As local search becomes more and more prevalent, accountants aiming to target local traffic must ask themselves what can they do to incorporate this marketing strategy into their overall online marketing arsenal.
For accountancy companies that have a local presence, top visibility on local search is essential or that traffic and potetntial sales leads will simply go to competitors. Google Maps is one of the most frequently used local search destinations on the internet and even comes standard on many mobile devices including the iPhone. Google+ Local provides a great opportunity to begin marketing on a local level to your potential customers.
What is Google Local?
Formally known as Google Places, Places merged with Google+ earlier this year, you may know the listings as the map results that come up whenever you search for a local product or service. Regardless of whether you have signed up for the service chances are your company will have a Google+ Local listing already, just waiting for you to claim and optimise it.
Recently Google have really been pushing the Local platform and they are giving more and more emphasis to local listings in the search results, pushing the organic listings further down the page. If you are not up there you will be missing out on the opportunity to get your business in front of many of your potential customers.
You will need a Google account to complete your business listing, if you haven’t got one sign up for one here – www.google.com/accounts
Optimising Your Google+ Local Page
The Google+ Local optimisation tips listed below will help you create or modify your Google Local page to become more relevant to both search engines and potential customers.
Consistency of Information Is Key
It is extremely important that your Google Local profile contains exactly the same information as any other profiles you may have online, say for example on Yell.com. Google Local gives you another opportunity to build your brand in the search engines so be sure you are giving a consistent message to potential customers.
Complete All Information
When completing your Google Local profile it is important to make sure you complete all of the requested information. There may be questions that you consider irrelevant, but these could ultimately have an impact on how you are found online. Make sure that you are filling out all standard information, ensuring you use the same information used on other websites, including:
- Company Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
Filling out your profile by adding additional elements to your page such as photos or videos are also recommended to optimise your content and share a little bit more about your company with your prospective clients.
Encourage Customer Interaction & Reviews
Genuine reviews from customers can be a very powerful marketing tool and can also increase your chances of your Google Local page being found. Reviews from customers add validity to any statements and information you may publish yourself, nothing speaks higher of a company than reviews and testimonials from it’s customers. I would not recommend trying to game the system by adding reviews yourself to your Google Local page, you will get found out. Instead you should look at implementing steps in your sales and after sales process to encourage and even incentivize customers to leave reviews about your services on various web properties, including your Google Local page. Don’t worry about getting negative reviews, no company will ever go through their entire life without upsetting somebody, it’s how you deal with negative reviews that is important.
Going one step further and getting video testimonials from your customers to post up on your Google Local page would be a great step towards standing out from the competition.
Optimise Your Keyword Selection
Including relevant keywords in your Google Local profile is an important step towards optimising your profile. However, you need to be careful and avoid over stuffing your business description with keywords. Also you should not use keywords in your business name (unless it is your actual business name) as this is against the Terms of Service.
Get Citations for Your Business
Links to your website have an impact on Google Local, but many believe that reviews and simple mentions of your business across the web are of equal or greater importance. The working belief is that search engines use mentions of a business as a means to measure the “buzz” around it. You can look for opportunities to build up citations/mentions on -
- Directories – Claim or create your listing in each of the major directories, and make sure that your information is consistent across all of your listings.
- Review sites – Reviews give search engines a signal that your business is a real place. It tells them that this business is known and liked (or disliked) by real people.
- Local Resources & Events Pages – Look for local directories, business listings, and event pages for opportunities to list your site.
Don’t Forget Your Website!
Not only will a well-optimized website attract organic search traffic by itself, it’s also the best citation you are likely to get for your Google Local page. In addition to following basic on-page optimisation techniques, be sure to have a local phone number and local address in plain text somewhere on your homepage. Here are some local SEO tips.
- 4 Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
- Get More Online Reviews – 5 Tips
- 10 Local SEO Tips For Accountants
- Are you losing out on local customers?
- SEO Question and Answer Session Roundup
About the Author – Marketing Man
Marketing Man is a superhero marketer hell bent on a personal crusade to improve the websites and marketing of UK accountancy firms. Check him out on Google+