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.