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Improving the ranking of your Google+ Local page

 4940-daily-golden-nugget-676The ranking results for your listing on Google+ Local have probably gone up and down in the past year since "Places" was converted to "+Local." During that time Google has spent a lot of time trying to improve the overall way that things relate to one another online, and it's those relations that might be hurting your +Local listing.

Your Google+ Local business listing appears within the Google+ network now. Some of you might remember that before 2010 the Google Places system was part of Google Search. The same information in your +Local listing also appears within the Google Maps system on desktop computers and mobile devices.

Not to confuse matters, but your Google+ Local information still needs to be edited through the old "Google Places" located at

Back in June 2012 a Local Search survey of many SEO professionals that provide local optimization services. The results from the survey included many details about what to do on and off your website to increase your local ranking. I've included the link to the survey results at the bottom of this Nugget if you'd like to spend some time pouring over the survey results to figure out good ways to optimize your website.

One of the interesting conclusions derived from the survey is how important it is to match the information in your Google+ Local account to the website page that you link to from your +Local page. Once realized, this conclusion seems to match what I mentioned above about the overall way that Google is relating information together. It's this specific conclusion that I'm reviewing below.

Normally the website address that you include in your Google+ Local account would be your regular domain name, which would naturally lead to your home page. However, new website designs have lead many people to remove most of the text contest from their home page, replacing it with nice looking images. There's no way to match the +Local information to a bunch of home page images and so, we now need to consider setting up a special landing page for your +Local account.

Using your website content management system, create this additional web page and add it to your +Local account. For simplicity sake, in the rest of this Nugget I'm going to refer to this special page as your "landing page."

You need to take extra care to match all the information on this landing page with the information in your +Local account, starting with the Page Title tag. Within the page title you should have your city, state/province, followed by your store name.

I need to VERY SPECIFIC point out that all the information in your +Local account MUST EXACTLY match the information on your landing page. Punctuation, abbreviations, address formatting, and telephone formatting must be identical. If your +Local listing shows the phone number as "(212) 555-1212" then you cannot use "212-555-1212" on your website. Get it?

I also recommend that you follow the suggested Google Maps formatting of your address. Finding this is a little tricky... Open the Google Maps app in your smartphone and search for the address of your store. However, DO NOT type the address, instead you need to use the voice feature to speak your address. The Google Maps app will provide suggested addresses to match what you spoke, and that's the address you should be using in your +Local account and on your landing page.

On this landing page you need to put your store name and the city, state within the H1 tag at the top of the page. At the bottom of the landing page you should include your full address which matches the address from the +Local account.

When editing your +Local account you will find a field which allows for 200 character description. You need to include that description on your landing page, but first you should rewrite and embellish it using synonyms for your targeted keyword phrases. This description needs to be more than 300 characters long.

Take time to review the five business categories that are shown on the "Places" edit screen. You need to use the official categories that Google provides, and avoid typing in your own words even though they allow it. Google periodically changes the categories, so click into each of these five category fields, delete it, and retype it just to make sure it still exists. That might sounds silly, but Google has recently removed the category "Retail Store - Jewelry," so if you have that as one of your categories you need to remove it and select something else. At the time of this writing the only default category for the jewelry industry seems to be "Jeweler."

The phrases used in those five categories should also be included in the description on the landing page. One sentence for each category is all you need. Between the rewrite of the other description and these five additional sentences you should have plenty of information that will "relate" your landing page to your +Local page neatly.

There's no need to include this special landing page within the regular navigation of your website, but you should include it in the XML sitemap that you submit to Google Webmaster Tools.

Hopefully this will help revive the ranking of your +Local account in Google search results.

Here's the Local Search survey link:

AT: 02/25/2013 08:09:06 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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