In my previous post I talked about how being listed in Google Places (Now Google Place Search) is essential if you are marketing business locally. When you do a local search now on Google the first 7 listings are generally Google Place Search pages. More and more local businesses are starting to get wise and are claiming and even promoting their Google Place Pages. Here are some tips to get you to the top of your category and to keep you there.
1. Claim your Google Place Search Page. You may already have a Google Place Search Page because Google set them up automatically for millions of businesses aggregating data from numerous online directories and databases. However, is the information correct? Is it up to date? Is there a link to your website , pictures, videos, and reviews? In order to add information or correct information on your page you need to first claim the page. Google will confirm your identity by either sending you a post card in the mail or by phone. Here is an article on how to claim your Google Place Search Page.
2. Completely fill out all the information for your page. Not only do you want your information to be accurate complete and informative for your customers but completed Google Place Search Pages are giving higher ranking in local search. You need to fill out all fields, categories, add pictures, videos, links to your websites, reviews and even coupons. The more completely you fill out your page the higher you will rank in local search. Most likely customers will find your Places page before your own website so you want to spend some time on this step.
3. Get as many citations as possible. Citations are listings and mentions in other local directories. Here is a short list of 15 local directories where you can get your business listed quickly. Here is a list of 100 local directories where you can list your local business.
Not only will customers find you directly in these local directories but the more mentions you have in different directories the higher your Google Place Search Page is ranked. They all work together. That is why it is important to keep the same exact business name, address and phone number in each listing. If Google sees the same NAP if other listings they will count this as a citation for your business and even aggregate reviews from these other sources and place them in your Google Place Search listing.
You can also use YouTube to gain another citation. Just include your NAP (name address and phone) in the description of your YouTube video. Also put local tags in the tag section of your YouTube video.
You can also use Whitespark, a free service, to find even more places to list your local business. In competitive niches this extra exposure can be helpful.
4. Get as many reviews as possible. The first thing to remember about reviews is NO FAKE REVIEWS. It is unethical, possibly illegal and you most likely will be found out. People can sniff out fake reviews and so do the local directories. While you can’t write glowing fake reviews about your business you can ask or even incentivize your customers to write reviews for you.
You can offer your customers 10% off if the write a review. You can even ask the customer to fill out a comment card right in your store which you later can input for them. To verify the validity of the review you can scan then upload the review to a service called Posterous which will give you a link to a scan of the original comment card.
Many customers have their mobile phones with them so you can ask them to write a review right there. You can even incentivize your employees to solicit reviews for you. Be careful, some directories have rules against soliciting reviews. Make sure you check the TOS of the site where you submit the reviews.
The more reviews you have on different local sites that higher your Google Place Search Page will rank. Also, people really look at these reviews before patronizing a local establishment. You need to have as many positive reviews as possible.
I hope this gives you some good ideas to help you with your local marketing. If you found this post helpful please share it on Facebook. Your comments are appreciated.