Google has made local business listings very confusing for small businesses. Anyone who has a physical address and phone number they can use should have local listings.
Local listings are among the strongest and easiest to obtain of all incoming links. They make your business easier to find and improve your search engine listings for all searches.
Google Places or Google Local Plus
Since Google will send you the most traffic and business we need to start with them. Amanda DiSilvestro has made this easier with this very comprehensive Search Engine Watch post explaining how Google Places is different from Google+ Local.
Although that is a long post, it is essential to understand what Amanda is explaining to know whether you can merge your two listings together and which to create if you aren’t already listed.
Google keeps changing the names and listings, creating perpetual confusion. Do not let that keep you from getting that listing as for some small businesses it will greatly increase your sales.
After Google DO THIS
But do NOT stop there. Google is famous for giving and then taking away. I strongly encourage you to not rely only on Google. While there are some drawbacks to using Universal Business Listings (UBL), I still feel they are the fastest, easiest way to get your business listed on hundreds of sites.
They can get you into the major databases that feed GPS and cell phone systems faster. While UBL is not free, it is inexpensive enough that if you value your time at all you need to use them.
By spending as little as $79 with them you can save hundreds of hours of work and frustration. If you want to save even more time you can choose one of their premium packages.
After using UBL, one of my clients was getting 75 visitors from hundreds of other sites for every 100 visitors they got from Google. Before UBL they were getting 98% of their traffic from Google. See that UBL Case Study for details.
Ask any of the businesses that have lost 58-70+% of their Google traffic how that impacted them. For many, a 70% drop in traffic = a 70% drop in sales.
Using UBL gives you many sources of traffic so if
Google did penalize you there would still be sales.
Local Listings Tips
Many get confused trying to get their local listings done. Do not let anything keep you from making it happen. If you get stuck, ask me for assistance. Skype is the fast way – just send me a message. (Skype username GrowMap.)
Here are some key pointers:
- Include all your relevant keywords in your descriptions including cities, state and counties where you deliver.
- Use EXACTLY the same company name, address and phone number in every listing.
- Choose categories carefully – these are critical to having your listing show up. Mike created a category tool to help: http://blumenthals.com/?
- You can add your logo or Avatar, images of your baskets – even video if you have it – to many listings.
- Some listings allow you to upload discounts, specials, and coupons.
If you can afford assistance, hire someone with experience. If you can’t, just do the best you can. Any listing is better than no listing, but someone with keyword research experience and knowledge of these systems can do a better job for you.
Local Listings Resources
- One of the very best resources for Google Places, Google Local Plus and Local SEO is Mike Blumenthal’s Understanding Google Places and Local Search blog.
- You can check your current local listings using getlisted.org.
- Official Google Info: Create a Local G+ Page
- Google + for Business
Getting your local listings is the easiest way to get incoming links from very high authority sites. Do not put off getting these listings. If money is too tight to spend $79, create your listings manually starting with these Top 10 Local Search Directories By Importance.
Easy Way to Get Social Media Profiles
The other easy to obtain high priority incoming links are from social networks. Even if you aren’t using them yet, you should claim your username (before someone else does!) and indicate where you are active or send visitors to your profiles to your site.
There is also an easy way to do this if you can afford $84.95. Use Knowem to claim the most important social profiles. Note that if you had done this earlier it would have cost $65 (and I believe that was for more profiles than now). Later it will probably cost more, so this is another something you should not put off.
If you can’t afford to use Knowem, manually claim your social networks. I explain which are the most important in How to Decide Which Social Networks are Most Important to YOU.
Creating your social profiles is simple if you know how to upload an image and fill in forms online. If you get stuck, just send me a message on Skype (username growmap) or a regular tweet to @GrowMap.
If you would prefer to have someone set up your social profiles for you that is inexpensive because it is fast and easy for those of us who do it all the time. Contact me for recommendations or to have me do it for you.