When people think of search engine optimization, they usually think of changing a website so that it appears #1 in Google search results, and high in results for other search engines like Yahoo or Bing. Certainly, that’s part of the process. However, if you have a local business, you should be more concerned about appearing high in local search results for your best keywords. That might mean that optimizing your website is secondary to optimizing your Google Places business listing, because your Google Places listing could be displayed higher on the first page than any website. To illustrate, here’s a screenshot of a client listing, for Emerald Sod Farms in Commerce City, CO, near Denver.
Note that Emerald Sod Farms has a listing displayed right below the paid business listings in the shaded area. The phrase “Emerald Sod Farms | Quality Colorado Turfgrass Growers” is from the Emerald Sod Farms homepage title, and it is rich in keywords relevant to the search. If the web searcher clicks on that phrase, she’ll be taken directly to the Emerald Sod Farms website. If the web searcher clicks on “Place page” over to the right near the map, she’ll be taken to the Google Places listing for Emerald Sod Farms. Note also the address and phone number for Emerald Sod Farms right below the business description — makes it easy for a prospective customer to contact Emerald Sod Farms by phone right away.
Given the high visibility of these local business listings from Google and other search engines, it is extremely important for all businesses with a local customer base to claim and improve these listings. Google is tending to provide these Google Places listings with ever more prime space in search results, so it is more important than ever for your small business to take advantage of them and improve them with updated business descriptions, pictures and even YouTube videos. If you need help doing that, we can assist with all aspects of local search engine optimization. Just give us a call.
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