For any local business, it’s important to rank on Google Maps, or Google+ Local. Very few people actually use the Yellow Pages anymore, or any other offline method, and most of the time, when people are searching online for a local business, they’re using Google Maps.

In fact, there have been studies that’ve been done which show that 82% of people, when they’re looking for any type of local business, will search ONLINE, before using some sort of offline method like the Yellow Pages. That means that even if you’re DOMINATING the offline local market, all you’re getting is 18% of the total market share… not very profitable, is it? On top of that, Google produces about 80% of searches online, whereas all the other search engines account for the other 20%, so, as you can see, dominating Google+ Local puts you head and shoulders above the competition, but the question then remains, how exactly do we do it?

Strategy #1: Creating Your Listing For The First Time

There are some pretty specific things that you should and shouldn’t do when you’re creating a listing on Google+ Local. Many people try to do things to sort of “game” the system, and get their local listing showing at the top for various keywords… My best advice is, don’t do this. You want to be as honest and straight-forward as possible with your listing, because if you don’t, at some point, you’ll likely have a manual reviewer who will come and take your listing down, and then, you’ll be getting no business whatsoever from Google+ Local. Make sure when creating your listing that you don’t do keyword research, and then try any keyword stuffing. Google will frown on this big-time. At one point, back in the day, this actually would’ve worked, but not anymore. Just talk about your business using normal keywords, like you’d be using anyway to describe your business.

Strategy #2: Is It An Advertisement?

Another very common mistake people make when creating their Google+ Local listings is they think of it like an advertisement they’d be putting in the Yellow Pages. I can’t stress this enough: Your listing is NOT an advertisement, and it shouldn’t be treated like one. Think of it more like a Wikipedia entry, for example. If you read a Wikipedia entry about a business, it’s very neutral, and it only explains the cold-hard facts. This is exactly how your Google+ listing should be too. Whenever you make your listing sound like an ad, you’re basically inviting Google’s manual reviewers to come and take it down. These listings should be totally neutral sounding, in fact, the more boring the better. The goal here isn’t to be an advertisement, but just to hang your banner, and let people know what you have to offer. Of course, you should be linking to your official website, and your website should have good sales copy on it, but not the listing itself, this is key to doing well with G+ Local. Which brings us to our next point…

Strategy #3: Make Sure You Have a Solid Website, And Include It…

So many people will create business listings on Google+, Yahoo, Bing, etc., and not even have a website. Obviously, it’s easier to make one of these listings than it is to make a website, but, a website is absolutely mandatory. Not only do you need a website to help you do your selling for you, as well as gather leads, but Google wants you to have a website attached to your listing, and if you don’t, you won’t get the same results as the people who do. Nowadays, if you don’t have a website, you just look like some fly by night operation, and Google recognizes this. You should have a very nicely done, and professional-looking website with professionally done sales copy (not copy you wrote yourself). Connecting your Google+ Local Listing to your website will usually get you stronger results than keeping them separated, so make sure to merge them.

Google Maps Websites

Strategy #4: Choose Your Categories Correctly…

It amazes me how many people get caught up on this, despite how easily these are to do correctly. First of all, don’t add in your own categories. Many people try to add a category that doesn’t exist in their default list, simply because they want to pop in a keyword they’re trying to rank for, and of course, the listing gets taken down. With categories, just use the basic ones that are provided, and only add categories that make perfect sense if you truly feel like something you need to put down is missing from their list. Just put down the categories that best explain what your business does, and then leave it alone. Too many people get their listings taken down on account of this one simple section, but you don’t have to fall into this trap… just keep it simple.

Just using these tips, you should have enough info to do about 10x better with Google+ Local than the average person/business, but this is just part one of a two-part series. Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll be going over more excellent strategies for dominating the new Google+ Local.