Creating an optimized for Local SEO Google Places for business is perhaps one of the simplest option ANY small business has to quickly boost their ranking and improve google maps positioning to get more local traffic and obviously leads, assuming you have a site designed to convert your visitors into customers.
Why Google Places For Business Is Crucial?
Answer to this one is extremely important and instead of creating a lengthy explanation I want to simply show you an image:
What you see above is a screenshot of listings when I perform a search for “home remodeling company“. Since 2010 Google begun integrating multiple elements into their search results, such as maps with locations to relevant business, video, etc. but what is important for us is that Google Places for local business often displayed above Natural Search Results.
That means if you have even a semi-decent Google Place created in Google for free – you have a chance to rank very highly for your most desired keywords! Not only does it give more exposure to potential customers but also provides you with opportunity to get actual calls with request for service!
While Optimizing Google Place listing is actually quite an extensive topic in itself as it has many “technical details” that goes way beyond this article, I want to help you get started with basics.
Claim Your Google Place Listing
Google provides it for your business FREE and yet, simple check reveals large number of local businesses fail to take advantage of it! So let’s discuss how to use it to YOUR advantage!
1. You need to have a Google Account in order to claim your Google Places listing, so if you don’t have one – create it for free and once logged in – proceed to next step.
2. Search For your business name or main phone number, chances are – your listing already exists. Once you have located your business you will have couple options, depending if you already have any reviews or not, click on what applies to your listing, see image below:
Once you arrive to actual Google Place listing and assuming you haven’t verified ownership yet, you need to click on “Business Owner?” link provided in top right corner.
3. On next step you are presented with several options, choose “Edit my business information.” and click “Continue” button to proceed to next screen. I will do my best to provide you with relevant information here to help you:
Fill in all appropriate fields, important that you use your correct business name. Use description to explain what you provide while using your main keywords.
Categories: First category has to be chosen from one provided by Google and you need to find one that is most targeted for you business. Google also provides you with option to add 4 more categories of your choice to explain services provided, be sure to use them all and include your main keywords in each. Important note – category should be about Who You Are, not what What you do!
In next sections be sure to provide correct information on Service Location, Hours of Operation, Payment Options. Don’t skip anything!
4. Images and Video.
These are very important so please be sure to upload up to 10 images and URL’s up to 5 videos. I like to use first image that includes your phone number but Google frequently changes it to some other image after initial listing, so it might not have too much of an impact although creates nice visual presentation to visitors If you don’t have any videos or images you can edit your Google Place later and add them, once you have it.
5. Google Places Additional Details
This section is most under-used by most business and what we personally like to add here are links to other sites where our business can be found with reviews, such as your Facebook Page, Yelp listing, any other industry specific review sites:
Once you completed – click Submit button.
Verify Your Google Maps Location Listing
Changes to your listing will not be visible until you actually verify that you are the owner and once you click Submit in previous section you should be sent to a page with options to Verify your listing. Most common is via Postcard to your business address. Select this option and Google will send you postcard, generally within 7-10 days you should receive it.
Once you receive you Postcard login back into Google Places and proceed with verification as shown below:
This action verifies you as business owner and allows you to edit your Google Place as well as track some statistics provided for free.
Google Places and Local SEO
It is important to note that if you complete this tutorial – you will have a nice and fairly optimized Google Small business listing but I can only cover basics in form of the tutorial.
In order to get better local SEO rankings there is much more that has to be done, which is well beyond the scope of this article:
- Your website search engine optimization to correlate to your Google Paces listing – without it you will be hard pressed to rank high!
- Number of business citations across multiple web properties
- Proper optimization of images and video prior to adding them to your Google Place listing
- Marketing analysis of your competition Google Places listing in order to beat them for the position
- Keyword research and optimization not only of your places listing but also website.
- Link building campaign to correlate to your listing
- And much much more, which can be a separate topic of discussion for each
If you are interested in getting your own small business ranking high for Local Searches I suggest you take a look at some of the packages we provide, even a basic Local SEO will help you beat many competitors!