Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post published by permission of its author.
Many small businesses today rely on optimizing local search engine traffic as a key internet marketing strategy. Google’s Ed Parsons, who is the search giant’s Geospatial Technologist, recently said that about 1 in 3 search queries people type into a standard Google search bar are seeking information about specific locations.
Small business owners of all types, ranging from dentists & orthodontists to proprietors of mom and pop local retail establishments, are generally quite confused about local search. Confusing as it may be, local is not going away and it’s becoming more and more popular. This blog post is dedicated to answering some of the most commonly asked questions about local search to help make this rather perplexing and difficult digital landscape easier to navigate.
Because Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm, does it now make more financial sense for a local business to run a pay-per-click campaign versus trying to rank on the local level?
In most cases the answer would be no. It all really depends upon your business, industry and the current level of competition you face. Google recently unveiled Adwords Express+ that will drive the cost of local ads even higher. It’s better to stick to a good organic strategy as the only way to grow your PPC is to spend more money.
Why shouldn’t I offer my customers something to write reviews for my business?
You shouldn’t do this because Google says it’s a no-no in its guidelines as does Yelp. Why? Most likely because they believe that the review would be biased if the person writing it was given something to leave it. They simply frown upon solicited reviews.
Concerning reviews, is one review per week OK to avoid trouble?
It’s fine for your business to receive reviews naturally but it’s not OK for you to provide incentives to get dozens of reviews in a short period of time. When you suddenly have tons of reviews written about you, it will appear very unnatural in the eyes of Google. If you want reviews, obtain them from sources that have review histories and active review accounts.
Is it possible to get existing online reviews found on Yelp, etc to show up on my new +Local page? Or can I only link to those reviews?
Google doesn’t show reviews from other providers anymore. However, just because Google doesn’t show these reviews doesn’t mean that they don’t matter. You can get reviews from sources other than Google if your customers use those sites as it can help your business. Even though Google is king, it does not reign over the entire internet.
Our local business is verified by Google for our two locations but the listings have been “under review” now for several weeks. How can we remedy this?
You should visit Google’s Troubleshooting page for verifying listings. Believe it or not, Google now provides telephone support for verification problems. Just follow the steps laid out on the troubleshooting page to fix the issue you’re having. You’ll need to be logged into your Places for business account wherein you’ll be asked which verification method you tried. Then you’ll be walked through the steps required to address the problem.
As an Account Executive at Wpromote, Megan is responsible for assisting clients with their search engine marketing needs. While helping clients become recognized in search engines is an integral part of her job, she is also a regular contributor to the blog. In her spare time, Megan enjoys Dodger games and trying out new recipes like chocolate chip cookie dough truffles! Learn more about Wpromote at TeleVox.Wpromote.com