Since Google's been showing up to ten local results within their natural listings lately, it seems like a good idea to get back to the local search engines. They're now more visible than ever and are not going away. The search engines don't say (nor should they) how to get top local listings, and here are some basic steps and ideas to benefit from Google Maps and Yahoo Local listings.
3) Provide accurate information regarding products or services provided, payment methods, hours of operation, and more (there are easy field forms for most of these).
4) They both allow you to upload and display business photos. Hint - sometimes just a simple business logo does wonders.
5) They both allow you to describe your business in up to "x" characters. Keyword stuffing = bad and silly looking. Accurate information = good and builds trust.
6) They both allow user reviews for your business. Embrace it and encourage it! This can create an online version of word-of-mouth marketing. Plus, results that display trusted reviews often appear toward the top of local search results, which certainly makes sense.
7) With that said, don't create fake user reviews. No matter how hard you try to make it look like someone else wrote it, users are smart and will easily sniff it out and not buy from you.
8) Read number 7 again. ;) Honestly, I've made purchases after reading true, negative reviews thinking "ok, I can deal with that". The same can't be said after reading a fake, positive review.
9) Make sure any industry portals or Internet yellow pages (IYPs) display your current and accurate addresses and other information. Search engines have been known for building relationships with IYPs as early as 2003 and has only grown since then.
10) If possible, display your business address(es) in the content or footer of your pages as shown in your IYP listings (first/1st, avenue/ave, etc.). Even if you don't advertise with them, you most likely have a free listing.
The above is more of an overview and I hope to expand on some specifics in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out a great 5-piece series by Stacy Williams titled Promote Your Business Locally. The series is over a year old, but still contains very relevant concepts. If you're interested in really digging into both Google Maps and Yahoo Local, Mike Blumenthal has a blog specifically dedicated to it as well.
Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.
With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.
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