Since I am relatively new to this board, I wanted to offer so content to you hard working contractors that you can take action on right now to increase your lead flow from the internet.
Not only am I a registered Architect, I am also a web marketer that focuses on helping local business owners dominate the search results when people search for their trade.
This is Part ONE of a four part series titled...
"Local Market Online Domination"
Before we get to the meat of this post, it is important for us to be on the same page with regards to local search.
When I use the term "local search" I am refering to your customers visiting a search engine like Google and typing in a phrase like "plumber in Atlanta" or "Kansas City Bathroom Remodeler" - you get the idea.
I have read various statistics but the general belief is that more than half of ALL searches done online are people looking for local companies - like yours.
There are basically four different parts that go into a Local Market Domination plan, and in this series I will address each one individually.
If you really take the bull by the horns and apply this knowledge I will be sharing in these 4 posts, you can literally have your business showing up ALL OVER the first page of the results in the search engines - and pushing your competitors down the list of results!
Part One - Google Local (maps) Business Listing
If you do a search at Google for "remodelers in Atlanta" you will get a picture of a map with a list of companies next to it. So how do you get your business to show up there? The first step is that if you have not done it already, you need to claim your listing.
Why Do You Need To Claim Your Google Maps Listing?
Reason #1 - Not all information is correct that Google currently has. You may discover that Google has errors or blank spots in their data about your company. The only way to get this corrected is to let Google know that you own the business, so that you can officially edit the information of your business listing. By claiming your listing it gives you improved control over how Google represents your business.
Reason #2 - Just like the rest of the web, the local index on Google is full of spammers and theives. Any unclaimed business listing is at risk of your competitor grabbing your listing. You "competitor" may not even be in the same city, but with a bit of work can effectively hijack your listing for their own benefit. The best defense is to claim your listing and lock it down.
How To Claim Your Google Maps Listing
The first step is to simply go to Google Maps
and do a search for your business name. For example you would type in "Action Bath Remodelers in Atlanta, GA". Unless your business is brand new, chances are it will have been indexed by Google already. If it has that is great! All you have to do is click the link and you will be taken to a page that gives the details of the business and other information. On that page there will be a link that says "Edit this place". Click that link and you will get something that looks like this on the map:
At the bottom of the bubble you see a link that says "Claim your business" - you now need to click that link. Once you click that you will be taken to Google's Local Business Center login page. If you already have any type of Google account (like gmail or Adwords) - you can simply use your existing login information. If you don't have an account already, you just need to create one now. Once you get logged in you will be shown the information on the business you want to claim.
Review all the data carefully! Is the address and phone number correct? Are the categories selected for the business accurate? Fill in as much information as possible such as the business hours, languages spoken and forms of payment accepted. Also be sure to make sure the description of your busines is accurate and complete. It never hurts to throw in the name of your city into the description as well.
Once you have all the data inserted accurately and it reads the way you want it to, the Local Business Center will ask you how you would like to verify your changes to the listing - you have two choices: phone or postcard. The phone call is the fastest way to go, but sometimes it just won't work for you. If that is the case just go the postcard route and watch the mail daily. Once you get the postcard there will be a PIN number that you need to phone in with when you receive it.
Congratulations you have now claimed your Google Local Business Center listing!
Once you've completed this initial and vital task completed, now you can begin improving the results of your local listing. One of the easiests ways to accomplish this is to ask EACH of your customers to give you a review. Some of my clients created a simple instruction sheet that they leave with each customer that shows them exactly how to leave a review on Google.
There are lots of strategies for improving your ranking on the Google Local results - but that will be a subject for another post.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and will take action right now on this information if you have not done so already. Feel free to leave me any questions you might have - I am here to help!