One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “How does my company become more relevant to Google and other search engines in a broadened geographic area from my physical location?” There are three interconnected ways to have Google expand its view of your geographic presence without your business adding new physical locations.
1.) Create an increased presence on Google Maps.
Every business has a Google Maps/Places page that was created by Google, if you didn’t create it first. The business page listing is the key to appearing in the maps area in Google. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of business owners have claimed this page to take control of it. The process of claiming this listing requires having a Google account, such as Gmail, and verifying you’re the business owner. Google typically will verify your business by sending a postcard to your mailing address with a personal identification number (PIN) or calling the phone number on record. To initiate the verification process, find your listing in the Google Map and look on the right side of the page for “Manage this page.” Follow the steps on the page, and enter the PIN once you receive it. Then you’ll have become part of the 7 percent of business owners who’ve taken control of their Google business pages.
2.) Create a Google+ account.
Google migrated Google Maps/Places to Google+, which means you need to create a personal Google+ account and one for your business. It’s similar to Facebook because you need a personal account to create a business page.
3.) Create a Google+ business page.
As you create and build your Google+ business page, keep in mind the following components that influence your visibility in search results for Google Maps/Places:
- Make sure the business name and address on your Google+ page matches exactly to how your business is registered within the state you operate. Variations as little as a comma can cause a potential duplicate listing to appear in Google.
- Search online extensively to make sure you don’t have duplicate pages appearing in a Google search, especially if you’ve changed your business name.
If you find duplicate listings, claim all variations and consolidate your business listing into one.
- If your business operates outside your zip code, as most businesses do, use supplemental office locations that are commercial addresses. This will facilitate the added benefit of having a Local Google+ business page for each of these targeted zip codes. The Local Google+ business page gives you an edge over the standard Google directory listing by allowing you to publish content, offer online coupons and receive more comprehensive reporting. Keep in mind Google won’t recognize United Parcel Service mailboxes and U.S. Postal Service post office boxes as eligible locations for Local Google+ pages. Local pages are designed for giving directions to places your customers can visit.
This strategy should result in Google — and other search engines — significantly elevating your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings in additional geographic locations. But don’t stop there. Also:
- Complete your Google+ listing by adding photos, videos and information about why people should do business with you.
- Add reviews, which are a key piece to getting your page higher in the search results from your customers, to your Google+ business page.
- Keep the page active with updates. Photos are an easy and effective way to update your page. They let prospects know why they should call you. pmp
You can reach Goldglantz, president of Pest Control Marketing Co. and author of “Marketing Matters,” at email@example.com