Google makes use of information from several options to prepare local company listings. Each list involves data from more than one option, for instance third party companies, edits from users, and verified records of the business. You can also include different data to your list such as explanation of your company, photographs, evaluations, or details about working hours. Google Local Business Listings is simply Google’s addition of the yellow pages. These entries appear at the top of Google SERPs, usually when a person searches for a company followed closely by city or place. The search results site provides local business listings at the top of the search engine page alongside a map with a URL and phone up to 10 listings. Under that the organic search results are displayed.
Adding Your Business Listing
So how do you get your business on Google+ Local? Or for that matter take possession of an existing Google+ Local page, which may have been created by Google? First you have to use the Google account you have to sign into www.google.com/local/business/. If you don't have a Google account, you can create a new one. After completing this procedure, you have to accomplish certain steps, which will be made clear to you after you have signed in and finished the initial formalities.However, it's vital that you know how serious Google is about professionalism and correctness in its local business listings.
Google ensures that false or incorrect information does not get into the listings by incorporating many automatic filters and manual reviews in their Google+ Local platform. Their rules pertaining to name/telephone number/business address are very strict and have to be followed exactly as the search engine wants it if you wish to become part of its local search results. After you have added to Google+Local listing, it does not follow that you will automatically get first page ranking on Google's local business listings for relevant keywords. For this you will have to optimize your Google+ Local page as well as your website.
How to Rank High?
It seems the position of your local business listing is decided by its worth and clear relevance of your business-listing page. Google offers the most effective locations to those serving the search engine’s rising dependence on content. Google+ Local that was earlier named Google Places, today even favors small businesses and firms that don't have big sites. This implies that even your small company has the opportunity to position high in Google+ Local even if you don’t have a good quality site. So how do you start?
A Local Listing should be claimed
It's very important that you convey to users your seriousness and gain credibility as a business. To attain this you must claim your business in the Local Business directories like Yelp, White Pages, etc. Also, if you have not already done it, claim your Google Places listing. You can visit http://www.google.com/places/ to get a Google Places listing. The next step after getting your local listing is to give your business a boost in your Google Places page by adding valuable content and additional information pertaining to your business.
Add More Videos & Images
Videos and images are getting more importance in all types of searches including local ones. So go beyond the 5 videos and 10 images that Google allows you to upload to your listing. A gain from this is that videos/images that are relevant to your Google Places listing give more chances to link additional keyword relevant content to your site; this can raise the chances of your earning higher ranks in the SERPs. Also, more videos/images mean more conversions and, maybe, consumers will spend more time on your site as a result of their doing more research of your business. Since all visitors to your Places list will see them, be very careful about the captions you use for your pictures.
A Business Coupon should be added
Introducing a coupon can improve your rate of conversion as well as boost the performance of your list to the general public. Then it is probable that Google will give your listing a bonus advantage. Incorporate many promotion coupons like some businesses which have more than five and sometimes even more than that. Coupons gain added value since Google lately launched a beta edition of a coupon search in local listings.
Associate with the Right Group
You are allowed to select five business categories in your listing by Google and if you are not listed, you can develop your own group. Make sure you choose all 5 categories. You must make your first group your main one and the others secondary groups. The keywords you use for your first category can also be used for the other four groups. For instance, if your main category is â€˜restaurants' then your secondary keywords will be â€˜New York restaurants' or â€˜Chicago restaurants.'
Third Party Citations
A citation, which is a straightforward declaration of your business, accomplishes two functions. It gets you a mention on another site as well as assists in your organic rankings. It works better if it is as close as possible to the description on your Google Places page. Therefore the link, contact information, description and everything else must match exactly, if possible, your page on Google Places.
Customer Reviews Matter Much
Good customer reviews will help you in many ways. They will help you in SERP rankings, get you more conversions, encourage potential customers to become real customers, give your business an overall boost and augment your brand image. And Google gives you an additional opportunity to get client reviews - at www.google.com/local where happy customers can leave rave reviews about your business. The giant search engine has also added â€˜At A Glance', a new snippet facility for local businesses. These snippets are seen on your Google Places listing; they are taken from a combo of reviews on your business.
Make use of Google Maps
You make your business more visible in local listings you can use Google Maps to your advantage. Create landing pages on your website with link to Google Maps listing and give this link to the most faithful of your customers who may write testimonials about your firm. A large number of good reviews will definitely help you to get better ranking on Google Maps too. Remember to never give any false reviews for this will have the reverse effect.
Utilize Keywords Appropriately in Title & Description
Avoid using keywords in your title. Shun keyword spamming at all costs! You could be suspended by Google Places for it and lose precious brand image. Your company's legal name must appear in exactly the same way as it does in local citation sites and other third party directory sites. There are some things you must keep in mind when using keywords in Google Place Description, where you’re permitted to use of 3 to 4 keyword phrases which are locally optimized. Firstly, include your city name to ensure high rankings on local search. Secondly, your keywords should accurately describe your business to potential customers and thirdly, if your business is hard to locate, you could provide directions to find it.
Create Links to the Listing
A link to your listing should be added from your homepage, which will motivate visitors/customers to review your business.
Utilizing the above-mentioned practices and recommendations can help you a whole lot to position on top of the Google Local listings. If you have been confronted by some kind of a penalty, don’t worry. By repairing things, you may get your plan right back on course, thus allowing you to retrieve the Google Local results existence in a short time.
Alan Smith is an avid tech blogger with vast experience in various IT domains, working with SPINX Inc., a Los Angeles, California based company specialized in web design & development and internet marketing.