This is a transcript from our 95th Internet Marketing Podcast(2nd page).
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Google Local Places Compliance
Paul: All right let’s cover one — we’re going to start with traditional on-page criteria. Basically, what this is, is a group of SEOs got together and someone gave them topics and they all rated, hey, which ones are important, and they said, how many of them agree that this one is important. So, basically the first one is the general importance of your on-page criteria. It was high importance and moderate agreement. And basically what this is referring to is things that are on-page that are on your website, how do they affect your Places page listing. You didn’t have this one, but you have the next two.
Chris: Oh yeah.
Paul: Basically, what I found is… Well, guys are saying is basically you don’t need a website to rank locally.
Paul: So, you know, I have personally seen people without websites rank higher than people with — or rank with people — rank when I know there are people in that same industry that have Local Places listings who have a website, but they didn’t rank in the top seven. So you know, is it that important?
Chris: As an internet marketing company, we say absolutely —
Chris: As talking strictly about Google Local Places, I agree. It’s not important at all. I mean if —
Chris: There are still a lot of plumbers, carpenters, — you know, a good quality of people who provide great service; plumbers, carpenters, whatever, car cleaners that don’t have a website, but can have a Google Local Places listing and they could be somebody that you really should entertain using their business.
Chris: Just because they don’t have website doesn’t really mean that they don’t do good work.
Paul: Yeah, true. But, you know, I work in this industry, so if you don’t have a website, you’re a douche bag.
Chris: You don’t do good.
Paul: You’re just a douche bag.
Chris: We literally say that if you’re not going to focus on internet marketing, you should have a website and that website should convey the quality and value of service that you give to your customers. So not only do you need a website… We were looking at a website this morning that was just hideous that we assume, we hope, does not convey the value and quality of service they give to customers.
Chris: So, they should have a website.
Paul: One line that I really like from Mary Bowling, she says, “The importance of compliance with the newest Google Places listing quality guidelines is becoming increasingly important as Google finds it’s a way to weed out offenders, getting your listings into compliance should be a top priority.” So, I love that. That should be the tip for today’s podcast. Get your listings in compliance.
Chris: Compliance. And compliance typically refers to the title of your Google Places listing needs to be the title of the business. So, unless, your business is actually called SEO Houston… You know, we’d love to have our title be SEO Houston, that’s not the name of our business. Although, we maybe opening a subsidiary very soon.
Paul: Okay. Next, there are a couple of points that I was like, yeah, I didn’t feel that they were too important. I’m going to — maybe we can put these into a few. Basically, they’re saying including the city and state in your website title tags. I think it’s important to do. I tell people all the time, do it; don’t spend a ton of time on it.
Chris: Yeah. I think – you know, that comes to, does Amazon need their city and state? No, right.
Chris: Because they’re national. Does, I don’t know. Let’s say, I know there are some significant franchises that don’t have locations across the country.
Chris: Like, I don’t know, Chili’s maybe. Let’s just say for Wonder Burgers, they’re a good example.
Chris: It’s a burger place that started in Texas. I think they’re in Oklahoma. I don’t think they’re in Louisiana. So, a city and state might be relevant to them because somebody searching for them is probably in that city and state, and that helps Google identify exactly where they are. If you’re really local, we even get to the point where your suburb should be in your title.
Chris: Because really, it becomes a target keyword. If you’re a plumber, Katy is a suburb of Houston, although the Mayor of Katy wouldn’t maybe like us to say that.
Paul: Yeah. [Laughs]
Chris: It is. [Laughs] And so, we will tell, you know, “plumber Katy”, that’s a keyword that we would go after for a plumber who actually wants to work around Katy and not all across Houston. