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So you’ve got your website, set up your FREE Google Places listing (if you haven’t, read this article first) and you’re looking for ways to generate even more business from online searches? Great, it’s time to start optimising your account! And it pays to do it sooner rather than later!
More and more businesses are cropping up on Google Places, so gone are the days where you simply fill out your business listing on Google and see it come out in the first seven results a few weeks later.
In a nutshell, optimising is making SMALL modifications to parts of your Google Places listing so that you get a BIGGER response. Whilst you don’t need to probably apply all ten of the techniques below, try as many as you can (whichever are the most appropriate to your business and customer needs) and you’ll see the benefit.
Townpages’ Top 10 Tips
Simply log in to your Google Places account at www.google.com/places and optimise away…
1. Go back over your listing and fill in all the fields to make sure your listing has a 100% score. There are more than 20 different fields in your Google Places listing and surprisingly most businesses don’t bother to fill them all in. Don’t make the same mistake.
2. Include relevant product or service keywords in your listing description – try and include words that your target audience will type in when they’re searching for a business like yours.
For example: Imagine you own a decorating firm. Using ‘incredible interiors’ or ‘grand designs’ in your listing may sound great – but would your potential customers type those words in to find a good decorator located nearby? Probably not.
3. A word of warning! As with any search-related content on the internet, be sure not to overuse your keywords or add them in the wrong places (like after your business name) because you may be penalised by Google.
4. It’s also worth adding in one or two cities and towns where your target market lives – they may include these in their search. Oh, and feature a local number to tie you to the area. A rival with a 0800 number could be based anywhere.
5. Add in some testimonials – glowing customer reviews are your best friend! Although getting hold of them won’t be the easiest thing in the world, it’s worth the effort. They’ll help build interest and your ranking. Given the choice of a business with and without reviews, which would you choose?
6. Include photos. Yes, get some decent, hi-res pictures taken of your business. If you haven’t got an actual shop then still get some good shots of the van or transport you use – even the products you sell. This not only adds more weight to your listing, it lets potential customers know that you are a legitimate business.
It’s easy to do: Just follow the instructions on screen to upload your pictures.
7. Similar to Photos, upload a video to YouTube to advertise your business. Not sure what your video should be of? It can be anything, an interview with yourself or others in the company, shots of people working, maybe even a little humour if applicable.
8. Match your contact page address with your Google Places address
You need to keep your address standard wherever it appears to strengthen your claim to be located in that area.
9. Get listed in the other top local directories like Yell, Bing and Foursquare, it all helps.
10. Make sure you are listed in your local phone book. Although this sounds a bit out of context with online tips, Google look to established sources of data to both build their database and check for local business information. If you’re not listed here, it may affect your ability to rank on the first page.
Individually, these changes might seem a little bit trivial or time-consuming. Wrong! When combined, they could have a huge impact on your Google rankings from local searches. And that can only be good for your business from free advertising.
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