Localised search is going to become increasingly prominent in 2014, so if you are a local business, you need to make sure you're optimised to account for this. |
For starters, this means setting yourself up with a Google+ Local account, which is fairly straightforward, particularly if you have a Google+ account. If you don't then you should definitely set this up as well.
Google+ Local helps potential customers find and share local business information, but it can also help your business jump to the top of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Typically, Google displays a mixture of local and none local listings in its organic search results. On occasion, Google Local will top the SERP, so it's absolutely crucial you optimise you Google Local page.
The first thing you need to worry about, and this might sound a tad obvious, is to make sure your profile is fully fleshed out. Google will often rank profiles higher that are 100% complete than those that are only partially complete.
Fill out as much information as possible, including your hours of operation. If you don't fill out your opening hours, Google may ignore you from its search listings altogether.
Try and upload some photographs too, which will help showcase your business and make your profile stand out from the crowd.
Make sure this information is as accurate as humanly possible, as you will use this as your template for your entire online presence.
This means your name, address, phone number (NAP) needs to be consistent across the web. NAP inconsistencies can cause Google+ Local to auto-generate listings, which is not effective or accurate as your self-provided profile information.
You should also think about having your NAP in the footer of every page of your website.
Once you've filled out all the basic information, you should then start to think about taking advantage of Google+ Local's categories to further flesh out your listing. Take a look at the most relevant categories that relate to your business, and pick them.
Now that all the relevant information has been fully filled out, you need to add a Google Local Map to Contact Us page on your website. This will help Google+ Local link your website and your Local Business Listing.
Be sure to add your Google Local Listing Map, not simply a Google Map. To do this you need to go Google Maps and search for your business.
When you have done this, click the "Link" button then copy and paste the piece of HTML into your website's code. This will embed the map into your website. Where you do this is up to you, but we would recommend doing it on your Contact Us page.
Lastly, and this is extremely important when it comes to building and optimising a Google Local page, is to round up some quality reviews. Google show a strong preference to listings with multiple reviews on its site.
Aside from the obvious SEO benefits, reviews also strengthen your standing with the consumer, which is ultimately what it is all about.
Whatever you do though, don't fall into the trap of posting fake reviews, or asking friends, family or colleagues to do the same.
If Google suspect you are doing this, they could suspend the account or even remove it completely which could have an adverse effect on your overall rankings.
What you should do instead is encourage your customers to post a review after the point of sale, specifying what service or product they purchased.
Once you've laid all the foundations, it is simply a case of building on your profile. Do this, and you will greatly enhance your chance of reaching page one in Google's SERPs. Over the past 14 years Rocketfish Ltd have helped thousands of small to medium sized business owners create successful Online Marketing Campaigns. The secret to success for small business owners is creating campaigns on a budget that are manageable in terms of time and resource whilst delivering an exceptional return on investment. Online Marketing is now essentail for all small business owners.
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