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 Healthgrades.com 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.