Improve Google Local Listings through local SEO – local store marketing – part 2

Recently we blogged about local SEO and local store marketing. There we talked about adding local listings to online service directories. In this installment, we’ll provide some specifics about improving the ranking of your Google local listing and visibility in map results for geographic searches.

David Mihm has written an excellent report on local SEO. According to David, the top five factors that influence your Google local listing include the following:

  • Local Business Listing Address in City of Search – In other words, your business address should be in your target city. It’s unfortunate if your business is in a named community within a much larger city. On the other hand, if there isn’t a lot of competition in your area for your particular service, Google does a pretty good job of listing related businesses within a pretty wide radius.
    Regardless, make sure your local business listing is updated.
  • Citations from Major Data Providers – This one you can have more control over, and the first place to start is with our previous post on local store marketing. Make sure to add (or update) your business to the list of sites we recommended. Once that is complete, start encouraging customers to write reviews (good ones hopefully!) about your business on those sites as well as www.citysearch.com, www.insiderpages.com, www.angieslist.com, www.urbanspoon.com, www.yelp.com, etc.
  • Association of Proper Local Business Listing Categories – This goes without saying, but make sure, when you are updating/adding your local business listing, to associate it with the most appropriate categories.
  • General Importance of Claiming Local Business Listing – According to David’s study, there are numerous reasons to claim your local business listing, but the most important, we believe, is the ability to add more specific information to the listing so the search engines have more data to associate a search with
  • Product/Service Keywords in Local Business Listing Title – Anyone familiar with SEO probably sees keyword spam potential all over this one…and they may be right. But if done reasonably, this can have a positive impact not only on rankings, but also on that one second opportunity you have to gain the attention of the person searching for your business.

David actually has a list of over 40 factors that can potentially impact your local business listing, as well as factors that can hurt it too. We highly recommend reading his post. It will help businesses really improve their chances for local search, which in turn will hopefully lead to more business.

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8 Responses to “Improve Google Local Listings through local SEO – local store marketing – part 2”

  1. Melih Oztalay Says:

    Hello,

    One of the changes going in the local business listing with all the search engines and local website directories (like Yelp or Local.com) is that the number of locations is on the rise. Most local businesses will not be able to keep up with all the locations they need to update and maintain.

    If you add that Twittering will become an addon to local business listings, the potential of dissatisfied customers walking out the door and Twittering or writing a review will add to the burden for local businesses to manage these listings.

    Something we recently read at KillerStartUps are companies that are offering a low cost service to update then manage these listings for companies. You can read about this at KillerStartUps here:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfindslocallisting-com-be-found-online

    It is a changing world and the local business will benefit. There will be some adjustment to this space needed.

  2. Josh Says:

    Good point Melih, though we caution anyone seeking the help of an outside agency to make sure that they get to keep control of the access so that you aren’t “held hostage” later.

  3. Ryan Says:

    Is it true that Google now punishes you for putting keywords in local business listing titles?

  4. Josh Says:

    Ryan, I have never heard this, and it wouldn’t make sense if they did this every time such keywords were used. Many businesses have keywords in their name, and this would unfairly penalize them. If you repeat keywords or if they are clearly not part of your business name, I would not be surprised if Google (and others) decided that some modest penalty would be appropriate, although they could just as easily choose to ignore the abusive extra keywords, just as they do with meta tags.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Thanks Josh…..and your logic makes sense, I guess I didn’t full consider the fact that many businesses do have keywords in there name.

    After some additional research (your article inspired me a bit), many bloggers recommend that you should have consistent titles and addresses (and even business names) across different local sites. You elude to this above, but I think the two ideas mentioned together make an interesting premise:

    If I am “Joe’s Pizza”, can and should I put the title “Pizza Delivery – Joe’s Pizza” ? Then, should I have this consistent across all of my local submissions across the web….

    I would think the answer is, yes you can and should.

    Thoughts?

  6. Andy Says:

    @Ryan

    If you are going to put keyword in your title you should
    put your business name first
    So “Joe’s Pizza”
    Should be “Joe’s pizza delivery”
    Not just becuase it would look better to Google but
    when they go to associate references and reviews to your
    listing it will probably match better.

    Having a title like
    “Joe’s pizza delivery in Chicago”
    will probably get you flagged.

    Andy

  7. John Says:

    So having your two primary words one after the other is seen by the big G as flaggable?, what if your heavily restriced by choice of keywords?

  8. Josh Says:

    @John – Almost certainly not unless you do it so often that you sound like a parrot. If it looks legitimate, then it almost certainly won’t be penalized. If you have an accumulation of factors that indicate you’re trying manipulate search results, then you might risk those factors being ignored, or possibly penalized in extreme cases.