Ever wonder why some businesses show up before yours in Google’s local search results? We have too. So we asked the search experts over at WebsiteBiz.comand Amanda gave us some great advice to pass on to you.
Let’s start with some eye-opening stats. Did you know that according to searchengineland.com, a leading search engine blog, only 37% of businesses have claimed their local business on one or more search engines? And approximately 50% of Google users search for a local business at least once per month. That is some serious opportunity to tap into.
According to Amanda, here are 10 great tips to help you drive more traffic from local search:
- Google Places Title – Note that for a title tag of the listing itself, Google Places sometimes pulls from the Google Places posting and sometimes pulls from the website homepage’s title tag. Use your actual business name in the title. If you are South Carolina Technology Experts LLC, don’t just put South Carolina Technology Experts. Don’t add additional keywords in title. Google detects this as trying to unfairly optimize.
- Google Places Additional Details Section – Include geo-modifiers and other important keywords for your business here.
- Google Places Categories – Don’t use keywords or geo-modifiers here. Just make them a very accurate description of what you do.
- Business address proximity to center of the city – The closer your address is to the center of the city, the more importance Google places on your relevance to a certain city. Some people try to use other addresses than their business address to try to rank higher. However, Google has been known to figure that out somehow and penalize those listings. Some people have reported people calling them claiming to be with Google and asking if their Google Places address is their primary place of business. Do not use a P.O. box!
- Reviews – Number of reviews with 4 or 5 star ratings will boost your SEO for the Google Places page. Don’t do it all in one week, but over time, ask real customers here and there to add a review.
- Phone Number – Make sure to use a local phone number for the city for which you are trying to optimize. Never use an 800 number.
- Off-Page Directory Links – Don’t just use Google Places to list your site. Use other popular online directories Yahoo, White Pages, Business.com, etc. Make sure to use the same address and phone number for every listing across directories. Contact info consistency is very important for local search. For example, some businesses list their store address on some directories and their office address on others. Also, claim any outdated listings and make sure to update the information so it is consistent.
- More Images – Upload images and media on your Google Places pages. Also upload images using Panoramio and make sure to add alt tags and optimize image file names. Images show up for local search results and case studies show users are much, much more likely to click for a picture. Users will even bypass the first 5 or so results if something further down has a picture.
- Geo-Tag Your Media – A geo-tag is a type of meta data that allows you to enter in coordinates for a relevant location for your images or video. Depending on your website management system, you might be able to upload a plug-in to help you input this data.
- More Citations –Get more NAPUs (name, address, phone number, url) on other sites. Your business name and contact info listed on other sites are great for increasing local search results, they don’t even need to be hyperlinked back.
Last but not least, make sure to complete every section of the Google Places profile (Your profile should say 100% complete at the top when you log in). Google Places optimization goes hand-in hand with local optimization for your business