won’t read all your slides on maximising in the SERP’s if  you have 100 slides packed with 10 bullet points per slide.

10. Be That “Question” Guy


You know the one…that guy who asks loads of pointless questions over and over….No? Then you’re him. If you feel the need to ask a question about what makes an article link bait for the 169th time, just take a second and feel the hatred emanating your way!

11. Say in passing “ SEO is not Rocket Science”


Do you remember the stink Dave Pasternack caused when he said that “SEO is not Rocket Science?” It’s unlikely to earn you any friends if you start spouting out this phrase and it’s likely that you will find an SEO competition for your name when you get home!


12. Turning up stinking like some who hasn’t left the “office” in 48 hours


An SEO spends many an hour on their computer, however you’re not in your mom’s basement any more, and the conference goers aren’t going be forgiving as she is. Get in the shower!!

12. Whilst having a talk with Danny Sullivan give him a nudge an wink and say “ yeah but, SEO is all snake oil ;)..”


I’d be nervous, hell we all would, but try and crack this joke and I’d bet my bottom dollar he isn’t going to laugh.


14.  Ask Danny Sullivan for a History of SEO Whilst He is Waiting for the Toilet

toliet queue

There are a few times when a man needs peace and quiet, waiting for a porcelain throne is one of them. Leave him (and anyone else) in peace!

15. Be Someone You’re Not

Purple Suit

Don’t try and be cool by wearing a purple suit and shades for the conference, you’ll just end up looking like a weirdo. Just be yourself, share some ideas, make some friends and above all have fun!

Google Maps Citation Service- Google Places Local Directory Submission

Every day we get leads who want us to take over their SEO for their business.  However, we also get contacted by business owners who are doing ok and would love to be doing better, but who can’t afford a monthly budget for local seo.  We understand and have come up with a service that gets our clients amazing results and is something that doesn’t have a very high cost.

A large part of Google’s Algorithm to determine who shows up next to the map in those precious top 7 results has to do with citations.  Essentially, the more people they see ‘talking’ about your business the more trust they give your business–and the higher they rank you.  Of course, this is an overly simplified version.  But you get the idea.

For our clients we do 10, 20, 30+ hours of work month one to maximize their results, get them citations.   We do everything possible…and then do a bit more so that their competitors can’t catch up.  And they don’t.  But there is a cost associated with that.  For most clients the cost is very reasonable, usually they make it back with their first new client or customer.

However, one part of that initial work we do is to make sure our client’s data is shown in every relevant business directory and aggregator (think Yelp, Yahoo, InfoUSA, etc).  Almost without fail they see a bump in business because of this.  Now, for our full clients we have a few valuable tricks that we do to really push things however the submissions themselves help quite a bit.

We submit to over 50 sites for clients however there are 20 that we consider to be the most valuable.   For a limited time we will submit your site to those top 20 sites.  If you were to do this yourself it would probably take you 10 hours.  Plus, you would have no way of knowing which 20 are the best use of your time.  We have a system in place where we can do it in much less time so you see results quickly-usually within 10 days.

The price for this is only $297-One Time-and depending on demand that price is likely to rise.  To get started just click the Buy Now button below.  We will contact you within 1 business day to get your details and to get started.  And, if your results are like our client’s results you should see progress within weeks.

This is a great ‘thank you’ we just received:

Another Testimonial From A Happy Client:
“Jonathan has helped me acheive and maintain the #1 position on Google Maps for the keywords in my industry when no other SEO provider could. Many of them were able to get me there, but staying there was the problem. I would be at # 1 for 1 week, maybe 2, then I would drop back down again. Jonathan’s exceptional performance and expertise in his field has landed me in the # 1 position 10 weeks ago, and still standing strong. He has very rapid response times each time I communicate with him, and his customer service is second to none. I HIGHLY recommend Jonathan for those who are serious about their search engine rankings. After trying other SEO providers for the last 18 months, I have found that Jonathan is by far the best and well worth his reasonable investment.”

-John C. in Lexington

So, if you want results like these please order below. Or contact us to discuss a more comprehensive monthly marketing plan.

Number of Citations

P.S. If you have any questions or want to make sure this is right for your business, just drop me a line using the Contact Page at the top.


Does Call Tracking Really Hurt my Ranking?

There has been quite a bit of discussion as to whether call tracking really does hurt a business’s local search results. Though this is not a cut and dry issue, from what I have seen it does hurt results for any of my local seo clients that have tried it.

