If you own a business and have an address from which you operate that business, then you must include it in any of the dozens of Local Business Listing Directories.
Why your business needs to claim its Google Places Page
While “googling” I’m sure you’ve noticed that Google tends to put Google Places results above other organic results. These are local business listings, but only businesses who have claimed their listing can show up in the results. Hey, it’s their search engine and they can do what they want. We just need to understand what the search gods want us to do and play by their rules to rank well.
Why do they serve Google Places pages before the other organic results? I suspect that was done in an effort to provide the searcher with more relevant results. If you search for a “Dentist in Henderson, NV”, you are most likely interested where they are located, because you probably want a dentist that will be convenient to your place of work or home. So a local Google Places result is very relevant in that case.
Knowing this fact, creating a Google Places page has become online marketers go-to strategy for getting ranked higher in Google, and there is nothing wrong with that. Businesses should look for any advantage to get noticed. If you are not on Google Maps or in any of the other Local Business Listing Directories, then you are missing out big.
Benefits of claiming Google Places Page for your business
The big deal about creating a Google Places Page for your business, is that it sends a high quality link back to your website. And as you know, high quality link backs are like little votes for your website, which helps it rank higher. In addition, it tells Google to look around the world wide web and try to connect where else you, and your business, may have been listed and mentioned. People can leave comments and reviews about your business and share with their friends. That’s huge! Google does most of the work for you, so why wouldn’t you be part of it and best of all it’s free. Take the time and claim your listing or let us help you create you an optimized Local Business Listing.
However, claiming your Local Business Listing with Google Maps requires certain amount of strategy, especially when everyone, including your competitors are doing it. So there are some things you will need to keep in mind to try to get the most out of your business listing.
Google has recently made changes to their Business Listing Quality Guideline that basically completely changed the way Google Maps and Google Places pages are now function. I’ve listed some of what you need to look out for when creating your business listing here:
1. You need a real address
Most of the business listing directories require that you have a physical and verifiable address. P.O. Boxes are not physical addresses. But don’t fret you virtual business owners, there are ways around it. You could use your home address and hide it when displaying results, or get a mailbox for your business. That’s certainly cheaper than renting an office.
2. You need to be the owner or an authorized representative
To claim the Business Listing you need actually own the business or be an authorized representative of the business. Google will require verification. Which is great, since it means that there are little chance that someone else might claim your business and try to steal away customers.
3. Don’t keyword stuff your Business Name Listing
People try to cheat Google and keyword stuff their business name in hopes of ranking better. Well, Google is too smart for that. You’ll need to use your actual official business name and factual description.
4. Create ONE listing for each business location
Unless you have actual offices in multiple cities or multiple physical local locations, one listing is all you need. Trying to artificially create listings to cover all of your service area, while you actually have one physical address can get you unlisted from Google altogether and we certainly don’t want that.
5. Create ONE listing for all the specialties
Are you a doctor or a lawyer? You probably have several services that you offer. One listing is sufficient to list all of your services.
6. Use your actual business phone number and business URL
Don’t get cute and create urls that redirect or forward to some special landing pages. This is a business listing, so you should use the shortest and most direct way for the customer to reach you. When listing your email address, use one that you don’t mind being public and shared out with the world.
7. Choose Categories that explain what your business IS not what it does
This one is important. Don’t try to keyword stuff here. Enter or select categories that describe what your business is and not what it does. So for a Dentist you might want to select “Cosmetic Dentistry” not “teeth whitening”. A lawyer might select “estate planning attorney” category rather than “creating wills”. Google places gives you the ability to create your own category if there isn’t already one, but stay focused don’t try to create new categories if ones that are available will do just fine.
8. Use Additional fields to stand out
Google places allows for additional fields for description, photos, logos, videos, special offers
9. Don’t list businesses that are under construction
If you’re just starting out and don’t have an address or your website is not ready, or you don’t have the products you claim to be selling, then don’t list it. Wait until you are all setup.
Do you have any other tips you’d like to add? Don’t be shy post your comments.
Please contact us if you need help with:
- creating or reviewing your business listing
- maintaining your business listings
- submitting your business listing to other major business listing directories