In recent weeks Google has changed it’s local search results format. What’s happened?
You now have only 3 businesses listed instead of the usual 7 listings. Gone are the local business websites alone, now you are shown Google+ results with their website.
If you click on a top 3 listing you’re served the business details of your chosen listing and below you are shown the organic listings for your chosen keywords. What does this mean for local businesses? It’s now even more competitive and difficult to appear first in Google My Business listings. If your not in the top 3 places you disappear until the user clicks any of the top 3.
Added to this, Google have begun serving ultra geo targeted results. If you’re location is in Leith, Edinburgh you will receive businesses within the Leith area. With these changes it becomes even more important that you have a Google+ page and it is regularly updated and optimised.
If for whatever reason you haven’t created a Google+ page or you’ve not been updating it, it won’t show up in the serps. It’s a big change for local business. Fortunately, you can still do lot’s of things to optimise your Google+ page for local searches. Today I’ll show you some basic techniques for achieving a top 3 listing.
At this moment, your no doubt asking if google+ affects your ranking in the organic search results?. Yes…100%! James Thompson , a SEO veteran at BouncingBanana.com, points out the importance of Google+ for everything you do to improve SEO. He says, “The more you become involved with all of Googles products the better search results you’ll achieve. It makes common sense that Google will favor it’s own products about others in search results. This might sound biased and unfair but Google is a business run for profits. What you need to do is, do what Google likes and just do it!”
First register your business with Google+ and create a page
This is the simple part. Register for a Google+ account. A valuable tip here is not to sign up with a gmail email account, use a business domain email account, this makes verifying your page easier and looks more professional.
Link your Google+ page and Google My Business
Google+ and Google My Business are separate products that should be linked together to receive all the benefits they have to offer. This involves logging into your google+ account, searching for your business with Google My Business and claiming it. Another important step here is to verify you business. unverified businesses do not appear in Google+ local listings.
At this stage it would be wise to check for duplicate business entries for your business. Delete any duplicate listings.
Make Sure Your Nap Is Correct
Everything listed here is important. You must ensure that your nap is exactly the same across all platforms. this means that your name, address, phone numbers, email, etc are identical. any differences here are seen as an error and you will lose authority.
Also you cannot use a PO Box address or use a 0800 telephone number. You can register from your home and have multiple listings from this address.
Next you’ll want to select which category your business falls under,you can chose multiple category entries for this stage. Bear in mind that you choose categories that show what your business is and not what it does.
Always Complete Your Profile
Not completing your Google+ profile will negitively affect your page. Always add as much information as possible for your profile. Write a description that is 300 words minimum and add images that are Geo-tagged. This allows Google to add additional credence to you location.
An important step also is to link your website to your Google+ page, this allows your Google plus page to show in organic listings. One other thing you can do is create a custom url that ties in with your website name and URL.
At the bottom of your Google+ page you’ll see a section for adding links. This allows you to add additional social media accounts and websites. Again the more you add the better.
The areas i have covered here today will not guarantee you a first 3 listing in Google local for your business but it will start you off on the right foot and hopefully ahead of your competitors.
If you require more advice or help in optimising your business with Google products please don’t hestitate in contacing Local SEO Edinburgh.