Local search is still in its infancy and companies like Google are working hard to come up with valid and effective ways to rate the credibility of business listings found online. At this time, one of the most important factors is still consistency. Since matching a business’s name, phone number and address is one of the most important indicators of consistency, having multiple phone numbers for the same business confuses the search bots and leads to a lower ranking. Though this is not a perfect system and is likely to improve in the future, for now it’s the only one we have.

There are some things businesses can do to track their advertising success without resorting to call tracking. Though it has been temporarily discontinued (pending improvement one would think), Google previously offered a widget for websites that would connect a customer through the businesses Google voice number. This allowed businesses to determine from where the call originated. This isn’t a cure all since it only works for online advertising and probably only more advanced computer users will utilize the feature.

Another technique that many businesses are using that has proven effective is the use of coupons with special tracking codes. Each advertising source will have a coupon for a service with its own unique code that can easily be tracked. This approach has the added benefit of adding a way to attract customers. At the present time, if you really need to track customer origin, this is a good option.

Many marketing companies still insist that they can offer call tracking without affecting local search but, as of right now, I have never seen it work. As local search matures this will change. Also, Google and the other major search providers are constantly improving search algorithms and coming up with new ways to determine popularity and validity.

Local SEO Competition Citation Analysis

KFC Vs Auntie Ji (His Chinese Rival)

Businesses have been spying on one another as long as business has existed.  Everyone wants to know what the competition is doing, especially if they seem to be doing it better.  The internet has revolutionized how businesses find and attract customers.  Local business searches have made it necessary for a business to be listed online if they hope to corner their share of the market.  Now it’s just not enough for Joe’s Pizza Parlor to know what newspapers Fred’s Pizza Shop is using to attract customers or where Fred gets his ingredients.  Joe must also know where on the virtually endless World Wide Web any mention of Fred’s Pizza Shop exists.  This is where new age competitive analysis comes in while doing local search marketing.

In its simplest form, competitive analysis simply means finding out exactly what a competitor is doing and how that competitor goes about doing it.  Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can then compare their practices with yours to decide who is doing what the best.  If the competition has an edge, this knowledge will help you catch up.  If your strategy is better it will help you stay ahead.

For local search listings, the most important factor is business name.  We’ll cover that in another post.  The second most important is citations.  As we have discussed before, citations are references to the business’s name, address and phone number.  Considering the importance of citations in local rankings, it would stand to reason that a competitor that ranks higher than you will have more citations or better citations.  What you now need to do is find out where they are.  Once you know, you can go about getting your business listed there as well.

We have some in-house software that will determine that for us, and we use it to benefit our local seo clients.  However, there is some less sophisticated but still workable software available for purchase.  Competitive analysis software snoops around the net by backtracking from the Local search listing.  It can uncover obscure mentions of a business on blogs, online newspaper ads, and in some cases even tweets.  There are several versions of such programs, some of which are available as freeware.  If you are a small business owner who prefers to take matters into your own hands, such software can help you maximize your local search optimization and help your business stay ahead in the competitive world of internet advertising.  We will dig more into this specifically in an upcoming article.

Google Local Business Center Enhancements

Google business listings is a great way to promote your business.  In today’s internet dependent market, if you are not listed with Google business listings, you are giving your competition a serious advantage when it comes to advertising and business exposure.  Now that the majority of businesses are listed in the Google listing directory, you need an edge.  A recently introduced service being offered in some markets allows businesses to sign up for additional features that they can use with their business listing.  For the small fee of $25 per month, businesses have access to a service called Google Local Business center enhancements.  This service allows the addition of photos, videos, coupons, menus, reservations and several other features and highlights aspects of the listing.  Businesses with enhanced features are given a yellow flag next to their listing, which stands out quite well.   Though purchasing this service won’t automatically increase your page rank or local listing rank, it is a great way to promote your business, which will eventually enhance your ranking.


This is a great way to highlight the products you offer or the work you do, depending on your business.  Your listing will show an icon alerting them that there are photos available.  Once they click on your listing, the photos will be there for them to see.  While you can add photos with the standard free account, they won’t be highlighted in your listing.


Online videos are a great way to supplement TV ads for bigger businesses and are an economical way to provide video ads for smaller businesses.  You can be as creative as you want and place the videos for free on YouTube.  With a local business center account, your listing will provide direct links to these videos for customers to view.  Since YouTube hosts these videos for free, they can easily be changed as often as you like, promoting daily sales and specials.


