If you serve a local market or geography, online success or failure maybe determined by your presence or lack thereof in the Google Maps box.
Over 50% of all mobile searches have local intent. Google is even treating desktop queries as a local search. Have you noticed how many search results are displaying results in a Google Places Maps? Three or up to seven companies are given this prized and sought after placement. The Google Places Map often dominates the search result page. So what can you do? Here are few tactics to get you started:
- Claim your business listing in Google Places, Yahoo and Bing. Once you claim your listing your need to follow a verification process, which is done by phone or via a postcard mailed to your business address.
- List your business in major local portals. These include Yelp, FourSquare, City Search, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, Mapquest, Trip Advisor, Zoominfo, Merchant Circle, etc.
- Most importantly, establish a standard for your business mailing address. Your company name and address details should be the same as you go through the listing and citation process. For example Street vs. St, Co. versus company, Suite versus Ste, etc.
- List your company in regional directories. These can be newspapers, classifieds, member organizations etc. For example NJ.com has a business directory where you can get a free listing.
- Look for citation opportunities. These are mentions of your company online that are not necessarily structured the same as you would find them in a directory. These can include press releases, events, bios, classifieds, job boards, social media sites, charitable contributions and even Craigslist. These all represent opportunities to list your company name, address and phone number.
- Lastly, don’t forget to check out your competition. Some Google searching will uncover where your competitors are listed.
This may all seem like an overwhelming task. The best way to dig in is to do a few listings at a time. It is like building a foundation one concrete block at a time.