In an effort to provide better search results, Google and other major search engines are focusing on local search. On this page you’ll learn an under-rated and mostly unknown (yet extremely effective) form of digital marketing for local businesses. This is the secret weapon to get your business ranking ahead of your competitors in Google Search and Google Maps. National Online Retailers Association chief executive Paul Greenberg told the AFR that the sale of Sensis reflects a diminished role for the Yellow Pages in marketing.
With close to 90% of consumers thumbing their digital devices for a range of information about local businesses, local search is now your most important marketing channel. Optimising your online presence to rank well in Google is part technical know-how, part strategy, and doing it successfully is dependent on understanding a fast-moving landscape.
Before we get into the strategy, let’s look at the landscape in which you compete when a potential customer opens up Google and searches for you.
This is where your business is fighting for customers, so you better get to know the terrain intimately! But did you know that the structure of Google’s Search Results pages change based on the search term you use? When searches are made for local businesses, Google features between 3 and 4 advertisements (sometimes none), then their Map functionality to highlight local businesses, then organic search results. These are the options a user has to click on, and the channels you need to optimise to ensure that the user clicks to your website, and not your competitors.
In the market above, 50% of the top 8 organic listings are held by third party business directory sites, such as Yellow Pages, True Local and others! This demonstrates the power of being listed and optimised within the right online business directories for your market.
Now that you understand the 3 key elements of local search (Ads, Maps and Organic Listings), you’re going to learn how to optimise your online presence to rank high in both Maps and Organic Listings. The way this profile is optimised has a huge impact on where your business ranks on Google Maps. So what does it take to rank high in Google Maps and take out one of the coveted top 3 placements (and appear at the top of Google’s Search Results page)?
When you search for a local business in Google, the Search Results page serves up the Map feature with the top 3 ranking businesses highlighted. What you see above is a poorly optimised market, which could be easily dominated with correct optimisation and a review strategy to get regular positive reviews. We look to the US for comparison, because they are approximately 12-18 months ahead of the Australian market in terms of digital market sophistication (and can be referenced as a sign of things to come). Although not all of the optimisation factors listed above are visible to the naked eye, it’s hard to argue the importance of reviews in your local search strategy. They not only play a key factor in where your business ranks, but can be enormously influential on whether a potential customer chooses your business or the competition. For a low cost and easy solution to get positive reviews (and keep negative reviews offline), check out our Online Reputation Management services.

In Google’s eyes the more websites that are linking to your business, the more it means you are a nice, reputable and trustworthy business.
For local businesses, online business directories play an important role in establishing the online trust. The more established business directories that have your correct business details listed, the more credible you appear to be.
A citation is a mention of your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) on a third-party website.
Inaccurate mentions of your business can confuse Google’s algorithm and give Google doubt as to the validity of your business. If all this sound like a lot of hard work (you’re not wrong, it is laborious work), then keep reading as our Local Search Optimisation service covers this strategy. This will build trust with Google, and it also has the added benefit of helping you capture more real estate in Google’s Search Results pages. Because third-party online business directories (such as Yellow Pages, True Local, Yelp and others) are well-trafficked and trusted websites, they often rank well in Google’s organic listings. This means that you can leverage their trust to have your business appear more in Google just by being listed in these directories. To give you some more insight, take a look at the search results for this local business search. 7 out of the top 9 organic listings beneath the Map are from online business directory websites! This presents a significant opportunity to capture market share on Google Search Results pages. The more listings you have in key online business directories, the greater the possibility of being found in Google.
At Content First, we are specialists at helping local businesses dominate their local search market.
To help you assess whether our Local Search Optimisation service will benefit your business, we have created this free assessment tool. About Content FirstAt Content First, our purpose is to provide clarity on the performance of your digital marketing, pinpoint your unique advantage and deliver a results driven marketing programme that uses our proven lead generation and conversion strategies to attract your ideal clients. Anytime during the day, you can sip Starbucks® coffee and espresso drinks, with cocktails and craft beer offered at night. With our Foxborough hotel being just off the highway, you can spend more time at events, going sightseeing or shopping. Gillette Stadium, home of football champions the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution soccer team.
See who’s playing at Xfinity Center amphitheater, one of Boston’s top venues, while you’re in town. You’ll find us just off I-95 in Foxborough near Gillette Stadium and on the way to Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, with plenty of free parking. Update: I forgot to mention the important point that it seems to be triggered by updates to your Places dashboard!

There are also at least four seven a large number of reports of a strain of bug not previously seen.
The SPNB1 might be triggered by an update to the Places Page since it wasn’t there for us earlier this morning. I’d be curious to know if this could be rectified by submitting a feed (XLS document with location data in it).
I’d also be interested to know if the smooshed phone number appears in the feed download file (Places lets you export the data as well as import).
Joy Hawkins has reported in the forums that if you remove the phone number from the phone number field and add it back in and save the record, the display of the phone number will return to normal.
Plus I tweeted the problem to Vanessa at Google this AM and she jumped right on it and helped a lot too. The price of this item includes a contribution to a Product recycling fund to ensure that waste electrical and electronic equipment is collected and recycled in a responsible manner. Sorry, this product is not for sale on our website or over the phone, check if it is available in your local store.
We’re near Gillette Stadium with pro football, soccer and the attractions of Patriot Place — and we’re just a short drive from more retailers and restaurants.
Since I gave you the advice to edit your account I felt responsible even tho I knew that tiny edit could not have caused the problem. Once I saw that the reports were multiplying, I felt it urgent to get the post out to save folks the agro. I was just thrilled you jumped right on it and started blogging as soon as you saw it start to multiply. To explore farther afield, take I-95 north to downtown Boston or south to Providence, Rhode Island. As for the people that have already been affected, we’re still working on a fix for those accounts.
It manifests itself by smooshing (a very technical geek term) your phone number together twice in the phone number field.
If I see the problem a second time my ears perk up… by the third time, it is clear to me that something is going on and its time to call in the cavalry. Donation slips were placed on the counters, and members of the public who were doing business at the office also had the opportunity to donate toward the cause.
In addition, the clerks took it upon themselves to go outside the confines of the office in hopes to increase the public’s awareness. Any and all financial contributions to them go a long way to helping the victims and their families.

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