The beauty of the world we live in is that you are always local to someone. That’s the view of many senior online marketers. Achieving rankings in Google’s local listings offers businesses an opportunity to tap into an extensive source of traffic, but it’s not simply achieved at the touch of a button.
According to Google up to a fifth of its entire web searches are of local intent – roughly 2.8 billion global searches a month. That’s a serious amount of traffic and some of it can be directed your way if you’re looking to maximise your business’ potential and move to the top of the search engines for local search terms.
Claim your business listing
The first step to reaching the top of Google’s local listings is to “claim” your business listing on Google Places
. This enables you to add a new Place page for each individual business location you may have. Businesses with multiple offices should ensure they claim Place pages for each location to improve the exposure of their business.
Local directory citations
Success in Google’s search engine is largely focused on link weight between a business’ website and sites such as directories, listings or simply websites within the same field. Citations on websites are regarded as the ‘new’ links. Businesses should submit details on as many different websites and directories as possible, ensuring they match with their address and website on the Place pages and official website itself. Some services will offer to handle submissions to these kinds of directories but it is always encouraged to submit manually to ensure information is correct.
Make the most of networking connections
Aside from generic directories and so forth, Google also looks kindly upon businesses who receive back links from influential organisations. For instance, if a business belongs to a local chamber of commerce or an extensive business network it should actively seek a business listing on a highly relevant, local website. On a greater scale, businesses should also ask clients/suppliers to list their business details in full, leveraging as many industry links that it can.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the customer
Alongside a business’ Google Place page is the facility for customers to write and submit their own reviews – this can significantly help achieve a good local listing. Encouraging customers to submit positive feedback on a Google Place page is easier than it sounds; businesses should simply leverage their client base in a positive manner. One way around this is to respond respectfully to positive customer feedback via email, asking them to post a review on sites such as Qype or Yelp. Businesses should not be afraid of receiving a negative review. The option to submit a review should only be promoted to your best customers, essentially drowning out any negative feedback and ensuring businesses receive a critical mass of reviews.
Take note from successful companies in Google Local
In most sectors there will be a business that competes very well within Google Local listings. Don’t be afraid of seeing how they do things and how they are represented across the web. However, businesses should be careful not to chase down the very same channels as other successful listings but instead focus on how they can do what competitors do, only better.
Make local search an everyday priority
The key to the success of any search marketing campaign is to do engage with it little and often. Make local search part of your everyday business profile. Ensure any good customer or client feedback is followed up with positive reviews on Google Place pages and be sure to engage with long-standing customers by availing them of the review system. The snowball effect of local search is a boon to businesses that put in the time and effort to shout about their services.