If you've been online for any period of time, you've probably noticed that Google displays business listings in their search results for certain terms. For example, if you type in the phrase "new york taxi" in Google you'll see a list of results that highlight specific businesses. For those taxi businesses, this is a huge source of customers since there are a ton of people searching for taxi services everyday in New York.
This example applies to many different search terms in Google, not just taxi services. If you own a small mom and pop coffee shop you can take advantage of Google's free local listings by boosting the visibility of your business online. It's very easy to set up a listing, and it's also very easy to beat out your competition with a little bit of optimization.
That brings me to the main point of this article. What I want to cover in this article is Google listing SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization). I'll be covering a few tips that have helped me rank listings very high in the search engines for some very competitive terms. Don't worry, this isn't hard. In fact, by most SEO standards getting a Google listing page ranked is probably one of the easiest things you can do.
I'm going to go over 3 things that you need to be doing if you want to see the best results from your ranking efforts. Without these 3 things, your Google listing will never beat out the competitors unless you're in a very uncompetitive niche. So without further ado, let's get started.
1. Provide Content - Google is in the business of providing relevant results to its users. The way that it does this is by examining the content on individual web pages and then determining whether they are related to the user's search term. The best way for you to take advantage of this is to provide as much information about your business as possible. Google gives you the option to add videos, photos, business hours, descriptions and a bunch of other items to your listing page. Be sure to take advantage of all of these. Also, be sure to mention the keyword that your trying to rank for in your business description. For example, if you want to rank for "Los Angeles dentist" you should put the phrase "Los Angeles dentist" somewhere in your business description.
2. Optimize Your Title - This tip is very important because it goes along with the fact that Google uses content and keywords to determine relevancy for pages. Just like I said you need to include your keyphrase in your business description, you also need to try to include it in your business title. Let's go back to the dentist example. For my title I might use "Brady Los Angeles Dentistry". You can see that my phrase that I'm trying to rank for is contained within the title. This will really help your listing show up for your desired search term.
Something you need to be aware of is that Google frowns upon what is referred to as "keyword stuffing". This refers to the act of cramming in as many of your desired keywords into your listing title as you possibly can just to try and improve your rankings. Google has cracked down on this quite a bit and they will most likely ban your listing if they catch you doing it. Remember that our goal is not to spam the search engines. What we're trying to do is get our business listing ranked for a term that is relevant to our business. When you're writing a title, make sure that it makes sense when you read it. Otherwise, you might be accused of keyword stuffing.
3. Get Some Ratings - If you go back to our example about the New York taxi service you'll see that a lot of those listing have star ratings next to them. These ratings are extremely important to your search engine rankings. If you can't beat out your competitors using the first two tips, you can usually beat them with this one. Ratings show Google that you have a legitimate business that actually has customers. This makes it more likely that they will trust your company and rank you higher in the results.
One thing you can do to get more ratings is by asking your customers to go to your listing page and leave a rating for you. This will help quickly build up the number of ratings that your business has, thus pushing you up in the rankings. Don't worry about maintaining a perfect 5 star rating. If potential customers come to your page and see that you have nothing but 5 star ratings they might get suspicious. Plus, it doesn't seem that Google really cares much about what the actual ratings. They mainly care about the number of ratings that your business has. This is what I've found in my testing, and it seems to hold up time after time.
I hope you enjoyed this article on Google listing SEO. These tips should greatly increase your chances of landing a top place ranking for your listing. These three tips really are very easy to implement and the reward you get in return is certainly worth it. If you haven't verified your listing yet in Google, be sure to do it ASAP! To help you with verifying your listing, I've included a video that will walk you through the process. Enjoy!
If you'd like to go more in-depth with Google local SEO be sure to check out this page that covers lots of other ranking factors.
Top 10 Google Tips for Higher Local SEO Visibility | Local Search Engine Ma ..