I’ve talked about this topic in earlier articles, but it’s worth saying again — the easiest, cheapest action you can take for search engine optimization, and for Web marketing, is to claim the business listings provided by Google and other search engines. These listings can provide your small business with top-of-the-results placement in the website listings Google returns in searches for keywords describing your business products and services. Since the listings are free, even if you pay an Internet marketing consultant like IX SEO Services for help, you’ll gain great visibility on the Internet at a very low cost.
Here’s an Austin, Texas, example of how these listings work. I’ve done a Google Web search for “turfgrass austin tx” and the results show three business listings, called Google Places listings, at the top of the page. Two of these listings are from King Ranch Turfgrass and the third listing is for Austin Turf Grass Company. Notice that the three listing are placed ahead of the website results
|Google Web Search Results for “turfgrass Austin TX”|
Notice also that the two King Ranch listings include the KingRanchTurfgrass.com link, the address, and the business phone number with the listing. The Austin Turf Grass Company listing is missing the Company’s website address link, because Austin Turf Grass has not claimed its Google Places listing yet. The information for Austin Turf Grass was probably furnished to Google from an old Yellow Pages database, and these unclaimed listing often provide outdated, false information about small businesses. To correct the information, you need to claim your business listing.
Note also that both King Ranch business listings have reviews — one review for the top listing and five reviews for the middle business listing. Your business can accumulate customer reviews whether you claim the listing or not, so be aware and check your listing for new reviews on a regular basis.
When I talk about claiming a Google Places business listing, what do I mean? The business owner or business owner’s representative can assert control over the listing and then improve it with additional information about the business and with pictures and videos about the business. Here’s the unclaimed Google Places business listing for Austin Turf Grass Company.
|Unclaimed Google Places Business Listing for Austin Turf Grass Company|
I’ve I owned Austin Turf Grass Company, I could click the link in the upper right corner of listing — “Business Owner?.” From there, Google would take me through a process allowing me to select the business categories that best classify my business and then asking me to provide a business description, pictures, videos, hours of operation, languages spoken, forms of payment accepted, and so on. When I’ve entered all of this information, I would then allow Google to verify that I’m the business owner by waiting for Google to call my business phone number and leave a PIN number to provide back to Google. Once that verification step is complete, I can return to update the listing whenever necessary, and I also have access to search analytics from the listing.
For Google Places business listings, these analytics will tell you how many times your listing appeared in search results, how many people clicked into your listing, how many people visited your website or asked for directions to your business, and what search keywords they used to find your listing. This is all good marketing information that will help you improve your Internet marketing effort and enhance your business visibility on the Web. And remember that this Google Places business listing is free!
So whether your business is located in a city like Austin, TX, or in a small town like my home in Wharton, your first step in small business search engine optimization is to claim and improve the Google Places listing for your business. Once you have that Google Places listing and other similar listings working for your business, then take the time to enhance the Google search rankings of your website.
If you have any questions about these Google Places listings, please contact IX Brand SEO Services Company!