If you are lucky, just getting yourself listed in Google's Local Business Center will help you "get on the map" as far as local searches are concerned. As I mentioned in my previous post about Google local search, if you are not listed in Local Business Center chances are pretty good you will not show up on the local search map when people search for, for example, "Punkiedoodles Corners Realtors".
But the fact is, just getting your listing in Google LBC will probably not be enough either - especially as things get more competitive. Unfortunately you need to tweak your listing so it gives you the results you want.
According to the "experts", the three most important factors that determine the ranking of your listing are:
- The actual content of your listing (what it says)
- Authoratative localation-based inbound links to your web site
- Citations in the major directories
Let's talk briefly about #1 above. I will discuss #2 and #3 in future posts.
So how should you write your GLBC listing?
First, be accurate and consistent. Include the same basic description of your business that can (or should) be found on your website. Business name, address, phone number. Make sure these are accurate and make sure they are the same wherever they are found, otherwise Google will be confused about your business identity (and we certainly wouldn't want that).
Make sure your description includes your most important keywords. If you want to be found for "Toledo", then make sure you say it. If you want to be found for "Toledo condos" then make sure you say it. The people at Google may be very smart, but they still can't read your mind, and they can't possibly know your specialization unless you tell them in words.
Second, enter the correct categories. They give you 5 so use them. The categories you enter (like the keywords mentioned above) help Google determine which searches your site is relevant to.
Third, wherever possible enter content and detail. For example, they give you the chance to include photos and videos. Include as many as you can.
Here are some additional sources on information on the topic of Local Business Search. Most of these are blog posts written by local search SEO specialists. Try not to get bogged down in the technical details.
The bottom line, generally, is to make your Google Local Business Center listing as detailed and as "optimized" as possible. Inbound links and citations (reviews) are next in importance.
David Mihm's Local Search Ranking Factors - May, 2009
Anatomy of a Local Search Listing - Chris Silver Smith
How to Launch that Small Business Website" - Lisa Barone
10 Likely Elements of Google's Local Search Algorithm - Matt McGee
Local vs. Traditional SEO: Why Citation Is the New Link - David Mihm
Local Landing Page Best Practices
Google local ranking factors - Andy Corp
Google local Ranking Excel file - Andy Corp
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