Google Local As I See It..
In my last couple Google Local posts I mentioned that we had been experiencing the effects of endless changes to the Google local algorithm, guidelines and features. In my eyes, Google has gone out of its way to not so much make it harder to rank well, but rather just more inconvenient. They have put more walls up, created more steps and forced us to think WAY outside the box. So outside of the box that I have admittedly have had to run a couple things by my lawyer.
In the series that will follow this post, I am going to approach a ranking the way I would normally do so. Naturally I am not going to give away all my secrets, but I hope to not only clear up a bit of the mystery around Google Local, and also leave SMBs a bit more confident in their strategy or lack thereof. Lastly, please don’t take anything I reveal here as gold…most of my techniques are purely based on testing, testing, testing and a streak of great results. So, without further a due, here is Google Local in Review…a series.
Before you get started..
Before creating a Google business listing, the first thing you should do is figure out is if there is a pre-existing Google business listing for your business. This is important because if there is already Google business listing and you create a new one, you will run the risk of having your Google business listing merged, not being properly credited for your local business directory submissions (citations) or simply being dead in the water. Your best bet is to go check out maps.google.com and search your businesses phone number. If Google spits something out, you’ll want to use this one. Few things:
- Where did this Google business listing come from? Many possibilities…but more than likely if you didn’t create it, Google found your business name, address & phone number (NAP) on another web site and scraped it (collected the information), and created a Google business listing for you.
- Like domain history, listing history helps. If the business and the business listing has been around for awhile, Google has likely scraped other sites and credited you for the information it has collected. Remember, by definition a citation is really just a mention of your NAP. Having said that, you will find Google has scraped information from even the most obscure areas and hooked you up.
- If you are successful in finding a pre-existing Google business listing, you may need to claim it. You can tell by clicking your Google business listing and looking in the top right corner…it will either say “Owner Verified Listing” or “Business Owner?” If the former, and you don’t have the login, sign into your Gmail, go to the Google business lisitng, click “edit this place”, click “Google Places.” If there are any changes make them and then scroll down and hit “submit.” More than likely Google will send you a post card to verify your ownership. Once you have receive the post card, logged in and entered in the PIN, the listing will transfer to your Gmail account and you assume control. If it is the latter, click “Business Owner?” and follow the same process.
I would also search your address…just in case Google picked up the wrong phone number, but the right address. If your search still yields nil, no problem, we start fresh and you can visit www.google.com/placesforbusiness to set up your new Google business listing.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below. More to come soon!