local - Will Hanke


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Don’t Be Fooled – Organic Rankings vs Google Local

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I came across another St Louis SEO competitor that was boasting about the #1 spot they’ve managed to get for a retailer here in the area.  Upon further investigation (which I’m presuming they don’t really want you to do), I see that the retailer is actually ranking #1 in the Google Local (Maps, Places, whatever) system, and not in organic results.  In fact, they’re more or less nowhere to be found via organic growth (#33).

Yet this company is touting their “SEO expertise” for getting this retailer to the top.

Sure, a #1 listing on a Google ‘intent’ search is great, it puts eyeballs where they need to be, it generates leads and referrals, but it isn’t SEO.  And to sell that as SEO is very misleading to business owners.

If you are wanting to rank in the Google maps system, that’s something you might pay someone to do once.  There may be slight maintenance required every few months, but this certainly isn’t something I hope this retailer is paying for month after month.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were, though, because most of these SEO companies are preying on the business owners ignorance.

Shame on them.

Google Places, UPS Boxes, and Your Mail

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

It’s been a long time practice for many home based business owners to purchase a UPS box for their business, both for convenience & separation, as well as the advantage of getting an actual street address (which is not your home).  The street address can then be put into Google Places, Yahoo! Local, etc and help businesses rank for local searches.

UPS box for SEOSince this ‘strategy’ has been going on, Google introduced service areas which helped alleviate a lot of the issues related to being a home-based business.  But there are still a lot of small businesses using UPS boxes to help rank in different local districts.

I’m not necessarily saying it’s the right way to do it, but there are definitely a lot of them still doing it, and it works in many cases still today. Click to continue »

Get Your Business on Google Maps – Correctly

Monday, April 12th, 2010

There’s no question about it, if you’re a small business, you’ve got to be listed in Google maps, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. It’s not debatable. Just do it.

But by all means, take the time to do it right. You don’t want to look like an idiot because you ran through it so quickly. And it’s not something you can pay your twelve year old son Jimmy to do, neither. You don’t have to pay some business $299 to do it, either.  That’s just crazy.  Take the time on a Sunday night to get it right.  It’ll be worth it. Click to continue »

Listed Locally: Needed Now More Than Ever

Monday, January 11th, 2010

If you’ve got a business that caters to a predominantly local market, and you aren’t active in your online strategy, you’re about to be left behind in a big way.

Late last week Google announced a new feature for their mobile search where you can find businesses near you.  This little feature, which rolled out to all iPhone and Droid users can have a huge impact on your local foot traffic.

In order to be listed in what we call the 7 pack, you’ve got to have your businesses listed in the Google Local Business Listings (LBL).  Even if your business doesn’t have a website, you can still list it in there.
Businessman looking at his smartphone
There are two main impacts by this simple change:

  • Those businesses that are listed in the LBL are going to see an increase in walk-in traffic.  Over time as the service is rolled out to more and more smartphones, it will only increase this walk-in traffic.  Since smartphones continue to get cheaper, more and more people are going to have them.  It won’t be long before most cell phones are smart/data run.
  • Not being listed in the LBL is only going to continue to hurt businesses that won’t get with the times.  It’s like ignoring the Yellow Pages 50 years ago.  It’s like saying the television fad will quietly pass.

Now, don’t forget that Google is already showing local/map results for generic queries.  That’s something they rolled out way back around March of 2009.  So it goes without saying that having a strong SEO presence in the search engines is becoming more and more mandatory.  Having your site verified in Google Webmaster tools is no longer an option.

Read other posts on Google Maps and local marketing

Oh – and once you’re listed, don’t forget to keep an eye on your listing.

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