As a local business owner, one of your priorities is (should be) to establish a concrete online presence. Since Google is the #1 go-to resource for people looking for specific local services, you owe it to your business to be top-ranked for your keywords. SEO is time consuming, and can be expensive, but you see many of your rivals showing up, seemingly effortlessly, in the top 5 results, through Google Places! This article is about not making it too easy for your competitors, and to be among the top results too.
1. Setup a Well-worded, Attractive Profile
This should be a no-brainer. Get a Google Account and setup your business page. If you don’t have a Places page, you’re leaving a lot of customers on the table – both web based and mobile based. Google places a lot of emphasis on Google Places pages for local search results. It doesn’t take much time and is easy to set up.
Make sure you add keywords to your business description – don’t stuff them in! Instead, write an engaging description that incorporates your keywords.
2. Get Listed. Get Cited
Now that you’ve got your page up and running, it’s important to give it authority and credibility. Credibility comes from being mentioned by “giants” in your area – if Yelp or TripAdvisor is talking about your business, then it must be good. Make sure if they list your description, contact information, or any other data, it must match exactly to the data you’ve provided in your Google Places Page.
This will boost your organic search engine rankings tremendously. You need to strongly encourage satisfied customers to rate your page on Google Places, and rave about your business on Yelp, CitySearch and other authority websites.
You need to ensure that all your listed information is accurate and matches your Google Places Page exactly.
3. Link Building Done Right
Most webmasters are comfortable in this familiar territory. Like most content, link building to your page is a surefire technique to get ranked high on Google. We would like to add a caveat – not every type of link will help. Concentrate on building links from “local pages” and social signals – they count enormously toward pushing up your Page in Google Places. Your links should mention your business name, URL and phone numbers to be more relevant to your website. The best places to get links would be bloggers, other local business websites and listing directories. Quantity helps, but make sure you build your links in an organic, spaced out time interval, instead of all at once.