Getting Listed in Google Local
Many people do not realise that the Google Map listings that now appear for many Google searches are actually organic listings. These are not Adwords pay per click listings, and are free. These are organic SEO listings. You do not pay when someone clicks on these listings. To get listed in Google Maps you need to create a Google Account. Search Google for “Google Places For Business” and then sign up. If you already have a Google Account you can use this. Remember though that you can not move this listing to a different Google account at a later stage – so it is really important that you create this listing in Google Account that you will always have access too. Avoid using a Google account that other staff have access to.
When you sign up for your account you see a number of options. If you have a Youtube video about your business, hosted on the same Google account (Google owns Youtube) you can insert this into your Google Places listing. That may help with your SEO. Choose a couple of standard categories and use a couple of custom categories for your listing.
Google Places has a verification system. They will either send you a SMS, call your phone telling you a PIN number, or send you a postcard in the post. It is essential therefor that you provide correct postal address and phone numbers for your business.
When your listing is verified you should be able to find it when searching for your product + keyword when you go to www.google.com/places/. In most cases your business should show up there if you have set it up correctly in the Google Places control panel area. However to get your business listed in Google Places on the front page of the regular Google search you only have 5-10 positions available to compete for. So again, Google uses an algorithm to rank these businesses according to their importance. The Google Places algorithm is actually different to the regular Google search algorithm. For many small business owners they should really be focusing on getting in the Google Places listings since in many cases the Google Places listings come up first in the Google search. The Google Places algorithm likes links from other local websites. So it is good to get links for other businesses in the area. For our business we try to rank for SEO Brisbane and Brisbane SEO. Therefor it would help us immensely to get links from other Brisbane related websites. You can add your link to local business directories. Hotfrog (free) is a good one. Another one is BOTW.org which allows you to list your business by regional area.
It is also useful to get links from other pages that feature a Google Map which shows they area your are based in. So if you can get a link from another company’s website which is based in the same area as you then that could help you get points towards your listing in Google Places.