Local Search Optimization
Approximately 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses, but did you know that geolocation changes Google keyword rankings 69% of the time?
Depending on your vertical and geo, your geo-ranking on different keywords will vary, making the need to develop geo-optimization strategies that maximize your opportunities to grow traffic and revenues of utmost importance.
While there are a lot of similarities between local and international searches, search engines have been particularly focused on delivering locally-optimized results as the web continues to grow. It is now possible to target, not only a specific country or language, but a specific city or metropolitan area and get the desired results. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the use of Google maps.
How Google Maps are Affecting Search
Google Maps are primarily based on relevance, distance, and prominence. Relevance is how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Google is also able to calculate the distance to the location term used and display the potential search result based on what is known about that location. Prominence is determined by how well-known a listing is based on information about a business across the web from links, articles, and directories.
Google Places for Business allows you to manage your business website, location, and hours of operation that are displayed on search results. This information is overlaid on top of Google Maps, helping customers locate your business on Google Maps together with other pertinent information about your business.
What Customers Expect
When you place a local business listing as part of your local search optimization efforts, Google will display your location on Google Maps – in addition to Google Maps Mobile on smartphones. A Google Places listing allows you to add many features to enhance search results. Potential customers want to see photos of your business location and Google Places allows you to do exactly that. It is even possible to add videos and high-quality, panoramic photos of your building’s interior which makes your business interesting to customers.
Adding photos can help customers walk around, interact; explore your business – enabling them to truly experience your company like they never could before. Any images you place on a Google Places listing are automatically available through Google Maps, allowing you even greater visibility to international searches.
Of course, the best way to learn what customers expect from your Google Maps local listing is to look at how your business listing is performing. The Google Places dashboard contains statistics that indicate the impressions, or the number of times your listing has been displayed, on a Google search including mobile, the total number of clicks made on Google, Google Maps and Google Maps Mobile, and other search activity. A breakdown of the activity by your local customers, such as which links are clicked on and where your customers are coming from, will help you better edit your business information to optimize your search results and improve customer satisfaction.
With mobile taking over in a lot of ways, smartphone users now have another powerful tool to help them locate your business location. Google Maps for Android, for example, shows users where they are and how to get to your business using voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. Users can also be able to search for nearby places and get location information and recommendations from people who have visited your business. Of course, it goes without saying these tools are only as powerful as the information they are fed.
Clearly, local search optimization would be incomplete without optimizing Google Maps to help potential customers find you, learn about you, and even discover great offers and deals that you are offering on the go.
How to Optimize Your Google Map Local Listing
Now that you know how to claim your Google Places/Google Maps listing, it’s time to optimize your entry to get the most leads, conversions, traffic, and search engine visibility. The first thing you want to do is ensure that your business location, contacts, and other pertinent information are entered correctly. Ensure that keyword-driven information makes sense and that your pin on the map is placed accurately. If you put in wrong information, you will have to go through the validation process again.
Ensure that you place your business in the right category based on the suggested keywords. It is also advisable to include both videos and photos that are entertaining and informative. Don’t be afraid to have fun with these resources as it will engage more people. Be sure to share updates such as events, specials, and more which will increase your business listing value.
When you take time to optimize your Google Places local listing, you are more likely to increase your search traffic. In addition, when customers are happy with your services, they are more likely to write a positive review about your business on the Place page which will further boost traffic and ultimately your revenue.
At LAD Solutions, we help you create a powerful Google Places listing and keep it updated with customer reviews, new coupon offers, and more.