Local SEO is an essential tool for any business that deals with their customers face-to-face and provides products and services within a limited geographic area. In this case, focusing your marketing budget on local traffic really helps to boost your ROI, primarily because it helps you to limit your audience. By doing so, you cut out irrelevant traffic, and you don’t spend money advertising to people that cannot and will not become a customer due to their location.
Basic local SEO includes targeting keywords with geographical modifiers and focusing your content to appeal to local customers. Google Places is another very important tool that can help with local SEO, and it’s completely free to use. However, it does take a little know-how to get Google Places set up well and use to its potential.
What is Google Places?
Google Places is a directory for local businesses. You may think that’s nothing particularly new, but Google Places has a distinct advantage over other similar sites. Google Places listings are often integrated with Google’s organic listings for that keyword (if it is a geographically specific keyword). Usually the top 7 Google Places listings are prominently displayed in the search results page.
It also happens sometimes for keyword searches that don’t have geographical modifiers. If Google thinks you will be better served by seeing “local” results it will insert some Google Places listings into the results that are local to the IP address of the person doing the searching. If that person is in your area the Places listings could include yours. This means that you get a boost to visibility for even the most competitive keywords without paying a penny
So the question is, how do you make sure YOUR Google places listing appears in the special top 7 results for the keywords you want it to?
Google Places Optimisation is how!
Google Places optimization: how it works
Having a Google Places listing is great, but to really stand out, you need to compete. A professional SEO analyst can tweak your Google Places listing to increase conversions. Google Places optimization includes some rather obvious techniques, but there are also quite a few that you probably won’t have thought of.
For example, Google Places optimisation includes making sure that if Google allows you to add a detail about your business e.g. opening hours, you make sure you do it. Don’t leave anything blank. Google Places optimisation also covers the finer points of your listing: making sure the details about your company are well-written, with keyword placement taking centre stage. This has to be done delicately to avoid accidentally ‘spamming’ the listing with keywords (this will actually damage your ranking and could cause your listing to be removed). Make sure you follow Google Places Guidelines to the letter.
Google Places optimization also includes paying attention to images, videos and coupons: this will give your potential customers a preview of what you do. Many businesses will just upload their company logo or a picture of the building they work in, so anything over and above this will help your listing to shine. Your local SEO expert can advise you on what kind of images and videos will enhance your Google Places entry. Google Places also allow you to promote your business with coupons and ‘daily deals’ offers: the same kind of discounts run by huge companies like Groupon, Amazon and Ebay. Customers love to feel they’re getting a bargain, and offering a coupon as an incentive can help to drive traffic to your site.
Citations are the most important part of Google Places optimisation. Your SEO analyst can help create citations to attract more custom, making your business details as specific as possible. Without help from a Google Places consultant, it’s very hard to get this right. Keywords can also be used in citations – again, with care not to accidentally trigger spam filters. Citations help to validate your listing and reinforce your company details on third party websites, acting like back links and boosting your SEO.
Reviews are also important on Google Places. An SEO expert can help you find innovative ways of encouraging happy customers to leave positive recommendations on your page, enhancing your reputation.
Improving your Google Places ranking
Local SEO is growing in popularity. Improving your Google Places could be enough to put you head and shoulders above your competition.Get a Free no obligation quote Now!