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  1. #1
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    Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Hi Folks,

    I was thinking it would be great if we could start to share some of the things that we do for our clients Google+ Local optimization to improve ranking.

    I think it would be great to collectively share some of the things we are doing.

    I don't expect that everyone would want to share EVERYTHING that they do, but I think any tips can help!

    I'll start. A couple things we do include:


    • If the listing has no Map Maker history, give it a "poke". You can do this by hitting "edit" and submit without making any actual edits.
    • Report competitors with "Edit Business Details". For example, if there is a listing that is ranking well that has the city name in the listing's title (violation of Google's quality guidelines) or if the listing has a keyword in the title and the keyword is not part of the businesses name(also a violation).



    Thanks!!
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  2. #2
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Great topic Colan! Thanks for starting it!

    So doing a poke will get it into MM? Makes sense but never thought to do it!

    I'll put some thought into this and come up with more, but there is one best practice tip I think many miss AND it drives me crazy AND I've been meaning to post it, so I'll go ahead and mention here.

    In my training I liken the local algo to a kindergartener playing a match game. She often gets confused my little things that look similar but aren't (resulting in merges) OR sometimes totally misses the obvious and can't make a match (resulting in dupes). So you really have to be careful with data and try to feed her EXACT MATCHES.

    OK so we all know how important it is to have MATCHING NAP on every page of the site, right? And I believe phone is the 2nd most important part of NAP. We also know that sometimes the reason Google knocks you out of blended so you don't rank in local is due to confusion if she can't match up the site and G+ Local page. This can be due to dupe confusion BUT can also happen if NAP does not match. So for instance the local # is on the G+ page as it should be but all that's on the site is an 800#. Sometimes she gets confused and can't make the match.

    SOooo when I research problems, I copy the phone # off the site and plug it into maps to find the G+ listing. VERY OFTEN if the phone on the site is formatted as 555.222.1234 or 555-222-1234 Google can't read it in maps and comes back with gibberish asking me if I'm trying to find something in Turkey. And she sure as heck can't read the phone number right if it's listed on the site as 555-TopPrice (3674586).

    Here's what happens when you search for my phone with dot format. She can't find me.
    (The kindergartener can't make a match.) But if you use standard phone format I come right up.

    Might seem like a tiny thing, BUT if we do everything to try to rank and miss a little formatting thing like that, that causes G to get confused and drop the listing out of blended, it's kinda of a big thing in my book. So just be sure phone #s are ALWAYS in standard format (555) 222-1234.

    (Not certain it impacts ranking directly but definitely could impact 'trust' in the listing AND break the match in blended - which in turn def does impact ranking!)

    I'll think of more later today when I can, but anxious to get some tips from the community!

    Your turn!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  3. #3
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    I like to put review badges or "write a review" buttons on client's sites. Since the link is going to the G+local page, do you think that helps ranking or at least helps connect the right information since there is a direct link?

    In any case it helps drive viability to the page and helps people not only see reviews, but gets current customers to write a review too.

  4. #4
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Here are a number of things you can do and a number of tools you can use:

    * Completely optimize the listing (make sure you have created videos, have also optimized the photos, have selected the correct categories to trigger the correct searches. Blumenthals Olean NY & Bradford Pa- strong support and a personal touch. Web Hosting, Design, e-commerce, Macintosh Support- Google Places Category Tool - Google Categories - Google Maps)

    * Take those videos you have created and place them at video sharing sites with local information (NAP and other information) in the description of the video sharing sites

    * Take those photos and place them at photo sharing site. Make sure you leverage the local information where possible and link to your website where possible.

    * Build citations - Looking at your competition and where they have gotten citations is a great place to start - Free Local Citation Finder Tool - MyLocalCitationFinder.com or Edmonton Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Web Design | Whitespark

    * On page optimization - Make sure your site support these locations with location pages. Make sure those pages have hcards and other markup language. Make sure your NAP is consistant throughout the website

    Here are a couple of tools I have built that I use to research and find issues with my clients listings:

    Free Local Analysis - Free Local Search Analysis - Google Places Optimization- Checks issues with your listing, your on-site optimization and off-site optimization. You can also compare your listing against the competition.

    Local Research Resources - http://www.51blocks.com/online-marketing-tools/google-local-toolbox/ Create hCard, KML Files and GeoTags all in one form submission.

    Citation Research - Free Local Citation Finder Tool - MyLocalCitationFinder.com or Edmonton Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Web Design | Whitespark - It doesn't look that pretty but you can research the citations of the top 10 results for a given keyword in a specific area.

    Keyword Tracking - We have built a tool that tracks both local and organic positions for your keywords. MKR (soon to become http://www.MySEOLabs.org) or Places Scout - Automated Local SEO Software Tools and Solutions.

    Remember that the local algo is now using more of the organic ranking factors to rank the local packs.

    Hope this helps!
    Free Local Checklist
    51Blocks - "White Label" Google Places & Website Development/Hosting - Will Pay Good $$ for Wordpress website hosting referrals
    Wordpress Site Speed Problems? Site speed optimization is part of our hosting - 90's on Google PageSpeed Insights

  5. #5
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Thanks Eric and Michael for taking time to share.
    Great stuff!

