When it comes to local SEO, most companies focus on optimizing their websites, adding listings to local business directories, creating quality back links, etc. However, there was a case study done regarding the effectiveness of optimizing Google Places listings conducted by a company called Milestone Insights. This study was done in an effort to determine whether or not optimizing Google Places Listings specially, but local business directory listings as a whole, had a positive effect on the visibility of a website on the Internet. In simpler terms, can improving your Google Places listing bump your search engine results position, increase traffic and reduce bounce rate: three of the more important metrics used to evaluate the effectiveness of a marketing or SEO campaign. And the results were surprising to say the least.
Companies who choose to optimize their Google Places listings saw a huge bump in impressions and Google Place actions as well as a 6% decrease in bounce rate. Overall, the websites were seeing a significant increase, not only in traffic, but targeted traffic. In addition, 5% of this traffic was new, so the study websites were finding that they were getting access into pools of customers that had previously not been accessible thanks to their optimization efforts. This is the type of traffic that results in a higher conversion into sales and the kind of traffic that SEO experts try to snag.
So, how can your business benefit from optimized Google Places listings? First and foremost, you need to optimize your listing. The best way to do this is to ensure that your listing is as complete as possible. Not only should you list the pertinent information such as your business’s name, address and phone number, but you need to add things like pictures, video, and more interesting stuff about your company in your profile. Video is the number one way to make it to the top of Google Search, so make sure you don’t overlook this very valuable content element. Next, you need to ensure that all of the pertinent information about your business is consistent across all of the pages on your listing, that it matches what is on your website and across the Internet. Consistency is the key to boosting visibility. Lastly, work on building quality backlinks that rely on localized keywords.
While it may seem like the effort to optimize your Google Places listing shouldn’t be at the top of your list when it comes to local SEO, the truth is that by spending a little time making small tweaks and completing your profile, you can experience a pretty significant return on your investment. And the best part is that all it requires is a little effort on your part. By optimizing your Google Places listing, you can find customers you never knew were looking for you, which can grow over time. Don’t overlook the importance of Google Places in your SEO strategy. Google Places optimization should be added to any comprehensive search engine optimization strategy.