Get Hyper-local to Grow Your Business Online (Locally, Nationally and Globally)

by Matthew O'Brien on August 4, 2013

Google Plus Local, Google Maps, local search marketing, Geo-SoMoWhere the physical location of your business is has never been more important in the eyes of search engines. Have you noticed that Google Maps and Google Places have now been integrated into Google Plus. We are patiently waiting for the release of the new dashboard which will combine Google Places with Google Plus. Currently you have to manage both your local listings and your business page (for Google Plus) in two areas and if you talk to the folks at Google (who provide excellent help in this area) they will let you know that the dashboards are combining soon and will all be managed in your Google Plus account.

Yahoo has recently launch a new Local tool for businesses and Bing is also working on enhancements to their local tools for businesses, Bing Places. So what do these this new Local dashboards mean to a business?

Is there an opportunity to get a head start or to get an advantage over your competition by integrating hyper-local strategies into your online marketing plan?

So, you may say,

“My business is national and I don’t need to have a local strategy”…or do you?

One of the things we have noticed with Google is that they are working hard to cleanse the Internet of businesses that are not legitimate. What does this mean? There are many businesses out there that have an identity crisis is in the eyes of the search engines. Google, and many other search engines, reference Experion, Axiom, Yellow Pages-type databases and many others for business information and reviews. This data is colliding with your online business data (old and new).

What is getting published about your business may shock you as being incredible accurate and, too many times, very inaccurate. What we are starting to see is that some businesses have an identity crisis, meaning, there may be multiple version of their business name with the same phone number and the same address. For example, a business name may have multiple versions listed in online directories and search engines like:

Spacely Sprokets
Spacely Sprokets Company
Futureville Spacely Sprokets

So what will this do to your business? Potentially, Google will look at this and say,

“There are multiple business names with the same phone number and same address? We are going to remove them all from our database.”

Unfortunately, this is happening more times than we’d like to see. We have had situations where a company changed their name and they were competing with their old business name. If this happens, you want to make sure you claim both listings and then delete the old listing(s). This is, in fact, was what we did initially and then two months later, the old business listing popped up again online (in Google Maps/Place/Google+). This time around, we got on the phone with Google so that they could physically remove and block this listing from ever showing up again in their database.

Businesses that have not claimed their listings in search engines need to do the following (especially those that have changed their business name):

  1. Confirm the mailing address and business name registered with the state what the United States Post Office has on record
  2. Select one phone number and email address for each location you have (think of this as your license plate for your business)
  3. Do an online search for all version of your business name, claim all listings you find and edit them to match the registered data you have
  4. Claim your Google listing and update the listing with all the registered data (be sure to do this step last since Google will crawl the Internet to validate your listing with other online listings)
  5. Verify your business listings in Google, Yahoo (who has a new dashboard) and Bing
  6. Add the rel=”publisher” code to your site to verify your business website
  7. Verify your email address and phone number in your Google Plus listing
  8. If you have a blog and a personal Google Plus page, add the rel=”author” code to your blogs (be sure to use a real photo of you or Google will not acknowledge you as a real person and prevent your image from showing up in search results like this:

SoLoMo GeoSoMo local social mobile marketing

One of the things that we are seeing is that if your business wants to be more influential and relevant in search results, especially in the eyes of Google, you need to focus on your geography and look at the roots of your area and how your business fits in. Be proud to be a local business (even if you have a national or international focus) and pull into your online story how your business is engaged in the local community.  Answer the question, “Why would people care?” If you start following this strategy, you will find that your online business can accelerate in the maps listings in search engines for helping to grow your relevance and influence in mobile search (locally, nationally and internationally).

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