Local SEO – What does Google want from me?!

How many times have you asked yourself, after searching for your local business online and only seeing your competitors, “What does Google want from me?”

Google wants the same thing you want, actually — lots of satisfied customers. And what makes a Google customer happy? Plentiful, accurate information.

Just like you, Google wants searchers to use their product, Google Maps, and not competitors such as YellowPages.com and Yelp.

To set themselves apart from the competition, Google strives to offer searchers the most, and most accurate, information. Knowing that if a users hits a Places Page with insufficient, or worse, wrong information, the user is but a few clicks away from the competition.

So let’s break down how to give Google what Google wants.

First, find and verify your Google Places page.

Next, give Google lots and lots of information. Yes, filling out forms is tedious. It can feel weird to put information like pricing out there before you’ve even met your customers. But if you’re not ready to give Google your information, you can bet there’s a competitor who is happy to oblige, and Google will be happy to rank them instead.

You might have trouble with the Additional Details section. You basically have to come up with information to give Google. Go ahead and visit your competitors’ Places Pages to get ideas.

additional-details

Be sure to upload all 10 photos and all 5 videos. And give them keyword-rich file names, just because it’s awesome.

Now that you’ve completely and totally given Google every bit of information they’ve asked for and then some, you’ll want to assure Google that the information you provided is correct. Google verifies information like a grad student, by checking multiple sources. Reasonably, they expect that a real business will probably have mentions online other than a Places Page. So they crawl the web looking to see if anyone’s talking about you, and whether what they’re saying jives with what you’ve told them.

At a minimum, Google wants to see other sites, including yours, corroborating the address, telephone number, URL and business name you gave them. If no other sites can back up your story, fix that pronto.

The last thing you’ll want to do is rustle up some reviews of your business on your Places Page. Reviews help prove you’re a real business with real customers, plus they add information to your Places Page that users are likely to find valuable. Just ask your customers to go to your Places Page (give them a link if possible) and add a review, ¬†good or bad. You may be tempted to write the reviews yourself, but don’t. Again, Google hates bad data, and will not hesitate to completely remove fakers from their results pages.

Here’s the thing, Google wants to give searchers the most, best data to keep them coming back for more. If your Places Page can give Google what they need to succeed, it’s in their best interest to rank you. And that’s a great position to be in.

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