The answer is Google. Each day over one billion people search Google for local information. Whether you are an auto shop, a florist, a feed store, a dentist or any other local business, you need to have a strong presence on the world’s biggest search engine.
While many business owners understand the importance of good search engine rankings with Google, they are too narrowly focused in their approach. Instead of concentrating all of your resources trying to rank your website in the number one spot, a better strategy is to own multiple web properties on the first page of Google.
Below you will learn how you can occupy three separate spots on Google in addition to your main website. This powerful strategy will allow you to dominate your market for local search terms on Google.
Google Places For Business
Whenever you perform a local search Google will provide a list of businesses that are in your area. This box of business listings is called Google Places For Business. Claiming your Google places listing is completely free and so is something that you need to take advantage of. They have recently updated functionality and you can read more about that here.
To create a Google Places For Business listing all you need to do is complete a form and verify your physical business address. You may find that your business is already listed in Google Places. To check, perform a search for your business with Google Maps. If your business is listed click edit and then “claim your listing”. If you don’t have a Google Places listing yet you can claim one for free here.
In some local markets there is a lot of competition. However there are steps that you can take to ensure your Google Places outranks your competitors. First make sure to complete your Google Places profile as fully as possible. Google wants consumers to be able to find all of the information they need from your Places page. Fill in all of the optional spaces as well as those which are mandatory.
The next step is to add as much rich content to your listings as possible. Google Places allows you to include both videos and pictures so you want to take advantage of this. Studies have shown that Google Places listings with visuals tend to get more attention than those without.
Finally gather as many positive reviews as you can for your listing. Customer reviews are a powerful form of social proof which demonstrates that you have had plenty of previous customers and that they have been happy. For the local Google Search Carousel, those listings with reviews will be more prominently listed.
Use Video Marketing
Video marketing is one of the most effective ways of promoting your local business. It is also a great way to take up another spot on the first page of Google. You can post your video to sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion and Meta Café.
Perform any Google search and you will usually get at least one video as a result. This is because Google likes to present a diversity of search results. Ranking local search terms is usually reasonably easy too, because of a lack of competition. Even though video is powerful, not a lot of local businesses are using it yet.
Videos are also more likely to be clicked on than other search results. Video listings appear in Google with a screen shot next to them. This makes them more prominent than other listings which are text based.
Creating a Video for your business doesn’t require a Hollywood style budget. Video testimonials from satisfied customers are very effective and provide great social proof. A simple video of you introducing yourself and your business is also very effective. Showing the human face of your business can be a great way to build trust and get the phone ringing.
Get Listed In Local Directories
Local directories offer a sneaky “back door” way to get your business listed on the first page of Google. To use this tactic, first perform a Google search like you were looking for your type of business.
For example if you had an auto-shop in Fort Worth, you would search for “Fort Worth Auto Shop”. When you look at the results you will probably see a directory amongst the search results. That might be a Yelp, Yellow pages, City Search. Click through into this directory and create a listing on the site.
Once you have done this you want to try and get ranked in this directory as well. If your budget allows you can usually purchase a paid premium listing which will place you at the top. If not, you can use similar tactics to those used to rank in Google places. That includes having a very complete listing, adding media and getting plenty of reviews.
Why This Strategy Is Effective
If you follow this strategy you will now be able to rank three web properties (Google places, video, review site) on the first page of Google. Having multiple properties on the first page of Google is much more effective than simply trying to rank your main website.
By having different web properties you are significantly increasing the chance someone will click through to a page promoting your business. It can also provide a massive boost to your credibility. When you occupy three different spots on Google, while your competition only has one, then you are going to be seen as the leader in your market.