Google has changed the way search results are being displayed and it will have a huge impact on your business. Staying on top of Google page 1 is a hard and expensive process, however the rewards can be huge. The new changes to Google are designed to help small business. Are you getting your slice of the action?

It seems over the last year ranking highly on Google’s Local Business Centre listings is becoming increasingly important as the map and first seven listings are being displayed before page 1 organic listings even start.

Here are some useful tips to show you how you can get up close and personal with Google + Places listings and optimise your local search engine rankings.

So What is A Google + (Places) Listing?
Google Places listings are different to organic or pay-per-click listings. They typically only show up when the user types a service oriented business followed by the city for their search, such as “Plumbers Frankston” or “Dentist Brighton”. If Google determines there are a lot of local search queries for this area, a large map from Google Maps appears alongside up to seven URLs with a phone number alongside each listing.

How to grow your business with Local Places Search
If you are interested in reaching your local community and marketing your services/products to them in the best possible way, you should definitely get your company listed on Google + (Places).
You can do this process yourself; however, using Design Post will ensure better results faster. Some of the key areas Design Post focus on are:

1. Google Places Verification
You must verify ownership of the business before we can start optimising your listing. After the website has been verified, your Local Business Centre listing will go live and begin to show up in search results and you will be able to modify and update your listing.

2. 100% completion rate
Google gives a preference to businesses that have completed the full form and ticked all the boxes including opening times, what payment types you accept and inclusions of images and video and have a 100% completion rate.

3. Include many category types
It is essential that your primary category is the most accurate description for your company and the one that your potential customers are most likely to search for. The remaining subsidiary categories should be used to account for all of your other service descriptions.

4. Detailed description of your business
You need to enter a 200-word or less description of your business that is a detailed explanation of the service you offer.  Don’t cram the listing or name with obvious keywords and keep the text engaging and compelling for readers.

5. Multiple listings on Google Places
You can create multiple Google Local Business listings as long as you have multiple physical business locations for your business. However, if you are a business who services several different areas but has only one physical address or if you provide several services per one location, you should only have one listing. Google Places advises that a local number for your business is preferable to an 1800 or 1300 number listing.

6. Inclusion of videos and photos
Add a logo, video and as many photos as you can to improve your ranking. Including photos of your products and services, shop front or examples of work you have done gives your website a competitive advantage and raises your businesses’ credibility in the eyes of the consumer.

7. Citations
Find and keep growing your citations – these are becoming increasingly important. Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other web pages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory or business directory where your business is listed, but a link is not provided.

8. Reviews and testimonials
Ask your customers and clients to write reviews for your Google local listing. Not only does this improve your listing, but it also promotes believability, credibility, and a sense of security for new customers.

9. Link back to the listing
Ask local community organisations who have websites such as your local Chamber of Commerce, any industry associations, your clients, suppliers or other relevant businesses to list your LBC listing on their website and build your local network.

10. Keep on updating your listing
Make it a point to update your listing regularly as Google always gives a preference to listings which have fresh and new content. This can include the following:

Using these SEO techniques, we will help your website rank higher in Google Places listings and give you the competitive edge over local businesses, increase the number of enquiries or people clicking through to your website and the quality of leads that are local to your business.

Now is the time to act as it is still early days with the Google Places listings. Get on the first page of Google with your local listing and promote your business to your local audience.
Call Design Post on 03 9899 3100