Aw man, I feel like such a jerk.
I haven’t posted on here in almost a month because I’ve been SLAMMED busy, which I guess is good. Feel free to throw eggs or tomatoes at your monitor, if it makes you feel better. Just clean up your mess when you’re done, children.
On with the goodies :
You may have already heard about Google’s new features in their local business center, but just in case you’ve been as busy as I have, I’m going to show off a little of what I think is pretty darn cool about these new dashboard features.
For the sake of this post, I’m going to ass|u|me that you’ve already claimed or registered your site with Google LBC (if not, please finish reading this post, then go here and do that.)
Before I show you the cool dashboard stuff, I should also give you some tips in the event your client (or you) are not showing up in the google 10-pack (organic search map listings) even though your site is listed in google local business center. I just went through this situation with a client recently, so I might as well share the experience with you…
1. check for multiple listings – remove any listings you won’t be able to verify (old address locations, different business names, etc), making sure to explain in the comments that you’re trying to make everything better – I can’t guarantee this will help, but things went pretty smooth for me, all things considered (I had to eliminate 6 additional listings). As a side note, it may serve you well to identify WHICH remaining identical listings has the best reviews associated with them – before you dump it.
2. make sure you know who your competition is and what you want to rank for BEFORE creating your map listing title – if you change it after verification, you’re going to have to revalidate the listing. If you’re not sure how to optimize your lbc content, or any local search content, you should also check out this must read post on local search ranking factors by David Mihm.
3. wait it out – It took almost a month from start to finish for me to get everything fixed up for this client; 1 day to fix all the issues, 3-4 weeks waiting time for verification. Within one day of verification, they started popping up for a myriad of search queries related to their business. Way, way more than I had anticipated at the start – which leads me back into the point of this post, how using LBC can also help your SEO efforts.
The first thing I noticed when going back into local business center after they made their updates was this bad boy: (click image to view full)
That’s pretty cool right?
Much like Google’s Webmaster Tools service, LBC provides helpful feedback on what search queries your website is showing up in the map section of organic search results. I love that it breaks it down between impression data (which you’ll never know about unless you’re running adwords) and action data. The only bummer there is that you don’t which click-throughs to your site actually came from your lbc listing – unless you’re smart and tagged the url when you created your listing. Of course you’ll need some type of analytics to review that, but I KNOW you’re already doing that, right?
But that’s not all!
Aside from the great search query data Google tells you, it also lets you know where requests for driving directions came from, aggregated by zip code for your viewing ease. This could be handy for a variety of marketing purposes – great info prior to sending out a direct mail campaign, or tv ad, etc…of course the data will probably suck if you haven’t optimized your site or listing correctly in the first place. But we’ll save that for another time.
Anyway, get busy with optimizing your local listings people! You’re doing yourself and your client a dis-service if you don’t! And don’t neglect Bing!