This week in the IMPACT Learning Center, we are focusing on getting you acquainted, familiar, and knowledgeable about local search engine optimization. To start you on your way, take a few minutes and answer the following questions: (1) Does your business have a Google Places page?, (2) Does your Google Places page populate on the top of search results for your keywords?
Now, if you weren’t able to answer an affirmative “Yes”, then we have some work to do with this post and you have some learning to do today. So, sit back, keep reading, and leave a comment at the end of the article.
What is Google Places and Why Should I Use It?
Research has shown that around 97% of search engine users are actively and persistently looking for localized results for their keywords searches. As a free listing platform supported by the search engine juggernaut, Google Places allows you to post images, videos, descriptions, info, and much more for your audience to easily view. Along with the obvious benefit of Google Places being a free service, you also receive analytics on keywords searched (and then landed on your page), and from where your visitors are coming.
So, if you haven’t claimed your Google Places page yet, now is the time to do that so we can help you get off the ground and running with a great local search engine optimization campaign. After you have your page, read through these 6 steps to improving your Google Place.
Your 6 Simple Steps to Improving Your Google Places Page
Your first step to local search engine optimization success is to add a keyword-rich and high quality description of your business. By choosing your verbiage wisely (as you only have 200 characters with which to work), you have the opportunity to provide your readers with the “it” factors of your business. Remember to keep this user-friendly first and optimization-friendly second. In other words, search engines are very concerned with the friendliness of your content.
Second, make sure that you compliment your business’ description with categories. With the currently Google Places, you are allowed to utilize 5 different categories to help describe your business, products, and/or services. As a helpful tip, try to use standard category descriptions rather than custom descriptions; this will help populate and rank your Google Places page high on the search engine results pages.
Next, as you are creating these dynamic and enticing descriptions that are user-friendly but keyword-rich, make sure that you avoid keywords that are not actually your keywords. In other words, don’t use Wallingford Pet Food Store if your business doesn’t deal with pet food distribution. If you do utilize keywords that do not coincide with your business, Google will (in all likelihood) force your listing further down in relevancy. As much as Google is an enterprise and completely (and utterly) bigger than anything else out there, their algorithms catch the minute details like this!
Moving on as your Google Places page take shape and you have all the bells and whistles of photos, videos, and a great description, the next step is to simply ask your current clientele for reviews posted on your places page. Now, while we are talking about your Google Places page, let’s also take about the optimization piece of your page. In order to gain maximum optimization, you need to encourage your customers to emphasize your greatness on Yelp, CitySearch, and other review sites; the links and content will help your local SEO.
With that said, I know that you would like to have all your reviews done at once, but for local search engine optimization purposes, it’s significantly better to try and space them out evenly throughout the course of a few months. Accomplishing that will show the search engines (particularly Google) that you’re not just a one-time wonder.
One of the remaining steps to tackle for your local search engine optimization through the Google Places page is to add images and videos of your business. This may be something as simple as a video tour or a staff interview. The bottom line is that you want as much rich and unique content for your users as possible (which also helps search engines because they notice that you care about helping your end-user. To further your local SEO a little more, you can also geo-tag your photo and/or video to help with your result page position.
And, lastly, but certainly one of the most important steps to give you the opportunity for success is to monitor and track your page analytics; it is truly and utterly the only way to understand what your users are expecting out of your business. You have the ability to see top search inquiries that led to people clicking onto your page as well as how many clicks (from Google Places) your placement has produced.
So, do you feel like you can get started on your local search engine optimization campaign today with these simple Google Places steps? We certainly hope so, but keep in mind that we will have yet another local SEO post on Friday. However, if you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please leave them below!
If search engine optimization (SEO) is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com