Google teamed up with coupon distributor Valpak to offer the option of online coupons.  Businesses with local business center accounts can create custom coupons to lure customers to their listing.  Many websites crawl the internet looking for coupons.  Having coupons is a great way to get your listing mentioned by more sources, which we by now know is directly related to your local ranking.  Once you have coupons available, this will show up next to your local listing, prompting customers to click on your listing as opposed to businesses without coupons.

If there were any doubts left in your mind at all about Google’s genius for advertising, enhanced business listings should squash them.  In the beginning, the enhancements will stand out and businesses that have them will get noticed.  Eventually, more businesses will sign up for the service to stay competitive and Google will once again have turned a free service into a cash cow.  Though these enhancements are only available in certain markets at this time, don’t wait to start planning your strategy.  You need to understand everything that business center enhancements have to offer and begin developing appropriate content now.  Google local business listings are here to stay and if you are serious about your business’s success, this should be an important part of your advertising and marketing strategy.

Reach The Google Maps 7 Box Quickly By Analyzing Competition

Now that you’ve added your business to the Google business directory and secured your spot on Google maps, your next step is to climb the ladder of the Google local search results.  When you search for your category of business in your area, you are able to find your listing, but only after clicking the “+” to show more listings.  That’s just not good enough.  You know that most people will choose one of first listings, referred to as the lucky 7 [7 box], and that’s where you want your business to be.  Here’s how to gather a little intelligence and use your competition’s success to enhance your ranking.

When Google business listings first appeared, 10 results were listed to the right of the map on the initial search page.  Later, Google decided to reduce the number of results it highlighted to 7 and add more information to the listing.  That’s great news if your business is listed in the top 7; it’s terrible news if you were numbers 8 through 10.

After analyzing your own listing and extracting any helpful information Google analytics can offer you, the next step is to take a look at what makes your competition so successful

The first step is to simply check their information in the Google listing.  If you click on “more info” you will see any reviews that have been linked to the business.  Reviews play an important part in Google’s algorithm.  Even negative reviews will help with you listing ranking, though you probably want to avoid them.  When you check the source of the reviews, you will often see that they come from review sites such as or a similar niche review site.  If your business has no reviews listed on the site, do something to change this.

In traditional SEO, back linking still holds the top spot in ranking.  For local business listings, then new king is citations.  Each time the Google bots find a mention of your business by name, address and phone number, your business gets a point.  Though Google won’t confirm it, most experts agree that the more important the source, such as Yahoo, BBB, etc., the more points the citation will bring you.  Software is available that will allow you to track all the citations of your competition.  Like reviews, if you find a competitor’s citation on a site that doesn’t list your business, then you should try to get it added.

Another technique is to check the keywords that the competition is using to get hits on their site.  Find the sites that use the same keywords that your site does and check their page rank.  This will give you a good idea of how hard it will be to overtake them in the listing results.  If your competitors have a page rank of 1-4, then you should have no problem optimizing your site to overtake them.  If their rank is a 5, then you’ll [likely] also need a high page rank to get ahead of them.  By checking the page rank of the lucky 7, you can get an idea of what you are up against.  Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to have a website to have a Google business listing, but those businesses that don’t are at a serious disadvantage.

Some of my competitors claim that they can get your business a top ranking in 30 days-I actually can.  And one of my first activities is competitive analysis just like I just described.  Once I know what the competition is doing, I do it better.  You can learn the same tactics and soon you’ll see your listing appearing in the lucky 7 and should see and improvement in business.

Google Maps Optimization- Citations

Google’s search algorithm places a heavy importance on the number of incoming links to your site. These citations come from other sites that list yours and provide a direct link to your pages. For local search engine optimization based off Google Maps listings, the number of pages that simply mention your business’s name, address and phone number is also an important factor. If the citation contains a link to your site, all the better, but it’s not necessary. These references are called citations and can play a tremendous role in your local page ranking. Often these sites are local directories such as those maintained by newspaper websites or local search engines found in larger markets. If you want your listing to appear in Google’s coveted “7 box,” then you need your business to be listed by as many sources as possible.

Not all referring sources or citations are the same. The more reputable that Google believes the referring site to be, the greater weight it will carry in the page rankings. For instance, the Better Business Bureau and the Yellow Pages are considered more reliable and authoritative than a small, free local directory listing. That’s not to say that getting listed on such sites is unimportant; every citation counts.

There are a few ways to go about building the number of citations your business has. The cheapest way is to do it yourself. Once you have ensured you are cited in the big boys such as Yellow Pages, Yahoo Directory, the BBB, etc., you now need to search out the less obvious sources. One way to so this is to analyze the listings of your direct competition and related local businesses. Often they will provide you with potential citation sources that you haven’t considered. Once you know their sources, try to get you business mentioned also.  We will go more indepth into this tactic in a later article.

