Unlocking Some of the Mysteries of Online Marketing Part 1 of 3 • The Geography of the SERP and Local/Maps Enhancement

I don’t hear it as much as I used to, but when people find out I’ve visited the Google campus and been Certified in Google AdWords, the first question they would inevitably ask me would be “How do I get my business on the first page of Google?” “Good question.” I would reply. “Let me know if you find out.”

Truth is, there’s no easy formula for getting a great spot on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page.) There are many different means and strategies for getting to page one of Google. And those same strategies may or may not work for the other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. Not only that, as soon as you implement some of these steps and get great results, the search engines may decide to change what factors impact rankings.

Regardless of how hard it may be to make it happen, and how volatile the search engines are, it is vitally important that you pay attention to this area of their business. Nearly everyone is using the internet these days. Last I heard, people were spending eleven to fourteen hours a week on the internet. ComScore statistics show that the internet has been the number one source for searching for local businesses since 2007. Why go looking for your print yellow pages when you’ve got the internet right there on your computer, iPad or smartphone?

Your customers are using the internet and you know it. Next question: How to get in front of them when they start searching for you? I’ve got a few strategies I’ll share with you, but don’t take my word for it. Internet strategies are changing every day. Look online for the most up to date information.

In this issue, we will discuss the geography of the SERP and Local/Maps enhancement.In Part 2, we will discuss Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).Part 3 will focus on Social Media and the Value of Blogging.

Geography of the SERP

You may not realize it, but when you search Google, your results come from three separate databases. At the top of the page, you’ll see the Sponsored Links. These links are actually advertisers who are paying Google every time you click on their ad. Most clicks run around $3 apiece but clicks can start as low as a few cents and some keywords can cost over $100 per click! The second area of the SERP only shows when a person is looking for a local service – similar to yellow pages. (plumbers, pizza, attorneys) Even if a business doesn’t have a website or a great internet presence, they can appear here. Below the map is the most coveted area on the page – the Organic, or Natural results. Getting your business listed here is the Holy Grail of SEO. This is the most “trusted” spot on the page and the clicks here are free! Which area of the page should you shoot for? ALL OF THEM. Multiple appearances on the SERP increases your chances of getting clicked exponentially. So . . . how to do it? Here are a few hints.

Local/Maps

Google, Yahoo and Bing all have local databases that include local businesses. Yours may already be there because the search engines originally purchased this business information from sources like the yellow pages. Go to maps.google.com and search for your business. Look for the choice to edit or claim it. You may need to create a Google account in order to edit your listing. When you’ve done this, enhance it with accurate and detailed information about your business. Include your web address, email, photos, even videos. Then get your customers to write reviews of your business. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll rise to the top of the map listings when you’ve done this, but as I’ve often seen it: “He who has the most stuff on his listing wins.” You’ll need to “verify” your listing with a phone call or postcard from Google. Once you’ve done this, you should see results in a couple of weeks or so.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. These will certainly help people targeting local SEO. I myself have a couple of local SEO campaign that will benefit from these tips.

    Reply

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