Establishing your business’ online presence does not only mean setting up your website and meshing it into the workings of your traditional business setup. You also have to make sure that your online presence is actually visible to the population of the internet. There are many ways you can do this. One of the most effective is by joining an online business list.
Google offers a free business listing to small businesses at the top of most local search results pages. Local Google Advertising is what we’re after when we talk about Google’s local business listing center. Anatomy of a Google search result page:
o Listings on the right side bar are paid advertisements, often called “sponsored links”
o The main body of a search result page are called the “organic” or “natural” search listings
o At the very top in a colored text box are also paid advertisements, sponsored links
o Above the organic listings are “Google Local Business Listings”
You will notice a map associated with each listing, this is because Google used the existing infrastructure of Google Maps to implement the free business listings. It’s generally thought that Google offered this free service, and gave its location on a search result page prominence above the organic listings because of the popularity of Google’s AdWords program.
AdWords is a PPC (pay per click) advertising system where keywords and keyword phrases are bid on in an auction like system. The immense popularity of AdWords priced smaller Mom n Pop stores out of the market due to the ever escalating costs of certain keywords. Google became fearful that it’s search platform would be return search results of the “rich and famous” thus reflecting only what the rich and powerful wanted seen on Google search results.
So how does Google determine which website should rank higher than another?
Google uses a computer program algorithm based on hundreds of factors as the vast size of the internet precludes any human capability of keeping the listings accurate or current. That algorithm is a closely guarded trade secret within Google. Search Engine Optimization Consultants learn what Google apparently likes and doesn’t like from the observable behavior of search results.
Google Places IS Googlemaps
Google Maps algorithm is different from the algorithm that anoints one site over another. It’s also slower to update. If your customers leave glowing reviews of your product or service on the link provided your site will climb in rank. You are permitted up to 10 photos of your product or service, use as many of those slots as possible. Fill out as much information about your business as space allotted provides, being verbose is better than being succinct when it comes to Google Local Business Listings
Many small businesses get leads and interested inquiries from a local business listing even if they don’t have a website URL. Still other small businesses find it unnecessary to have their company listed anywhere other than the top local business listings. If your listing falls in ranking or is bumped out of it’s spot by a newcomer and you find your company losing sales because of it, you may want to outsource your rankings management to a local search engine optimization firm.
The fees involved for a local business listing may be less than the fees for improving your company website’s organic listing.
What Determines Rank?
Ever wonder why your companies listing in Google does OK in the main body of Google’s search results page but is not in the top 10 of those pesky Google Local Business Listings?
Ultimately what you want is to be found in BOTH sets of listings, the net effect of which would be to drive home in your prospective customers Mind’s Eye that Google apparently thinks pretty highly of your company if Google is displaying YOUR company listing in the Local Business Listings and in the Organic Search Rankings.
Well, people’s perception and Google’s reality are far, far apart.
Google didn’t *pick* you to be #1 and your competitor to be #11
A computer program picked you over the hapless fella you compete with. A person did not visit your site, take notes, compare notes, make a decision, hear the belly aching and whining of the poor fool who got bumped off of his front page listed by a website that ranked better than his…
nope, an algorithm picked you over them.
Think about it… there are what? a Gazillion webpages already indexed in Google? And how many tens of thousands of new webpages being created as we speak? Some of those tens of thousands are being “generated” by a “bot”.
There is no way on God’s Green Earth a staff of humans could possibly keep up with that kind of volume. An algorithm did it. The robot that scours the Internet (in the SEO industry we call that “spidering”) is titled GoogleBot. GoogleBot Can’t Really *Read*
GoogleBot can NOT read… but it CAN count
Googlebot counts the words on your webpage, it counts the keywords and keyword phrases you use in your copy. Is y0ur company website a little light on copy? Too bad for you.
It matters little to Googlebot if the fancy flash graphic and dramatic digital photos depicting your most important product are… well it can’t decipher a photo! but it CAN read text.
What ever makes your photos good, better or best and likewise your competitors photos crappy is subjective. Art is subjective, math is not.
Either the keywords are on your webpage (Prominently placed at the top of the page I hope) or the keywords are not.
He who has the most keywords (elegantly, tactfully and deftly constructed with proper enough grammar for the spell-checking-programmed Googlebot to index) Wins that coveted top spot!
But… the Google Local Business Listings are a different story. The algorithm that runs it is different.
What Google is looking for and rewards when it sees it for the organic search results page (the body of the page) is one thing. What Googlebot is looking to see in the Free Local Google Advertising Listings is quite another.
Now here’s the catch!
If your customers leave glowing reviews… and they leave them USING a Gmail account, and that Gmail account is associated with a Google Profile, and the person leaving the review has a picture or avatar uploaded to that Google Profile… Your Google local business listing will climb in ranking.
There are things you can do to improve your ranking
Many of you know you have to do something, you’re reading this to research if there’s anything you can do to “make the phone ring” in this challenging economy and get your company website dominating the local Google search results!
Organic search rankings can be achieved if you target everything about your web pages title, the article title, the paragraph headings with the keyword phrase you’d like to show up in the search results for.
Here’s another SEO trick: Company Facebook Pages (not personal Facebook profiles) also show up prominently in Google searches. The holy grail of organic search ranking is to have your website occupy the #1 slot in the organic results and your company Facebook page occupy the #1 slot on for the same Google search results page.
Did you know that now you can easily submit your business to search engines and get found easily? List your business everywhere. Click here to get started.