Any business owner can sign up with the Google AdWords program and be advertising on the first page of Google in just an hour or so. There is no easier way to have a business seen on the first page of Google. HOWEVER, it’s EXTREMELY difficult to achieve an acceptable return on investment with PayPerClick advertising.
It’s all but impossible for a novice to put together a buy positive google reviews winning combination of bid price, ad copy, and landing page. In most cases, a PayPerClick consultant is required. At the very least, tremendous time and work are required by the business owner to test and learn how to profit with
PayPerClick advertising does have its place and should be considered by every business owner at some point. But it’s not wise to implement PayPerClick before taking advantage of all the free options Google offers. Let’s get free local business and organic listings set up and working before spending money on PayPerClick!
Nothing beats free advertising! Notice the Free listings above. The plumbers who have their sites and contact information listed next to the map pay nothing for that advertising!
Simply put, the plumbers who understand how to place their business on that search page are stealing customers from the other plumbers in Augusta every day.
Most searches for goods and services with the name of a city produce a Google map with adjacent business listings (see the above graphic). This is the most eye-catching and preferred listing location in the search results. If I’m a local plumber in Augusta, I want my business by that map! Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime to be listed there.
First, I’ll address two very common misconceptions about the free spots in Google Local Business listings.
• Unlike the Yellow Pages, these great placements cannot be purchased for any amount of money. It’s not about how large a business’ marketing budget is.
• If a business does not show up on the first page, owners do not have to simply settle for poor placements. There are specific steps that can be taken to move any business up in the listing order to enjoy the profits of a first page listing!
Local Business Listings are the listings just to the right of the Google map. (Yahoo and Bing have their own version of Local Business Listings. But since Google is the most popular search engine, I’ll refer to Google first in this paper.) Again, these are free listings and the most clicked ads on a local search listings page.
Most local businesses are already listed in the business listings. These are seen by clicking the link “more results near…” which is found below the main listings. Although most businesses are listed in those pages, few are ever seen by potential customers. Most searchers never go past the first or second pages when looking for a local service or product.
How do businesses get Google to list them on the first page? There are 20+ criteria Google uses to filter the business listings.
Listed below are a few of the 20+ criteria Google uses to rank businesses in the local listings:
Proper keyword optimization of the business title. (Warning: Be aware that improper use of keywords in the title can lead to a keyword spamming penalty by Google!) If you have a listing now, do not modify it without this understanding.
Verification of the listing – This is vital for several reasons. During verification, Google telephones each business to supply a pin number which the business owner inputs into their business listing account. Verification gives Google more confidence in the listing and will quite often result in the business moving higher in the rankings.
Proper category selections. Setting up the listing is made easy by Google. However, there are a limited number of categories Google allows the owner to select. Understanding how to properly select the categories can make or break the listing’s success.
Customers are allowed to review their experience and provide testimonials within the listing. These reviews play an important part in the rankings. Google does not penalize for negative rankings; however, business owners can greatly improve their listings’ effectiveness by understanding how reviews fit into Google’s ranking algorithm.