We follow several SEO bloggers and this blog that came last week got our attention for two reasons:
- It was the only blog that mentioned this important and timely topic, and
- We didn't get the notification from Google, even though we have a Google Web master account
We did hear about it through a Search Engine Journal post, you can see here.
What it's about is reclaiming your Google Places listing, which is important for any business and critical for those with brick and mortar locations that customers visit.
Plus this listing is free and if there's one thing you can get the biggest bang from for free, it's Google Places.
Google Places listing is critical for SEO
Because it literally puts your business’ identity on the map. When you have an active up-to-date Google Places listing, it appears in Google searches, Google Maps and, for those who are active in this: Google+ Local.
And when you conduct a search on Google, the list of Google Places shows up right after the Paid ads, and before the organic search results. So getting this done, and done now, should go right to the top of your "to do" list!
Google Places listing is critical for customers
One of the biggest oversights we find is that clients who don't use Yelp or other social media sites to find businesses, assume not many people use it. They overlook what could be an awesome referral for their business. Because not only do folks given high trust factor to those posting on Yelp, but if your business has a listing, you make it easy for prospects to become customers.
What if you get negative reviews?
That problem is a fact of life for ANY business owner, and you can't worry about them if you run a business. You obviously do your best with all customers, and hope the good experiences get out into the universe.
Remember the saying: any press is good press? Well, it's the same in the social media world: any review of you business, whether it's good or bad counts as a social signal and link back to your website. That's because (at least at this time) Google’s algorithms can't determine if a review is positive or negative. It just looks for a review, especially one that links back to your website or business, and counts it in your favor.
Optimize your website for local searches, too
Since people search for services geographically, you should have individual landing pages on your website that focus on specific geo-locations, For example, if you're a home builder who builds homes in Dublin, Ohio, having a landing page specifically for Dublin, Ohio is a good idea.
Why? Because you can imagine someone searching for new homes in Dublin, Ohio, would key in "home builder Dublin Ohio" in an effort to get someone local who might be familiar with that suburbs building regulations. Or a builder who already has a lot in that city.
We're a Columbus web design firm and have geo-landing pages for Columbus, Short North and a few other cities surrounding us to cover the prospect who searches using local geo-targeting.
So finish reading this blog post and log into your Google account and take care of updating your Google Places listing now. And certainly before the end of this month. Because if you don't update your Google Places listing now, it's gonna be a bigger pain-in-the-butt to reclaim it later.