If you are willing to spend a little money, you can submit your business information to a business listing service. These services ensure you are listed in all the major directories, many of which you would likely have not considered. These services usually charge somewhere around $50 to list in all the major directories.  We will review the most popular in the coming weeks.

The most expensive and most thorough option is to hire the services of an SEO company to formulate an in-depth online marketing strategy. These services will ensure that your business has as many citations as possible and will also optimize your web pages to make sure they will get noticed by Google. For businesses in competitive markets, this is often the best option.

Link and citation building is a continuous process. You must consistently seek new sources of citations and stay ahead of the competition. Try to ensure that your citations remain as consistent as possible when it comes to your business name, address and phone number. In Google terms, consistency is trust. This works well for customers too.

One way to really keep on top of things is to make sure you know immediately every time your customers are talking about you.  To make this possible we offer our clients a special Local Reputation Management Service so that every mention of your company-good and bad-you can be made aware of.  This allows you to turn no reviews into lots of reviews and good reviews into glowing reviews and bad reviews into ‘handled’ reviews.

The price for this is a very reasonable $79/month.  There is no contract, cancel any time.  However, most people love it and stick with it indefinitely.  To get started simply click the paypal button below.


Google Local Listings Optimization

For years businesses have tried feverishly to find the magic formula that would ensure that their websites would be displayed near the top of the Google results when a search was initiated that pertained to their area of concern.  Business spent billions in advertising dollars in an attempt to this.  Just about the time Search Engine Optimization came into its prime, Google went and changed the whole game by introducing Google Maps and Local Business Center.  Now it wasn’t just good enough to be on the first page in global search results, businesses needed to be near the top of the page on these localized results.  Understanding this is just a small part of local SEO.

For years, the Yellow Pages, newspapers and local radio have seen steady drops in their advertising sales due to increased consumer use of internet searches to find what they are looking for.  Many newspapers and some radio stations began offering a local search feature on the websites to increase page hits and ad revenue sales.  Eventually the sites began tying the searches into the Google Maps feature to offer a very customized local search service that would narrow businesses down to the exact street.  Google of course saw this and knew they could do it better, and they did.

These days, the new trend is local Search Engine Optimization for Google Local Business Center.  The basic idea behind Business Center is that it allows business to manually enter their business information using the business Center dashboard.  This allows savvy businesses to quickly rise in the search result rankings.  The information entered will undergo a verification process by Google to ensure it is accurate and then the site will be automatically indexed.  Like many things Google, the exact method they use to rank pages is a closely guarded secret, but there are some things you can do to raise your sites page rank.

  • The first and easiest thing to do is make sure that all information is filled out in the listing as completely as possible.  Basic stuff such as address and phone number is pretty simple, but the last two sections, description and category, are where the men are separated from the boys.
  • Think of the description as a miniature web page.  It should stick to the basic tenets of SEO and use keywords specific to your business.  Books have been written on SEO so it’s outside the scope of this article, but by thinking like a customer looking for your business, you can tailor the description to match that search.
  • Category is also important in that it is heavily weighted when consumers browse Google business listings.  In this section you must think like a Google categorizer as well as a customer.  You can only choose five so think carefully.
  • Customer reviews of your business play big role in the rankings.  Businesses with more reviews will be considered more popular and will therefore rank higher.  Included reviews are those posted directly to your listing as well as those posted on other popular review sites.  Encourage your customers to leave feedback if they are happy with your service or product and watch your ranking climb.
  • Since you can list a website on your listing, make sure this site is also well optimized for search results since it will now be automatically linked to your Business Center listing.  A complete and informative website, complete with a blog and customer reviews, is the optimum situation.
  • Since Google “crawls” other local directories looking for information, make sure you manually add your listing to as many of these sites as possible also.  Though you may not get as much traffic from these smaller sites, the listings will translate into Google results.

Google Business Center is a great resource for consumers and businesses alike.  Take advantage of what it can offer and you will see your business grow.

One way to really keep on top of things is to make sure you know immediately every time your customers are talking about you. To make this possible we offer our clients a special Local Reputation Management Service so that every mention of your company-good and bad-you can be made aware of. This allows you to turn no reviews into lots of reviews and good reviews into glowing reviews and bad reviews into ‘handled’ reviews.

The price for this is a very reasonable $79/month. There is no contract, cancel any time. However, most people love it and stick with it indefinitely. To get started simply click the paypal button below.