Local Business Marketing and Optimization
The major search engines continue to focus on providing first page SERP (Search Engine Results Page) visibility to local businesses. This section of the SERPs is called the Local Business Center or the Maps section. This commitment to local merchants means that small businesses can now get first page SERP visibility while at the same time not having to compete with much larger and even national companies. Google’s Local Business section looks like this:
And use of search engines to find local merchants, whether by computer or mobile device, is becoming so pervasive it should be no surprise that we will see the end of traditional sources of this information like Yellow Page books in the not too distant future.
You can start by claiming and completing your Google Maps Profile—it’s not hard. But don’t be surprised if you end up several pages back in the list and can’t break onto the first page. There are a number of factors that contribute to your ranking, including profile completeness and selected categories. There are also off-page influencing factors, such as customer reviews and citations from other directories and sites. This is where a professional experienced in local business visibility and optimization can dramatically improve your rankings.
With more people searching the internet to find local merchants, this should be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. Having an optimized profile and surrounding it with other local/regional profiles can create a local visibility framework that can drive quality leads to your website and grow your business. Localization on the search engines is still in its nascent stages, so establishing yourself early will enable you to capture a high position on Google Maps, and hold it when other firms create their own LBC profiles later. This isn’t going away. Don’t miss this opportunity!