When most of your revenue comes from sales that occur within a couple of miles from your business location, you want to focus much of your efforts on local marketing. Local marketing is the use of maps, Citations, GPS systems and other tools in order to drive new customers right to you. The search engines, particularly Google, are focusing heavily on local marketing, and there’s a great reason for it. People are using their smartphones and tablets more than ever before to search for products and services near them. By keeping up to date with the latest local marketing updates, you will remain on top of the local search results and, as a result, you’ll receive much more local marketing attention.
Most of these local marketing updates have to do with the Google platform, since the company is currently revolutionizing local marketing as we know it. For a few years now the company has offered business owners their own free home on the web with Google Places. In case you haven’t noticed, Google Places has been replaced by Google+ Local.
In an effort to make the web a little less anonymous, to put a name and a face to local reviews and to make local marketing much more social, the company decided to join their Google Places platform with their Google+ social network.
Google+ is the search giant’s answer to Facebook and Twitter. With Google+ Local, you now have a social business page that allows you to connect with prospects and customers in way you never could before. You can put your customers into their own circles, you can communicate by way of chat, video chat or private message, which can improve customer service, but you also get all the tools and more than you were offered with Google Places.
Essentially Google+ Local is where you want to be on the web if you rely on local sales. Make sure you get your profile verified. You will receive a postcard in the mail, whereby you will enter a PIN, similar to the way you verified your Google Places account. This allows you to control the content on your page and you will get even more prominence in the local marketing search results.
Make sure that your business also shows up on Google Maps platform, which it will if you merge your Google+ Local listings. When you have a map listing, your customers searching locally on their smartphones and tablets will be able to see exactly how far away you are. Also, if a customer is close to you, your local marketing listing has a good chance of showing up first in their local search results.
I hope you’re seeing the trend here. Go through all of Google’s platforms and make sure that you’re optimizing for local. Name your images as your keywords along with your local keyword (city, state, town or county) and you will show up first in any image search results.
Google is also linking its Google+ platform to regularly updated content on the web. When you use the Rel=Author attribute, every blog post you publish to the web will show extra enhancements in the search results.
When a search user looks at your listing, along with the usual meta Title and Description, users will see your name and photo and a link to other content written by you. Clicking on that ‘other content’ link will take them to your own private author page that allows them to read your entire library if they so wish.
The lesson is to pay attention to these local marketing updates and sign up for Google+ if you haven’t already. Then merge your business listing or create one and verify your listing. Set up the Rel=Author attribute, which Google Support beautifully explains how to do, and you will become a greater force in the local search results.
Citations and NAP
According to David Mihm, one of the authorities on local marketing, citation confusion is one of the biggest reasons for a decrease in search rankings. Your citations include your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number), along with your URL, description and anything else you regularly list about your company.
For example, if you list your address as 111 Anderson Lane and then you list it on another site as Anderson Ln, that might create confusion. Listing Suite as Ste or just # can also cause confusion. Remain consistent and don’t let citation confusion drag your listings down.
These local marketing updates should help you dominate the local landscape. Keep in mind that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. After you’ve optimized for Google, start optimizing for the other search engines and you’ll own local in your general area.