To kick things off with my 'Tip Of The Week' series I have a few tips about optimizing your Google Map Places (GP) profile. This should be top of your list in improving your auto repair website SEO.
Your Local SEO Checklist For 2012 is a great, short article by Miriam Ellis that has lots of great advice about improving website SEO for local search.
Why Do it?
Why bother optimizing your Google Places profile?
- Makes a BIG difference in how your Google Places listing ranks;
- Has a big effect on how your Google Places listing is positioned in the search results;
- Affects whether people will find your listing when searching for your services;
- Top listing positions get more clicks through to your website.
What you need to do:
- remember that Google is providing this service for free. So you MUST play by their rules. If not they will punish you;
- read the 'Google Places Quality Guidelines'. They are short and written for non-geeks;
- read the 'Google Places Review Guidelines'. Reviews are very important for your GP ranking. Understand Google's rules so you can encourage your customers to post review... without getting yourself into trouble. As Miriam says “Follow The Guidelines To The Letter”. And if you ever entertain the thought of SPAMing your profile with bogus reviews smack yourself. Google HATES spam and is getting good at sniffing it out. If you get caught you're in for a world of hurt.
- DO NOT copy and paste reviews from other websites using your own Google account! I am amazed at how many business people do this. Bad. Bad. BAD! This is the quickest way to KILL your profile.
- DO NOT copy and re-post reviews that Google removes or hides. This is a double bad move. There is usually a good reason Google doesn't like a review so posting it again is just asking for trouble. Besides posting other people's reviews under your own Google account is viewed as SPAM (see above).
DIY or Pro?
The Google Places Help Forum is a good spot for help. As Miriam points out Google is finally pumping some resources into Tech support. Most questions can be found there with a little digging. Your GP profile optimizing is DIY if you do your homework. If you don't have the time pay someone to do for you. It won't cost much and the ROI is well worth it.
Contact me if you need help optimizing your Google profile.