4 Do’s and 2 Don’ts For Ranking Well in Google Plus Local

Google Plus LocalAs local search results become more and more important, business owners want to know how to get their listing to rank well.  To help you do just that, we’ve pulled together our list of four things to do and 2 things to avoid to help your Google Plus Local listing dominate the local results.

Do

1. Link it up

Just like you have links to your Twitter and Facebook pages on your website, so too should you include a link to your Google Plus Local listing. This helps Google associate your business with your listing, so they know exactly which company is being listed.

2. Take a N.A.P.

Another thing Google uses for identifying your specific business is your N.A.P. or Name, Address and Phone number. Choose a standard N.A.P. that you will use everywhere on the web, including your own website. This means that anytime you’re listing your business info, it will be represented exactly the same. Same spelling, same abreviations, same everything. This is another way to help Google distinguish your business from every other one with a similar name or location.

3. Show your stuff

Your Google Plus Local listing allows you to add photos and videos. We tell our customers to include photos and videos on their websites, and you should do the same for your listing as well. Shoot for ten photos and at least one YouTube video. Multimedia engages people way more than text, and an engaging listing is exactly what Google wants.

4. Seeing stars

Listings with many reviews, especially positive ones, tend to rank better in the local results. Make sure you’re encouraging customers to share their experiences on your Google Plus Local listing, as well as elsewhere online. Also be sure to respond to any negative reviews that come in quickly and courteously. Show people that your care, and want to earn their business.

Don’t

1. Can’t buy me love

Both Google and Yelp have developed systems to filter out suspicious reviews. The idea is to prevent businesses from being able to buy fake positive reviews to game the system. Currently, Google seems to look at things like reviews given from an IP address in a different state from your business, or the same IP address as your business. They also seem to pay attention to the text of the reviews. If the same phrases are being used over and over, if they include URLs/links to another site or if they seem to be filled with keywords for your business, they’ll likely get filtered out.

2. Quit nagging

There are a lot of programs out there designed to help you “automate” your marketing. Some of these tools will automatically email a followup to your customers requesting that they leave a review of their experience on your Google Plus Local or Yelp listing. These kinds of reviews tend not to be earned so much as given out of a kind of social obligation, and also tend to be very short and not very informative. This has led Google to filter reviews that have resulted from a click from an email. Try instead to use some signage at your business encouraging reviews. You could even create a QR code to let people review you from their phone while still at your business!

Follow these guidelines and you’ll see your Google Plus Local listing start to climb in the local search results. Have any more tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

10 Responses to “4 Do’s and 2 Don’ts For Ranking Well in Google Plus Local”

  1. hi chris, good points. for Don’t #2, sometimes i find that when you use a signage or just ask clients to leave a review, they either may forget to do so or may not be savvy enough to find your business through Google Local or Yelp, especially if you’re starting new. this is one of the biggest marketing challenges businesses face. i do like the QR code idea, but again most people don’t have a QR code reader installed on their phones.

    Reply
    • It’s definitely a challenge, no doubt! For the forgetful or non-QR-inclined, adding some messaging to receipts and invoices or even stapling a reminder card to them can be very effective. Get creative, but keep these guidelines in mind.

      Reply
  2. Hey Chris: Great post and I have added additional pictures to Google. As for filtering, Google posted and then bounced a recent recommendation that was totally legitimate but short in nature. As for Yelp, they are not worth using in my estimation as they have filtered all 3 of my legitimate recommendations.

    Reply
    • The filtering that happens on both sites can be a but heavy handed at times. We’ve had our own reviews filtered on occasion. Much of what causes the filtering is still hotly debated, so you really just need to follow the rules and hope for the best.

      As for Yelp, I wouldn’t ignore them. We have many customers that get most of their business from Yelp. More importantly, whether or not you’re using it, your customers are.

      Reply
    • If you have the time and inclination, there are tons of directories an review sites out there. Personally, I would focus on Google and Yelp, since they’re the biggest players at the moment.

      Reply
  3. Chris, “If you have the time and inclination,”….. WOW! So, so true. To put into context or my view point?? How can the Local merchant/retailer navigate in the e-postioning arena? Obvisious answer is finding the knowledgeable enitity that can lead the way! But they all want money up front for what they say they can do for the LOCAL merchant/retailer. Why not a path of “Partnering” that would share in the increased success based on a % of that increase??

    joe
    Area Code Shopper

    Reply

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