Friday, July 4, 2008

Use Google Local to Provide added Value to Your Customers....

...and help with Search Engine Visibility.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but a top 10 listing in google is not what it used to be. Because of customized search, local, news, and image results organic results are showing up lower and lower on the page. Catfish recently wrote an article titled Why a Top 10 Listing in Google Continues to Mean Less in SEO that goes into more detail on the topic. So you are probably thinking, well what can I do to improve visibility. The answer is that it takes a combination paid, local, & organic search campaigns to remain visible on search engines these days. As a business owner you can take advantage of Google Local to assist with your local ranking. Setting up a Google Local listing is easy to do, and I will give you a basic overview to help your setup your listing.

Claim Your Business
If you have an established business most likely you are already listed on Google Local. Google pulls business listings from various different sources to populate their local directory. The first step in creating your local listing account is to claim your business. If you find your company's listing in the Google Local directory you can click on the "Add or edit your business link"

If you are unable to find your listing you can add your company to the directory by going to You will need a Google account to add or claim your business listing.

Once you are logged into the system click the "Add a new listing" link. (If you claim your company from an existing listing you will skip this step)

Add Your Basic Contact Information
Populate the form with your company's basic contact information, and make sure you use a keyword rich description.

Include a keyword rich phrase along with your company name. This can help your SEO, and provide more info to potential customers. Note:Don't go overboard with this, because you run the risk of confusing your customers, and being penalized by Google for keyword stacking.

Give Value to Your Customers
After you provide your basic information you have the option of adding even more information to give value your customers. By doing this you can stand out from your competitors. You can add your office hours, payment options, photos, and YouTube videos. You can even add categories that your company fit into to help Google place you into their directory.

Validate Your Listing
Once you finish your listing Google will mail a postcard to the address that you provided with a pin number. You will use to the pin validate and activate your listing.

Adding a Google Local listing will help improve your local search visibility, but it's not a silver bullet for success. Your local listing along with constant paid and organic optimization will improve your chances driving targeted traffic to your website, and business location.