Why Optimizing Your Local Business Listing On Google Now Is So Important To Your Online Marketing Efforts
Your local business listing on Google can and probably is a lead generation source even if you don’t realize it. Read on to see why you may lose that source.
Local Business Listing History
When Google first created the local business listings, they imported 80 million local businesses using data that they aggregated from all over the Internet.
The expectation was that local businesses would see the value of these listings, claim their listing and optimize it so that it would give the searcher the information they needed to decide whether or not they wanted to patronize that business.
Unfortunately, more than half of all the local business listings that were imported are still unclaimed and unoptimized.
Google Has Started Cleaning House
In February, Google sent an email to local business owners in Australia giving him three weeks to claim their local business listing or it would be deleted.
Since then, Google has repeated the process in Canada and Europe. I believe it’s only a matter of time before they start cleaning the database of unclaimed business listings in the United States.
Why Cleaning House Is So Important To Google
The majority of Google’s income comes from advertising sold on their various properties. This includes: search results pages, YouTube, Local Business Listings, Google+ pages and more which makes it very important for them to have high relevancy when the search is made.
For desktop searches, Google gets the most traffic coming in at 67% of all searches and they have something like 90% of all mobile searches which are mostly local oriented or searches for YouTube videos.
Google owns YouTube which gets the second highest number of online searches.
The numbers of searches done from mobile devices increases exponentially every year and local business listings are almost always at the top of the search results that are shown on mobile devices.
Unclaimed local business listings that are in Google’s database have been sitting there for several years and Google has no way of knowing whether these businesses are still in business or whether any of the data is still valid.
Google cannot afford to have local business listings that are incorrect if they wish to retain their dominance in search and therefore in ad revenue.
What You Need To Do
Every local business owner needs to do the following to make sure their local business listing is not purged when Google starts cleaning the United States local business listing database.
- Claim your local business listing if you haven’t.
- Make sure your business is listed in the proper category from the drop-down list that is available to you. If your business fits in multiple categories, place the most relevant as the primary category then add up to four additional categories from the list.
- Make sure the pin on the map is placed near the front door of your business if it isn’t already.
- Verify that your business name, address and phone number are correct.
- Enter your business hours.
- Enter at least one type of payment method that you accept.
- Enter a description for your business telling what you do. You can use additional keywords in the 255 characters that you are allowed (including spaces) provided the description is not promotional.
- Add a minimum of 10 photographs that show what you do through pictures. These pictures should be 800 by 600 pixels in size and the first one should be your business logo.
- Your business listing will also have a Google+ business page attached to it. Put your logo or your image as a profile picture and have a custom header created for you if you cannot create one yourself that depicts your brand.
- The about tab on your Google+ business page allows you to add more information about your business. You can add up to 5000 characters (including spaces) about your business and what you do. Take advantage of this because you can add additional keywords that will help you in search.
- Your local business listing also lets you add up to five offers to potential customers. Take advantage of it because these offers will show up in the offers page and when people do a map search.
- Optimize your YouTube channel (this includes adding a custom header) and tie it to your Google+ page.
- Add five videos to your YouTube channel with each video targeting one of the five keywords that you will be targeting.
- Start building up your circles for your Google+ business page. The circles allow you to share different content with the different groups of people that you have created.
- Add content to your Google+ business page on a regular basis.
Google is requiring people to have a Gmail account & sign in before they can leave a review for your business. Many find this inconvenient but it serves two purposes:
- It helps reduce review fraud.
- It helps Google collect more data from the users of their properties so they can provide advertising that is more highly targeted.
You may or may not need to complete everything that is listed above but those that do will have a distinct advantage over their competitors in the search results and they will be less likely to have their local business listing purged from the US database.
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