Friday, January 16, 2009

Google Local Business Optimization - How to Increase your Google Local Business Results / Listings

Recently, I have been spending a lot of my time over the last few months, researching and experimenting, on how to get on the 1st page of the Google local business results. Many of my successful listings are through constant testing & experimentation.

Google’s local business listings is a great opportunity to get yourself up in the rankings of Google for your relevant geographical keywords much easier and quicker than Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and the best thing of all, it is free!

Here are some proven techniques/ways that I have used to get many of my own and clients’ websites successfully on the local business listings:

1. Get as many free listings in the local directories as possible. One tip to find these local directories is to check the ‘web pages’ under the details of the local business listings. Sometimes these web pages will show you the local directories they are listed on.

2. Optimise the title/name in the local directories for the keyword you want, eg if you want to rank for ‘Sydney Widgets’, have this in your title/name.

3. Same with the above, optimise the company/organization name in the local business centre for your keyword. (I got a successful listing for a couple of keywords just by optimizing the name, of which these keywords ranking for don’t even have a website).

4. Under the address information in local business centre, make sure you have the city location chosen as the city you want listing for.

5. Under the description in the local business centre, optimise it for the keywords you want. Of course, don’t spam it!

6. Under the categories of the local business centre, choose the most relevant category. Also, you can add in manually the category. In this case, add in ‘Sydney Widgets’.

7. When you upload your photos, try to optimise it (name of the file) for the keyword as well (I guess all of what I have mentioned are some basics of Search engine optimization (SEO)

8. Make sure you enter in as many details as possible in the local business centre, example hours of operations, payment options, upload photos & videos if you have, and other additional details as well. The more details you put in, the more the Google local business centre’s algorithm will see you as a serious listing and therefore making your listing more successful.

9. Try to add coupons if you can as this will definitely help. As mentioned before, videos will also help a lot.

10. Reviews seem like one of the important criteria that Google looks at when assigning rankings on the local business ads results. Try to encourage reviews from your customers. Don’t fake it! Google can easily find out and you may get yourself booted out from your local map listings. I have seen in many successful listings where there are no reviews. However, try to encourage reviews anyway as reviews does help promote your site to other potential visitors/customers as well.

11. Obviously, example to be successful in the listings for ‘Sydney widgets’, your site content should be ‘Sydney widgets’ relevant.

12. Basics of SEO - optimise the title, meta description and keyword tags for your keywords.

13. There are occasions where your listing may disappear, log into your local business centre again and update it again (example, re-upload photos, re-edit your description etc) and it should come back up again in an hour or so (from my experience)

14. I do believe that part of the local business listings’ algorithm, Google does look at external links going to your site as well. Example, if you have other sites linking to you with the link text ‘Sydney widgets’, I am sure this will help as well.

Below are some other techniques which I have not used listed by others that have said to improve the local business results:

• Include your phone number whenever you write a description of your company on a third party website.
• Include your address and phone number at the bottom of every page.
• Include the name of your city and state in your website’s content, titles, descriptions and page headers (I reckon this is quite an important component, so try to do it although I haven’t done this)

I found these above points from leveltendesign.com & traffikd.com and they have some very good pointers on how to improve/increase your Google local business listings as well.