In the previous step, I touched just a bit on how to get your site on Google local. But now I want to get into the reasons why it's so important for small businesses in local communities.
If you do a search for say
, just like in the previous example, you will get results for tree service in your area. So if you are in Old Bridge, New Jersey, this is what might come up in the Google search results:
This is what is known as "the three pack". It shows up on the first page of Google automatically if there are enough businesses in the area you searched for. It lists the top three businesses registered with Google My Business and each site has more information about it when you click on it. There are actually a lot more than three businesses than these three. and they can be found by clicking on the "More Places" text just under the results. Google used to list the top seven but has narrowed it down.
So how do you get on to the top of the three pack? Easy. Make sure when you fill out the Google listing form that you fill in absolutely everything that they want from you. If they ask for 10 pictures then add 10 pictures! No skimping. Make your content relevant and think it through. This is a very important part of getting ranked and one of the two ways you'll get to the first page for as many keywords as you want.
After you've submitted your business for the Google My Business listing, you will need to verify it. Google will mail you a post card with a code on it. When you get that, just go back in to your account with them, add the code and voila you're official. Now you can really start getting some action to your site.
Citations are directories or review sites such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and even Facebook. The overall objective here is NOT to get business from these citations - you won't. The reason why you want to be on as many of these as possible is to get your name out on the web and this is the best way to do it. If Yelp or any of them call you, they're going to try and convince you that you need to stand out in their listings. Watch out. They want your money and you don't need to spend it here.
Get your listings up on as many as possible. Here are the top fifty:
You can add your listing to these sites manually or you can pay for a service to do it such as Yext or Whitespark. Whatever you do, remember this. It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that the NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER (also known as the NAP) matches EXACTLY with how you have it listed on Google local. This is how Google matches up the citation with your listing. Why is this important? Because the more good citations you have, the more Google will notice you and push you up so you show up on the three pack! Got it? Get it!