If your business depends on people getting to your place of business – e.g. a daycare, hair salon, and restaurant – then it is important that you focus your online marketing to getting local traffic.
The universe of the local market is smaller, but the traffic is highly targeted. For example, a business owner running a daycare in Annandale, Virginia has very little interest in getting people from Australia visit their website (unless that person is going to move to Annandale). This site owner is better off focusing his efforts in getting people living in Annandale and nearby areas to finding about his website and his business.
I previously wrote about on the importance of getting into Google Maps to increase the exposure of your business. More and more people are using Google Maps to find businesses, determine their locations and even get driving directions. Hence, it is important that your website be visible and rank well in Google Maps.
So the next question is – what can you do to help your business get first page ranking in Google Maps?
Online marketing experts have suggested the following strategies for your business to get top rankings in Google Maps:
1. Completely fill out your listing in Google Places
- Add keywords to the title of your business
- Make sure your description contains your keywords, including city and state keywords.
- Put the right keywords in the categories section.
- Connect your Map with your Google Profile and Google Places (previously Local Business) listing.
- Dress up your listing by adding photos and videos. Photos are particularly important as listings without photos are considered incomplete.
- If appropriate, add coupon or include events, specials and other info to give your listing more pop.
2. Optimize your website for local search.
- Start by making sure that your website follows the Google Webmaster guidelines for design and content, quality and technical compliance
- Optimize your own page to include your location. For example, the meta tags on your Contact Us or About Us pages should include your location.
- Put your address in your homepage.
- Include your address details, and even a keyword rich anchor text linking to your map in your website footer. This approach makes it easier for your visitors to find your address – wherever they land on your site – and this could also signal to Google that your location is credible.
- Promote your Google Map and Profile on your Blog or Website. You can embed the map on your contact us page.
- Proximity to the center of the city is important. Google prioritizes listings closest to the center of a Town or City in most cases, so geo location can impact your listing.
3. Get customer reviews for your business.
- Ask your customers to write reviews about your business, as this can indicate popularity and credibility. In addition to reviews on Google Maps, Google aggregates reviews from various places such as Insiderpages.com, TripAdvisor.com, Citysearch.com, Dine.com, and other sites.
- The higher the number of reviews, the better.
- Solid to great reviews are important. The more stars you get from review sites, the better your ranking will be.
4. Increase the number of inbound back links from other Local Directories
- Improve the number of sites linking to your website relative to its location.
- Submit your website to LOCAL online credible directories. Being listed in them gives you more “authority” which helps to raise your listing with Google to more prominence. Other listing directories to consider include Yellow Pages, Yelp, City Search, Verizon, Yahoo, AllPages, Local.com, etc. – Google pulls information from these sites and includes them in your Google Places listing.