4 Google+ Action Items For Small Businesses

The views & opinions expressed in this guest post are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of Eric Wagner.

Did you know that a Google query for “New York Italian Restaurantsdoesn’t display a single restaurant in the top 10 organic listings? The top 10 organic listings are links to popular local directories like Zagat, Yelp & Urbanspoon and no longer links to popular Italian restaurants like Carmine’s. At this point you might be asking yourself, “Where did the Italian restaurants go?” – The answer is that they’re now living in a happy place above the organic listings getting more visibility and receiving a higher CTR. What’s the catch? You’re only showing up there if your Italian restaurant is optimized for Google+ Local!

New York Iitalian Restaurants Query

Today we’re going to give you 4 simple tips that can bring your businesses Google+ Local page from no visibility to fully optimized with the potential to rank for competitive keywords that will bring your business new customers. These tips will take you no more than a few hours to implement and will immensely improve your presence on Google+ Local – let’s hop right into it!

1. Google+ Verification

Before doing any work we’ll want to make sure you’re signed into a Google account. After you’ve signed in, head to Google Maps and do a quick search for your business name or address. When you find your listing on the map, click on the location pin and select “More Info”. It’s now time to take “ownership” of your page which will allow you to make changes as well as get great analytics on your page. Click on the “Manage this page” button found on the right sidebar of your page. From here we’ll want to validate the listing by phone. This entire process should take no more than 5 minutes!

2. Google+ Local Optimization

Now it’s time to actually make some adjustments and optimizations to your G+ Local page. Here are a few things you’ll want to do:

– Ensure all of your information is correct (Hours, payment methods accepted, website, etc.)
– Provide 5 categories for your business. This is important! Make sure you utilize all 5 possible categories!
– Write a two sentence (200 characters max) description for your business. Include keywords – and mentions of your categories as well
– Upload 3-5 photos that represent your business. Pictures of your entrance, food, or people working are great for this!
– If you have a YouTube video, be sure to add it as well. This helps a lot!
– Ask one friend (who you’ve done business with) to leave you one G+ Local review

Congratulations, your Google+ Local page is now optimized! But we’re not done yet. It’s time to move onto website optimization! You do have a website, right?

3. Website Optimization

Just because we’re optimizing for Google+ Local doesn’t mean we get to ignore website optimization. It’s still extremely important to make sure that our G+ Local optimization and website optimization complement each other for an efficient local SEO campaign. Here are a few tips to bring your website up to par:

local-seo-globe– Update your home page <title> tag in the following format: Location + Keyword – Name of Business. An example would be “Brooklyn, NY Italian Restaurant – Matt’s Bistro”
– Update your home page <h1> tag in the following format: Name of Business – Keyword in Location. Another example here would be “Matt’s Bistro – Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY”
– Add your name, address & phone number as it appears on your G+ Local page to every page on your website. You can add this in the footer or sidebar

4. Local Directory Submission

A critical component of local SEO is your presence in top local directories like Yelp & City Search. If you want to get found on Google+ Local, you’ll need to have a significant presence on the smaller directories as well. This is the most time consuming step in optimizing your businesses local online presence. What we’ll want to do here is sign up for each of the local directories mentioned below & add your business using the same information we used on the Google+ Local profile. (name, address, phone number, website need to be identical!)

  Yelp – CitysearchFourSquareLocal.comMerchantCircle

Like we mentioned earlier, when signing up for these websites and submitting your business, we want to make sure the information is taken directly from Google+ Local. When adding your business, filling out videos, pictures, and social media links will greatly help your local SEO presence.

That’s all, folks! If you follow these 4 simple tips, you’ll be ahead of your local SEO competitors. Please feel free to ask any questions or for further clarification in the comments, I would love to help you out in any way possible.

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Matt Ramos

Hi, I'm Matt Ramos, SEO Product Manager at LocalVox, a local, social & mobile marketing platform that helps people with their small business marketing. I'm a digital marketer and professional geek that has mainly focused on SEO, Social Media & SEM over the past few years. I've spent a lot of time working with big brands and I enjoy bringing that experience to the marketing campaigns of small, local businesses on a daily basis. When I'm not creating content, building links, or spending hours in Excel analyzing data, you can most likely find me lifting heavy weights in the gym, riding my bike or cooking.

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