First of all: do you know who Mike Blumenthal is?
No? Name doesn’t ring a bell? No worries. You don’t have to know who he is. It might do you well, however, to listen carefully to what he has to say. Especially when he’s talking about how you can improve the visibility of your business whenever customers look up local information about you using Google search.
Considered one of today’s leading authorities on Google – particularly Google+ Local, the search engine’s online reviews aggregator and recommendation service – Mike is a well-known consultant with deep industry knowledge on local search marketing, search optimization, and local search practices. Nicknamed as “Professor Maps,” he is also a presenter for GetListed.org, a free tool for claiming your business listings on Google, Bing, and other local search engines. (GetListed.org was acquired last December by SEO software provider SEOmoz.)
(Check out: “Google+ Local FAQs for Business Owners”)
Recently we came across an interview with Mike over at Stargazer Digital. The interview was done by Stargazer founder Kevin Gallagher and we thought it contained a number of great insights that you, as a business owner with a local presence, might want to know about and learn from.
Here are some excerpts:
On the importance of claiming your Google+ Local listing:
Given that Google is generating (by my estimate) about 80 percent of local leads in the US and more in Europe, it is essential that the listing is correct and has granular category detail about what your business does. If you don’t claim and enhance your listing, Google will only add information and categories that it finds from across the web. That information very well could be wrong.
Google could have two listings for your single business. It is important to check that Google has your business located at the correct spot on the map so shoppers can get driving directions to your location. And it is important to upload good photos to replace what Google has found for your business across the web. Missing categories, bad photos, improper location or duplicate listings can lead your listing to not ranking as well as it might or leaving clients with the wrong impression about your business.
On how you can optimize your listing so that the search engine robots (as well as your potential customers) can find you more easily online:
Conversion optimization of your Google+ Local listing, where you are trying to stand out from the crowd and convince more clients to call you, is well worth pursuing. Here are some ideas along those lines:
Photos that are compelling and show well in the limited 64×64 pixel display that Google provides on the front page;
A great business description that helps you stand out from the crowd. Think of it as the most important elevator speech you will ever make;
Review management: making sure that your clients are leaving reviews at Google and elsewhere on the Internet so that prospective clients can see from others what you do well.
You can read the rest of the interview here. For more in-depth discussions on how you can enhance your reputation and visibility on Google’s local services (like Maps and Google+ Local), visit Mike’s blog or follow him on Twitter.