How to Optimize Your Google Places Account For Free (Google Local Business Listing)
There has been a surge of companies offering (or claiming to offer) search engine optimization services with regard to Google Places. While some are legitimate SEO companies many are scams that collect monthly fees and actually do nothing in return.
It is a known fact that a Google Places account does not require any special attention to get to the top of search engines and stay there. The most important factor in determining which listings get to top and stay there is activity. This means that you can handle this yourself in just a matter of a few minutes per month, and in fact no SEO company can do a better job of optimizing your Google Places account than you can.
Consider the fact that Google would never allow businesses to simply pay for featured placement outside of purchasing pay per click advertising. This would be somewhat unethical, causing an unfair balance within a free and open system.
If you are paying monthly fees for Google Places optimization then read on, this article is for you. You might want to cancel service asap, depending on exactly what you are paying for, you might be getting ripped off.
Free Google optimization for local businesses
It is free to verify your Google Places / local business listing. Simply do a search on Google for your business by name or address or even by the type of business you are. Some unverified Google Places can actually be found on the first page of Google results, this should sound some alarms if you are paying monthly fees.
If you happen to be in a competitive market and find that your Google Places listing is not on the first page then you can work on this yourself, for free, with just a few minutes per month. Here's what you do.
- Verify your Google Places account if you have not already done so.
- Fill in all the information on your account. (see below for details).
- Let your customers know that they can visit your Google Places account and leave a review, no SEO company can do this for you. Perhaps offer a small discount, coupon or gift certificate.
- Keep tabs on your Google Places account and periodically update coupon offerings and your content.
- Add your business to other related local business listing services such as Yelp, MerchantCircle and Localstretch.com
- Place links to your Google Places account on your website or other web properties and directories.
Filling out your Google Places business listing
Make sure that you use the appropriate keywords for your business, you would be the best person to create these keywords. In general they would be the words and phrases your customers are most likely to type into their search. They can also be the services you specialize in or have the most competitive offers on.
Your categories are also keywords in that they should also be your best guess as to what you customers will search and best description of what you do.
Upload as many images as you have and update them periodically.
Make short videos and upload them to youtube and place them on your listings. These do not have to be complicated or anything special. Perhaps just a talking head explaining your services and products.
Add listings for each location you have.
How does your Google Places listing get to the front page of Google search?
The main factors are activity and popularity. You can improve your activity by simply sending your customers an email asking for a review. Send this request to everyone, even if you think that they might not respond or might not leave a favorable review. Visitors prefer honesty and if you can actually take the time to improve services and address any issues you may have had with customers this will definitely help your business. No business is perfect but the ones that strive to do better and are honest are much more likely to succeed than those that simply ignore issues.
With regard to popularity it is advised that you place your listing any and everywhere you can. When and if you post an ad on a directory or classified website provide a link or embed your Google Places link if possible. Also embed your listing on your website and place links to your account in emails so that customers or potential customers can link directly to directions, coupons and reviews.
That is really all there is to it, there are no secrets, no magic or inaccessible optimization tools involved.
If you do want to build your overall internet presence then you can take advantage of Google Adwords, for a limited time you can get $100 of free advertising for opening a Google Adwords account. Email us at email@example.com for your Free $100 Google Adwords coupon code. There is no obligation to continue advertising, so take no worries if it doesn't work out for you.
Let us know if you need help setting up your account, we can also help you get started for free.