Google Places in 2015: Local Listings Optimization

Ensuring a strong presence on sites like Yelp and Google Maps in 2015 may be just as important for your business as any on-page optimization strategies. Though most SEO strategies are heavily focused on optimizing your business’s website, you’re likely missing out on valuable opportunities if you ignore investment in local directories, Google Maps, and review sites as well.

Why is local SEO so important?

You might have noticed that when making searches on Google such as “mechanic Toronto”, your first few results are map listings before you finally see a local business website listing. Searchers, and potential customers, are likely to click on one of those map results first before they even see a local business website listing. So, here are a few tips to optimize your presence in the map and directory sites.

1. Set Up and Optimize your Google My Business Listing

Make sure your business’s information is correct when you’re listed and you can do this for Google maps via Google My Business. It provides an easy way for a business owner to create a listing or claim an existing one. The service is fee so there’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity. If you were signed up and verified through Google Places or Google+ Pages already, then you should automatically be moved over to Google My Business.

2. Claim and Optimize your Business Listing on Yelp

Yelp is a hugely popular consumer review site with incredible clout, so having a page allows you to gain exposure to a wide net of potential customers. It will allow you to upload photos, respond to reviews, and offer the most up to date information about your business.

3. Optimize your Listings

Having the listings is only half of the battle, an important thing to do is optimize the information by adding photos, hours of operation, adjust URLs, and other information to better show others, and Google, what your business is all about so that people who are looking for the services or products you offer, can be directed to you.

4. Don’t forget Local Optimization

Include City/ST in key elements of your page, including: title tags, H1 heading, alt text on images and URL

Keep Your Sights On the Big Picture

Creating an effective local SEO strategy is not about a single, magic tactic. Approach the task from multiple angles and most of all, keep user experience always at the back of your mind. The following is a good checklist of other things you can do to make sure your local SEO strategy is effective.
o Have quality content that is optimized with local signals, but does not sacrifice flow and information.
o Make sure your location pages are unique and written well
o Use social media to interact with your customers
o Create local content for your blog

As a conclusion to the above mentioned, one must add that while making your website show up on Google Local Listings, or Google Places, usually leads for increased traffic, it does not guarantee more business. For internet marketing to be successful it must contain various components, such as type of exposure, consumer behaviour, consumer demographic, keyword impact, website design etc. One would almost compare a successful campaign with a fine tuned orchestra. It is advised to seek the help of a professional in order to generate high ROI’s. For this read our article on choosing an internet marketing company to work with.

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