The world absolutely cannot beat a proverbial path to your door if they can’t even find you. That’s where your smart local search marketing straegies comes into play. When it comes to “being found” ask yourself whether you want to be a dot or a pushpin on Google Maps? It makes a huge difference especially to the people who are in the buying mode.
Here are a few tips to get you started on the road to adding Google Maps local search to your marketing repertoire.
1. Let your fingers do the walking, as the Yellow Pages campaigns used to tout, and walk them right over to your keyboard and find your Google browser, using Firefox, of course. Find your Places page in Google Maps, and claim your listing.
This is your first step toward becoming a savvy local search marketer. You need an owner-verified listing. You will find a page already populated for you by Google. The information may be wrong. Sign in with your G-mail account.
2. Keyword research applies to your traditional search strategy for your website. The rules and parameters for local search are completely different and a traditional search engine optimization (SEO) consulting firm may not understand local search at all.
Think like a prospect looking for your business from their phone. How would you find yourself? Your company name, business address and primary phone should be correct. Referred to as NAP, this information must always be consistent across the Internet; in Web directories, on other sites and on your own website. If people come to your place of business, then do not use P.O. boxes in your listing.
3.Choose at least one business category from the list of choices offered by Google. This will help Google legitimize and properly list your business. You can add others, using smart keyword choices that describe your business offerings.
4. On your Google Places dashboard, add a couple of Internet coupons. I suggest unique offers so you can track results. Equally important, Google’s algorithm supposedly gives your listing a boost if you have coupons.
5. Citations and reviews from Web sources across the Internet will automatically feed into your Google Places page and give you a boost in landing in Google’s Lucky Seven listings, or in their blended listings in a Web search.
Want a real life example? Go to Google Maps and search for coffee shops in Marlborough. Starbucks has claimed their Places pages. Dunkin Donuts has not, and you can see the difference when you look at their pages. Some are marked as pushpins, others as dots on the map. Some well-known haunts such as Main Street Cafe or even Panera don’t even show up!
Unless you have been living under a rock like the guy in the Geico commercial, the value of “local search” to your business should be fairly obvious. While most baby boomers are still catching on to the new world of digital marketing (and many more are hopelessly lost) the Gen-Xs, Gen-Ys and the echo boomers certainly know how to find just about everything they need right from their smart phone.