Google Places is one of the most important business directories on the Web. And businesses need to manage their visibility by taking advantage of as many business directories as they can to get their business listed.
This video explains what you can do to improve your rankings to attract more customers, all free of charge. Think of it as a free website that Google is giving you to advertise your business. You simply need to claim it and add good-quality content to boost its ranking in search results and share with prospects what your business has to offer.
Google rolled out a seemingly small search engine 'tweak' that's going to fundamentally change the way we search.
How? The short explanation: They are more effectively integrating YouTube and Google+ into your search results provided you're signed into a Google Account.
What does it do? Google has now changed how they present search engine results to the average browser.
As Google says on their website:
"We're transforming Google into a search engine that
understands not only content, but also people and
relationships. We began this transformation with
Social Search, and today we're taking another big
step in this direction by introducing three new features:
1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for
you, such as Google+ photos and posts--both your own and
those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to
see on your results page;
2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which
enable you to immediately find people you're close to or might
be interested in following; and,
3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and
Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest,
and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because
behind most every query is a community.
Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your
World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we're
just getting started."
Here's the full post on the Official Google Blog:
So what does this mean for your SEO efforts? Are backlinks dead?
Any change of this sort opens up new opportunities, and yes, there will be winners and losers.
But this should have little impact on most small-to-medium-sized businesses in the short term. In fact, this update will assist with integrating your existing social media into your 'regular' (non-social) search.
But it would be foolhardy to pass up the opportunity to develop your social media presence, especially on Google+ and Youtube, if you haven't already.
SEO is constantly changing. If you want to continue to rank well with Google, then you need to stay in front of that change.
So embrace the change and make the best of it by strengthening your social media presence, especially if you're in a business where there is a significant social aspect to your marketing.
There is a lot of confusion, misinformation and plain ignorance among local business owners about the value of local search. We've been meaning to put something together on this when we discovered a very good article by SEO consultant Vanessa Fox on restaurants and local search. The short answer is 'yes', whether they're in Long Beach, Chicago or Timbuktu. What follows applies not only to restaurants but many, if not most, other types of local businesses.
As a local business owner, why should you care? For starters, there are just too many good tools out there, many of them free, that can leverage the power of your listing information. Listings are business directory listings that many companies maintain on the Web. Examples include those that started with paper only, like the Yellow Pages, and others that are a creature of the Web, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and of course, Yelp.
There are literally hundreds of these directories, most of them free to use. They aggregate information from a variety of sources so that they can be useful to people who use them to search. That means if your business information is out there in one directory, it's usually picked up by the rest of them.
Since many, if not most, of these directories use scraper technology (automation) to collect that information, it can be inaccurate or incomplete without anyone knowing it. If it's your business that's affected, you want to know about it. And the directories welcome your input in making the information as accurate as possible. In fact, they usually allow you to update it free of charge. That's called 'claiming your listing'.
Of all the listings you should be concerned about, Google Places probably has the most clout (partly owing to the fact that Google is the most popular search engine and guess which directory shows up in a Google local search? Just type in the city and business sector you're in, for instance 'long beach restaurant', and see what comes up.
Those little red bubbles you see in the accompanying screenshot, every one of them is either put there by Google or by the business creating an entry for themselves (which is also free). They do not mean that business has a website. Virtually every one of them starts out as an entry by Google scraped from information they collected somewhere on the Web. Then, if it's claimed by the business owner - who must prove they are the rightful owner - it can be updated. This not only allows you to correct or update information but also enhance your listing to make it more informative, not only to human visitors but also to the search engine 'spiders' that crawl the Web collecting all that information they display in search results.
Knowing the right terms to put in the listing to get it to rank well (come up toward the top) in search engine results is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say that just editing the content on your free Google Places listing can help your ranking substantially. If you want to know more, contact us.
This article has gone on long enough already. Please check on the restaurant article mentioned above to see all the reasons even a business like a restaurant would want to control their listings. Every business we know of could use more exposure. Just make sure it's good exposure by controlling the content. Start with the free directory listings mentioned in this article. This is especially true if you don't have a website as your listings ARE your web presence.