    Keep the tips coming and then I'll 'stick' this post if it turns into one of the most helpful and I think it will!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #6
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Quote Originally Posted by mborgelt View Post
    * Take those videos you have created and place them at video sharing sites with local information (NAP and other information) in the description of the video sharing sites

    * Take those photos and place them at photo sharing site. Make sure you leverage the local information where possible and link to your website where possible.
    Amazing tips so far!!

    Which video and photo sharing sites to do you use?
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  7. #7
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    I have to subscribe. Great information.

  8. #8
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    • Report competitors with "Edit Business Details". For example, if there is a listing that is ranking well that has the city name in the listing's title (violation of Google's quality guidelines) or if the listing has a keyword in the title and the keyword is not part of the businesses name(also a violation).



    Thanks!!
    Thanks so much for all of these tips! Very much appreciated.

    Colan, would you mind elaborating a little bit on this tip? When you "edit business details", do you then select "business name"? What do you normally enter in the box?

    There are a lot of competitors who have done this in some of our clients markets.
    Nicholas Pratt | Director | Add me on Google+
    SEO Spark



  9. #9
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    I've reported spammy listings too. I just tell it like it is and back it up if I have facts.

    I just say something like: This appears to be a fake name or keyword stuffed name or city does not appear to be part of the real name. (Depending on situation.) Then I may go on to say: Based on the business web site the real name appears to be "XYZ" and that's also how they are represented all over the Internet, or that matches the way they are listed on the BBB or Chamber or whatever.

    Then always check the follow up box and then you'll get a report when it's done. Normally I find edits like that get done in a couple days, but I have not done one recently.

    Don't think I've ever reported one like that specifically to help my client rank but would if it was an issue. I've just reported a few in the wild that were blatant violations when I had time and they were always taken care of quickly.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  10. #10
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    Re: Google+ Local Optimization Tips/Tricks To Improve Ranking

    Great tips already! Let's keep them coming. Here are a few I came up with on the commute home from work. They haven't been tested in isolation so I can't say definitively which ones, if any, are effective on their own. Nevertheless, here they are:

    1) Check your robots.txt and sitemap.xml carefully if you are using Wordpress. If you are the only author on your blog, disallow access to your /author/ directory since these post will be the same as your regular monthly archive (resulting in duplicate content). You can do the same with /tag/, /archives/, and any other directory that will result in duplicate content being indexed.

    Joost de Valk has written volumes on the subject so check out some of his articles for detailed information. I've neglected to do this early on on some sites and had to clean up the mess in Google Webmaster Tools later on. Similarly, make sure that you have included images and videos in your sitemap and checked to see that you haven't excluded any portions of your site from being indexed.

    2) Another Wordpress tip for larger sites: Put your NAP, office hours and special offers, along with the corresponding markup in a sidebar widget if possible to ensure that the information is consistent, loads quickly and displays properly across different device/browser combinations.

    3) This probably goes without saying, but just in case: Use the site: command to check that your URLs are indexed properly and that there aren't any canonical issues.

    4) In Webmaster Tools, check the health of your site often. If you've made changes to titles, meta descriptions, etc, fetch those new pages as Googlebot and submit them to the index. This seems to expedite changes getting indexed. I've seen changes on a small site happen within 24 hours on Google.ca. Since many of our sites aren't indexed as often as larger, non-localized site, this can be helpful.

    5) I'm a big fan of Pinterest. Even if you're optimizing a site for a plumber, you can still create Pinterest boards showing what certain plumbing parts look like, how to tell when components are faulty, flooding damage, and other images that provide valuable information. You can then share your pins on Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to get more exposure. I spend very little time on Pinterest, yet it sends higher quality referral traffic than Facebook in some cases. It isn't hard persuading clients to jump on this social network because it doesn't require regular updating and few, if any people use Pinterest for customer support.

    6) While I've only started learning about video SEO, I can say that it is certainly effective for generating sales when done properly. For local clients, it's an easy way to get a colorful video thumbnail and a rich snippet on the first page of the SERPS. Google simply loves YouTube (big surprise) and indexes and prioritizes videos over most other content. Creating a basic video, uploading it to YouTube, and optimizing the title, description, thumbnail, etc is relatively easy and can bring in some quick wins.

    I used the nifty little video scribe tool I learned about in this forum to create a video that landed on the first results page after 4 days (for primary kw + city). Not only that, scraper sites scraped the video and provided free backlinks to the video with targeted anchor text (Thank you content thieves). My client is in a small city of 230,000 and his niche isn't too competitive. But his domain was only registered a few months ago and the website completed a month ago. So I was somewhat surprised by the quick results.

    Link to the video scribe tool thread:
    http://localsearchforum.catalystemar...ness-idea.html

    Link to the video I created in one weekend:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUj4l1PebuA

    Alright, it's time for dinner. I hope this was helpful

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