Local Search Marketing – Google Places Setup and Optimisation – Step by Step Guide

With over 65% of Irish people using the internet to find local products and services, and over 80% of those using Google, it is absolutely essential that every business has an online presence. If your business can’t be found in the search engines, it is simply invisible google search scraper to these prospective clients. Add to that the fact that by the end of 2012 it is expected that over 50% of mobile phone users in Ireland will own a smartphone and it is becoming more important by the day that your business is visible in the local online search results.

Claim your listing!

This is a pretty obvious first step but one which is often overlooked and if another Google Places page is set up, can result in duplicate listings. To avoid this, do a full search in the “Maps” section of Google for your full business name and phone number. Often Google has already “scraped” a listing for your business from data found in other online business directories and if so, you need to claim ownership of this listing and verify it by postcard.

Keyword research:

Before completing your business profile it is important to decide on which keywords would be most beneficial for your business to rank for. There’s lots of software available that can help with this but the free keyword tool provided by Google is usually good enough. Be sure to check the “exact match” box for the most accurate search figures. These keywords should be included where suitable in the business description and categories columns.

Upload photos and videos:

Choose ten photos of your business premises, products or whatever you think is suitable and get them optimised them for your Google Places page. If these are quality photos of the business premises upload them to Panoramio or get them geotagged in Picasa or Flickr to help Google associate them with your business Places page. If you have any quality videos associated to your business get them uploaded to YouTube and be sure to include your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone No.) in the description!

Build citations:

A citation for a Google Places listing is the equivalent to a backlink in organic SEO. These are basically every time the Google bot sees a reference to your business “NAP” online. The more relevant the citation, the more credit Google will give to your Places page. e.g. if you are a Plumber, a citation found on a builders directory will be given a lot more credit than a citation on a “Places to eat” directory. It is also very important that you make sure to keep all your business listings in exactly the same format to make sure Google can associate them correctly.