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"How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps?"

Many business owners are asking "How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps?" However, it is not so much Google Maps that they want their business on. It's Google Places.

There is intense competition for market share over the Internet since there are many players from all over the world, but a small business can compete with larger businesses by listing on Google Places. Google Places lists businesses, large and small, accompanied a map that is powered by Google Maps.

Most people use Google Places and Google Maps interchangeably, but Google Maps is a mapping software that services several applications, and the Google Places listings is one of them.

How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps? Google Places Optimization!

The Importance of Google Places for Local Businesses

You should strive to attain a top Google Places listing because this is a cost effective way of locally advertising a business. When people search for something using geo-modifier (or city in their seach query,) Google Places almost always appears in the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages). Google has strict criteria for ranking on Google Places and a placement therefore indicates to your customers/clients that you are credible and reliable.

You should, however, note that registering on Google Places does not guarantee appearance in SERPs when somebody searches a keyword you have used. There are two main Google Places optimization methods that you should try to increase chances of placement.

Google Places Optimization

You need to do proper keyword category selection for Google Places optimization. You will typically realize a higher ranking if your categories are very specific and relevany to your business. You are allowed to select up to five categories. Try to keep all of the categories you choose somewhat related. Google Places requires that you have one category from the Google Places hierarchy, and the rest can be customizable to your preferences.

Another way to achieve Google Places optimization is building citations. The Google Places page has a list of citations at the bottom of the page. These go by the name 'More about this place'. These citations are like SEO links, but they list NAP (Name/Address/Phone) information. Just like is the case with link building, the more the NAPs you have, the higher your ranking on Google Places will be.

Citations are your business's listings on different websites and directories, such as Yellowpages.com, Yelp.com, Kudzu.com. The most important tip here while building citations on other websites is to ensure that NAP is exactly the same on all websites. This is Google's way of referencing and confirming that your business is a legitimate place.

Also in the Google Places page is a description for your business. Here it is wise to include the keywords that you want to rank for. You may need to do keyword research to come up with the most appropriate keyword. You could use the Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool together with the Traffic Estimator tool for this. When determining traffic amounts, use 'exact match' instead of 'broad match' to get only the results of people who use the exact keyword as is.

Some of the keywords that your find may be useful for optimizing your own website for organic SEO. You may want to include these keywords in the Page Title, Meta Description, and page text of the homepage. Keep in mind, however, that you only want to optimized each page of your website for only a few related keywords. With that said, building out a few additional pages that focus on certain keywords targets may be a good approach for local search engine optimization.

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4 Essential Tips for Local SEO

Local search is an SEO (search engine optimization) facet that targets a specific geographic location. Targeting a specific locality is advantageous in that you will advertise to people who are more likely to buy from you. When it comes to Internet traffic, quality beats quantity every day.

So, how do you optimize for location? The theory of how this is done is not very different from how SEO of websites and blogs is done. The only major difference is that the actual practice is much more focused. With local optimization, optimization is not simply for your targeted keywords or keyword phrases. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that your brick & mortar store and the site come together in an easy-to-follow manner.

Local search engine optimization techniques are aimed at getting your name, your site, and your business in sight of the most likely users of such information. These are the people who are located near where the brick & mortar store is located. Local search can be taken to be the online version of the Yellow Pages. An example of how local SEO works is that if you have a restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, potential clients who do searches with the keyword “restaurant” followed by a local area modifier will end up getting your website as one of the results. They will also get a list of restaurants in the area on Google Maps.

Google is now penalizing websites that are over optimized. The recent Panda updates mean that the best option if you want a high ranking is to focus on great Web experience. This means greater social and local experience. Local, targeted search engine optimization is popular with small business owners since it allows them to compete favorably with larger competitors.

Do a simple search with the type of business and the local area modifier. You will find that the results, which will dominate the first page of the SERPs will be businesses that are listed with Google Places. Given this fact, it follows that incorporating local SEO techniques to your campaign will come in handy.

Local Michigan SEO Expert

It is important that you know different effective local SEO strategies and tips that will increase your ranking. There are many businesses that are trying to do the same and it therefore follows that getting a high ranking is easy. There are several strategies that have been tried and tested over time and that are guaranteed to improve your ranking in no time.

1. Get Listed in Local Business Directories

There are several business directories, among the most popular being Google+ Local, Yelp, InsiderPages, YellowPages, and FourSquare. Get listed in as many of these business directories as possible. Listing in most of them is free of charge.

Business directories are great in local SEO promotion since they increase your business’s visibility. They also help in the increasing of the ranking of your website in SERPs. For instance an Illinois directory would benefit your local Illinois business's SEO efforts due to local relevancy. Also look for categories that are related. So if you own an Illinois SEO firm, seek categories around Internet marketing and SEO companies. Strong directories  like Google Maps will increase your ranking on other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Of all these business directories, Google Places is the most effective since Google is the most popular search engine and listing is free of charge. All you should do is create an account and provide the information required. You are allowed to include a brief description of your business and to provide a link to your site.

2. Do Keyword Research

Keyword optimization is one of the most effective search engine optimization techniques. This is also true for local SEO. Keyword optimization means having the right keyword and using the keyword optimally. Optimal use of the keyword means having the right keyword density when doing SEO copywriting. Overusing the keyword will lead to accusations of spamming and under using the keyword will not give you the desired results.

Keywords are what search engines use to determine your ranking in SERPs, among other factors such as link building. Keyword research helps you get the most effective yet least competitive keyword. You should also ensure that the wording and arrangement of the keyword leads to different results in SERPs. As an example, Boston local SEO will give you different results from local SEO Boston. There are several keyword research tools that you could use to come up with the best possible keyword.

3. Encourage User Reviews

Encourage users to leave reviews, be they good or bad. This will help build a positive reputation. User reviews are also important in local SEO. Potential clients use reviews to determine the appropriateness of your products/services. The feedback you get is important because it will help you with such things as product development.

4. Use Business Photos and do Image SEO

Human beings respond better to images than to text. A high quality image of your business premises will go a long way in enhancing your reputation. It is possible to optimize images for search engines. To do this, have your keyword in the image title through an image Alt tag.

What is the impact of local search in your local business?

Google understands that most people who are searching for businesses want results for businesses in their neighborhood and this is the reason why there is even a map for local businesses in the first SERP. Take advantage of this and list your business and use keywords that have a local area modifier.

According to recent statistics, 20% of all searches are local searches. You should optimize your website for local searches because you will be able to compete with larger competitors in your area. There are precious few other opportunities to compete with them since they have more advertising dollars to hire a highly professional SEO expert.

Local SEO is important because you will be exposed to a bigger audience given the fact that most people today are doing product searches over the Internet. The increased traffic will translate into more sales. Do local SEO as part of a larger SEO strategy for the best results. Consider such website promotion methods as email marketing, social media marketing, and link building.

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