As an increasing number of searches have local intent behind them it is vitally important you optimise your Google Places listing to maximise its impact. Further to Marcus’s blog post last week discussing the importance of online reviews for your practice here’s a list of things you can (and should) be doing to complete and optimise your Google places listing….
1. Claim or Create Your Listing
In many cases the listing has already been created, you just need to then claim it, and begin to customise and optimise. To do this, click through to the places page and look for the “Business Owner?” link.
If your listing doesn’t already exist follow the instructions to create one.
In both cases, Google will need you to verify the listing by address or phone. They will call you with an automated service or send you a postcard in the mail with an authorisation code.
2. Choose an Appropriate Title
Obviously, it is imperative that you use your real business name in the title. It is tempting to put something like “Scissors Hair Salon – Best Hair salon in Manchester”. Unfortunately, this will appear to Google as inconsistent with all the other information they can gather about your business.
The one exception to this rule is if your business is a franchise or you have stores in a number of different locations of cities. In this case you can title your place “Scissors Hair Salon – Manchester”.
3. Include Relevant Keywords
There are 2 important places to include relevant keywords in your listing. The first is the description. Find a way to include keywords you want Google to recognise you for (i.e. hairdresser Manchester) and work them into your business description. Try not to go overboard though.
The second place is the actual keyword section of the listing. As you start typing Google will suggest some of the keywords it has already identified. Try to choose as many of those as possible since Google knows what types of searches associate with these words and will give you more relevant placement.
4. Add as Much as You Can!
Try to use all the opportunities to add material as possible. This includes special offers, photos, and videos. Google loves multimedia content and so do your customers!
This is how Google attempts to gather information or about your business. It is a great way for them to understand what your customers are saying about you but perhaps more importantly, it allows other potential customers to decide if you’re worth checking out!
You should encourage your customers to leave honest reviews on some of the major review sites. You can do this through your email marketing or in-store cards explaining how to leave a review. Then you must also claim your listing on the review site to ensure the information contained is correct and up-to-date.
Through research, you will also be able to turn up local business directories or industry specific ones. Try to create or claim a profile on as many of these as possible. If all the information across all these profiles is consistent, Google will surely see you as a credible business and will start finding ways to place you high up in their listings!