Most people who run small local businesses haven’t spent much time studying internet marketing. As a result, they often make mistakes.
These mistakes could be small and simply result in lower rankings or appearing less professional However, more costly mistakes could result in your listing not appearing in Google entirely.
Here are nine of the most common ways business owners mess up their Google local rankings.
#1 – Placing Directions in the Address
If you add directions like “between the red and blue building” in your address, Google won’t be able to tell where you really are.
Google’s mapping technology only understands real addresses. Instead of putting directions in the address, add them to the description box. Or just let Google maps handle it.
#2 – Using a P.O. Box
Google doesn’t like P.O. boxes. Yes, for many legitimate businesses, it simply doesn’t make sense to hire real office space. P.O. boxes are great for those businesses, as it gives them a real address without having to rent office space.
Unfortunately, Google frowns upon this practice, most likely because it’s so easy to rent P.O. boxes. Even people who don’t own real local businesses can use P.O. boxes to get rankings.
Avoid using a P.O. box. Use your home address if you have to.
#3 – Not Displaying an Address
Google Places gives you the option to not display your address if you don’t want to. Unfortunately, what Google doesn’t tell you is that if you don’t display your address, your chances of getting ranked are nearly zero.
When’s the last time you saw a Google Places listing with no address? It almost never happens, because any listing that has no address is rarely ever displayed.
Don’t make the mistake of checking this box.
#4 – Not Using Your Main Phone Number
Some people choose to use 1-800 phone numbers or different phone lines for different places with regards to their business. For example, some people will use one phone number for the main line, another for online orders and a third of the Yellow Pages. This allows them to track which sources of advertising brings in the most leads.
Google doesn’t like this, because they want to be able to independently verify your phone number. They want you to use your main number so they can determine if you’re really who you say you are.
Not using your main phone number can affect your chances at a good ranking.