Does your business have a local presence? Do you know how you can get additional traffic from local potential customers who are searching for a business like yours on the internet? Then getting yourself listed in Google My Business (also known as Google+ Local, Google Places and Google Maps) and optimizing your website for local SEO is what needs to be done for your local business.
A firm that specializes in local search marketing can help you accomplish a higher ranking for local search results unless you have the time to do it on your own. In general, here is what your local search marketing services firm should do in order optimize your business for Google My Business:
Getting Listed in Google My Business
Create a Google My Business page as the first step in doing local SEO for your business. Don’t be surprised if your business is already listed in Google My Business. Simply do a search in Google and see if it comes up in the local search results. If you see it, you can claim your listing by following simple instructions provided by Google. If you don’t have a Google My Business page, create one by going to: https://www.google.com/business/.
Verification of Google Places Page
After creating your Google My Business page, you will now need to verify it. If you don’t verify it, your listing may not appear in the search results since it would not be considered trusted. After you or your local search marketing service provider logs into your Google My Business account, you will see a link to verify your listing when you create your Google My Business page. Google will provide you an option to receive a phone call from them which will provide a code for you to enter or they will send you the code by a postcard, which takes a couple of weeks or so.
Optimizing Your Listing
After you have verified your Google My Business listing, optimize your listing so that it can appear higher in Google rankings. Here are the things that your local search marketing service provider or you should do:
- Business Title Optimization: Make sure that your business name is included in Google My Business in addition to a keyword for your location. For example, if your business name is “Green Olive Organic Food Store” and it is located in the Chelsea area of New York, your title can be: “Green Olive Organic Food Store, Chelsea.” This will make it easier for somebody to find your business if they searching for an organic food store in Chelsea or a nearby neighborhood.
- Insert Keywords in Page Description: Include a brief description of your business in your Google My Business page description and insert a couple of keywords.
- Choose Categories: Google My Business provides an option to include your listing in up to 5 categories, however you should only use categories relevant to your business.
- Provide Complete Information:Make sure that your page is as complete as possible. Doing that may provide a better ranking to your page. Include all the information required as well as photos, videos, links to your social media profiles, hours etc. This will also help your users obtain detailed information that they may be looking for about your business.
- Get More Citations: While it is important to build backlinks to your Places page (your local search marketing services provider can help with that in case you don’t know how to do it), it is also important to get citations. Reviews and mentions are also taken into consideration by search engines to determine the popularity of a local business. Here is how you can do it:
- You can build citations on local business directories by getting your business listed in them.
- Request your customers to leave reviews on popular review sites. Claim your listing on such sites and make sure that your information is consistent across all local directories and review sites.
- Other than getting your business listed in major business listings, local directories and events pages, research your competitors’ Google My Business pages to determine where they are getting their citations from and then get yourself listed on those websites also. If you visit a Google My Business page, you will notice at the bottom, it says “Reviews from around the web:” and a list of other websites if such reviews do exist.
Optimizing Your Website
Other than doing basic SEO for your website, make sure that you have your local phone number and address listed on your website in plain text. Your own website provides the best citation for your Google My Business page.