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Understanding the Importance of Google Local to Your Business

One of the latest and most cost-effective marketing tools today is local optimization. Most people these days already own a smartphone, and the number of mobile searches are quickly catching up with desktop searches. Internet users who use mobile phones are great potential clients for local businesses.

Why do you need to claim a Google Local site?

Google Local Business Listing, or also called Google Local or Google Places, gives your business a substantial edge over competitors in your local area who are not yet using this service. The main reason for this is the continually surging popularity of mobile searches. Google now sorts search results, particularly from mobile web users, in relevance to location. Google makes use of the GPS data from a mobile device to prioritize locations that are geographically closer to the searcher. This implies that the nearer your business is to the searcher (given that all other factors are equal), the higher it will show up on a SERP.

So, how do you ensure that your website gets the top spot for local search? The answer is to make sure the other factors are not equal. SEO may help, but you need to address additional areas related to a local search. You should understand that there are differences between optimizing for local searches, and standard SEO optimization or PPC advertising.

How to optimize your Google Local profile

Many businesses already have a generic listing with Google Local. The list includes general information that can be accessed by the public, like phone number and address. It’s a good start – but it’s not effective in boosting your local search results. Include more custom information in your listing so you can rank higher over competitors and your website can attract more customers. Place videos of your products or services and pictures of your business, if possible.

Additionally, follow these tips:

– Include some reviews on your business website.

This adds value to your web page. Google will utilize the review content to assess the relevance of your site to search queries. Reviews will significantly improve your search rankings and draw in more potential leads.

– Pick the right business category.

Try to select a very specific category, since Google mainly ranks category-specific sites higher over generics.

– Choose the region setting for your profile.

In your Google Local profile, select the appropriate region wherein your business operates. The setting doesn’t restrict your site to a single city listing. It’s a superb tool since it allows you to expand the range of your ranking in local searches without the need to create listings in each city.

Another important factor for higher Google relevance is your profile age. Older profiles are considered more stable businesses and are thus given more weight. However, it doesn’t mean that once you’ve built your Google Local page, then you’d simply leave it and forget it. The best thing to do is update it as frequently as possible, since content freshness is as valuable as profile age (as the Panda and Penguin updates have made painfully clear).

In general, optimizing your Google Places page is similar to standard web page SEO. You just need to do the few tweaks and adjustments mentioned above so your local search rankings will rise up to the top.

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