For any local business which has a physical address a Google local listing page is simply is a must. Google local listings have become a staple in the local SEO industry but the reality is that they are much more than just that. A Google business listing gives your audience the ability to find your local business, see your business information and also give you some sort of credibility that you are a real business where you can just walk in. Now, over the years these local listings have been abused quite a bit leave Google scratching their heads and going back to the drawing board so to speak on how to fix things. Google really hates a poor user experience.
Google is getting pretty good at identifying the black hat gaming strategies some idiots are attempting out there. There is a right way to optimize your Google local business listing and a wrong way. Google has even put out a local places optimization best practice guide for those of you still trying to cram a bunch of keywords where your company name should be. Google places SEO can be very powerful when done correctly and with taste.
Here are some tips directly from the Google guide we should all be using when filling out our Google local listing page.
(This is directly from Google)
“Do not include marketing taglines in your business name.
Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name field, unless they are part of your business name.
Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business in the business name field.”
Make sense doesn’t it? Keep it clean and keep it right. Don’t worry about trying to manipulate your way to the top. Fill out the business listing with 100% accuracy and taste. Don’t succumb into spammy SEO techniques because Google can take the page away from you just as quickly as they gave it to you.
“Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.”
This was a big problem in the past. Businesses would attempt to set up local listings all over the U.S when all they had was one location. Not cool, don’t spam it or you will break it.
“Do not include information in address lines that does not pertain your business’s physical location (e.g. URLs, keywords).”
Keyword stuffing is extremely frowned upon. It looks horrible and it does nothing to improve the user experience quality that Google is so keen on. Plus it generates a poor image on the brand you are trying to build.
“Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible.”
The search engines have a unique set of search signals they use to pick up company elements. A local phone number will tie you into that specific geographical location that much more.
“Categories should say what your business is (e.g. Hospital), not on what it does (e.g.Vaccinations) or things it sells (e.g. Sony products or printer paper). This information can be added in your description or as custom attributes.”
This is important because you want your business to be categorized properly otherwise it will not appear in search results properly.