Many business owners don’t see the importance of ranking their business in local search. Lots of them are hitting the organic results without thinking what they can get if they ranked locally. Since Google is the leading search engine, I think if you want to rank higher on organic results one of the best way is to use all the possible features that Google provide like creating a Google+Local page for your business.
Many people are using Google Maps in search for a service or a product and those who don’t have Google+Local page are missing a lot of leads. But due to many updates on Google Algo and changes on the Result Page where big G included Local Results in Organic Search Result Page, I think business owners should not disregard adding their business in Google+Local.
So if those business owners think that it is time to add their business in Google+Local just follow these 3 basic steps that will surely help your local campaign.
1. Create a Google+Local page
There a lot of ways to add your business in Google+Local, one is by going to Google Place For Business Page http://www.google.com/placesforbusiness
or you can go to Google Map http://maps.google.com then click “put your business on Google maps” link.
You must have a Google Account to use for you to login and create a business profile.
You must fill up all the required info and make sure that the profile is 100% complete. Make sure that all the info is correct and true. On the category you must choose at least one category recommend by Google then you can put your own custom categories. Note: Do not put city identifier on keywords (like plumber Miami or Los Angeles Chiropractor) because it is against Google TOS. To help you select the proper categories you can use Mike Blumenthals Google LBC Categories tool.
Verified your Google+Local page. Google requires postcard verification for newly created Google+Local page. This verification takes 2-3 weeks, Google send postcard containing the PIN to the address of the business. This PIN will use to activate your Google+Local page. If you are trying to claim an existing page and there are no changes on the business address then you can select a phone verification process. They will call you and will give you the PIN code that you will need to activate the listing.
Citation is occurrence of your business NAP (Name, Address and Phone) on other websites. Listing you business in tons of Local Directories can be very helpful in your local ranking. Just make sure all the info is accurate for all of the profiles that you will create. You must also avoid creating duplicate profile because it can be a cancer to your local ranking.
3. Collect Reviews for your business
Reviews are very important to a business; it is like a recommendation that your business or service is good (except if someone post a bad review to your business). The more good reviews you have, the more trust you gain and the more chances clients will choose you.
According to the survey that David Mihm conducted last year regarding Local Search Ranking Factors, experts say that reviews are one of the local ranking factors. It is also more helpful if there is a keyword phrase on the reviews (but you can’t tell your customer to include that in their reviews).
So where to post these reviews? For me since you are hitting your local campaign, you must put an extra effort on your Google+Local page because this is what the client see when searching for a local business. But also don’t forget the 3rd party review site that Google scrape. According to the research made by Adam Steele and his local SEO team regarding those directories that scraped by Google there are many 3rd party review sites appeared and citysearch got the highest scrape point. So meaning Google trusted these sites and displayed those links along its Google+Local page.
These 3 steps are just the basic. There are lots of ranking factors that you need to know. You can learn more of these ranking factors by following those well known people in Local SEO world. You can check my article about “Top 5 People That You Must Follow If You Want To Learn Local SEO”
Conclusion: Having a good rankings on Local Results or even in Organic does not guarantee customers will acquire your service or product. The best tactic is making your campaign clean and true. Build trust and reputation by providing high quality service to your entire client. Remember every happy customer left your business could be a way for another leads.
About John Vincent Aquino
Filipino Internet Marketer, SEO, Local SEO, Link Builder and Virtual Assistant. He started his online campaign last Dec 2011 at Odesk and already lend his hands to hundreds of businesses in the US, Canada, Australia and UK. Follow him on twitter @jvinceaquino