Google Gods: 7 Ways to Make It to the Top

If you want to stay competitive in 2015, you need to ensure your business is waiting for customers on the list of local Google search results
Google Gods: 7 Ways to Make It to the Top
Do you show up on online searches for local portable restroom rental services?

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Try this experiment: Head to your computer or pick up your smartphone and conduct a Google search for the term “pizza.” Chances are, you’re going to see a list of pizza restaurants in your neighborhood. If you live in New York, Google’s not going to give you links to pizza joints in San Diego; you’re going to get pizza recommendations that are within easy walking or driving distance of your current location. 

Now search for "portable restroom rental." Do you even show up on the list? 

This is an example of Google’s local search algorithms in play — and, more and more, local search determines how consumers find businesses, and how businesses in turn reach out to potential consumers. 

Google has shifted toward local search in recent years for one simple reason: It’s an accurate reflection of how most of us use the Internet. Think about that “pizza” search query again. There may be a few people who search for “pizza” because they’re interested in learning about the history of this food, or to find good make-your-own pizza recipes — but for most of us, this search query suggests that we’re looking to grab some pizza, and want to know the best, closest place to do so.

This has big implications for small-business owners. It means that when people from your city or region conduct a Google search for a particular product or service, they’re going to get a page of local results — and if you want to stay competitive, you need to make sure your business is waiting for them on that list. 

Make the most of local search

How can you make sure your company shows up on the list of local companies? Local search visibility hinges on a few basic secrets. 

1. Claim a local profile. Go to Google Places (www.google.com/places) and follow the simple verification steps; you’ll need to provide your phone number and answer a quick confirmation call, but beyond that it’s quite simple and painless.

2. Once you have a local profile, upload some pictures. Google wants to provide users with some photos of your company, products, or services, so make sure you can provide a few photos, your logo, and so forth.

3. Make sure your Google Places account has accurate contact information for your company.

4. Ensure that you have company contact information on your website. In particular, include a phone number with area code on every page of your website, which is what Google uses to determine the geographic area in which your business falls. In lieu of that, a physical address will also work.

5. Encourage your customers to leave reviews at sites like Yelp.com as well as Google; reviews help boost local search visibility. Obviously, you want to encourage satisfied customers, in particular, to leave some feedback — but a single middling or bad review isn’t going to be the end of the world, unless it’s the only review you’ve got.

6. Remember that if your business has multiple locations, you’ll need to set up multiple landing pages and multiple Google accounts for it.

7. Finally, note that local search isn’t just about Google. Bing and Yahoo both have similar offerings, and it’s smart to set up local business pages for both search engines. Even more important, perhaps, is taking the time to completely and accurately fill out profile information on Facebook, including your business’ contact information and hours of operation. 

Local search isn’t something you can ignore. Without it, your company may as well not exist. Thankfully, local search visibility is a fairly easy thing to obtain.

About the Author

Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland.

Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces.

Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net



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