Sowing the Roots for Google My Business
Local search is an area that is really growing amongst the SEO community now. There are several solutions out there including well-known names Bing Maps and Apple Maps, but the most commonly used by far is Google My Business.
The service is linked to the Google Maps application and can provide location-based, relevant search to its many users. It’s also the go-to standard on the desktop and the default for anyone with Android Smart Phone (now about 60% of the marketplace).
Grass Roots Local Search
It’s easy to register with Google my Business, but before we do, it makes sense to make sure that a few other directory sources are up to date.
Firstly, make sure that any contact details on your website are correct. We would suggest using the following meta tags to signal your location
These tags are simply designed to signal to a search website exactly where you are located. The position tag uses longitude and latitude to help fix your exact position, whilst the place name and region tags give you the ability to mention the common name for where you are. Alternatively, you can use the crazily named ICBM tag to deliver the same longitude and latitude information.
This information is disregarded by Google but is still used by a few other search engines including Bing. You can, however, help Google Maps by placing this information within the metadata of any jpeg images you upload of your building.
It’s also worth making your telephone number clickable using a <a href=”tel”> tag. This not only identifies the number as a phone number but also means that people can call you from a mobile device or Skype by simply clicking on your number on your website.
The last tip for your site would be to make sure that the viewable information is correct anywhere it appears. At the very least, you don’t want to look confused in front of your customers.
Worthwhile Sites to Update
There are a lot of useless directories out there that claim to be able to help your SEO. In reality, very few of them have any influence on anything. Amongst the few that do, perhaps unsurprisingly, are the telephone directories that you have in your home. These august tomes of data are exactly where anyone would go if they were looking for business names and its little surprise that Google has worked with many these companies to get correct address data.
Make sure your business address is listed by the Post Office by using their postcode directory. Visit http://www.royalmail.com/personal/receiving-mail/update-your-address to take care of this.
There are also a number of other items to consider updating. Your Yell Yellow pages entry can be updated at https://www.yell.com/free-listing/ whilst Thompson Local can be updated here http://www.thomsonlocal.com/Addfreelisting.
Listing in the BT phone book can be arranged through your telecoms provider. If that is BT, simply email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Other useful places to be registered are Scoot, Yelp and Cylex.
Submitting to Google My Business
Okay. So, we have done the hard work and prepared the ground for your Google My Business Submission. All the data sources that are likely to be used will now match up and confirm to Google that you are telling them the truth about your new business. However, they will continue to be suspicious, but more on that later.
Firstly, find (or create) a Google account that you are unlikely to lose. If you are handing over your management of the profile (or intend to do it at any time in the future), then it makes sense to create a Google account just for the business. If you already have a Google account you use for business (perhaps for accessing analytics or PPC purposes) then we would recommend adding the Google My Business service to that pre-existing login.
Setting up Google My Business is relatively straightforward. Simply walk through the steps on screen, add your company logo (if you have one) and some nice images of the business both inside and out. You can also add some images of the key people, however, do check with the people whose images you will be using. You never know how some people feel about having their images online, and for some employees of the company, there could be legal or social implications of their whereabouts being public knowledge.
You can also engage a specialist photographer to take 360-degree shots of your business. This enables a customer to have a virtual tour of your facilities or store before they even leave home. Again, keep in mind any security concerns. If you have a large button marked “TURN OFF THE BURGLAR ALARM” you may wish to hide this from view.
Once you have submitted all your details, you will face a brief wait whilst Google checks on your address. This is normally done by means of sending you a postcard in the mail. If you are getting a head office or colleague not at your location to do this, then make sure you alert the post room that you are expecting this. The card used does have an unfortunate tendency to look like junk mail.
Once the card arrives, simply follow the instructions to enter the unique code and you have completed your set up of Google my Business.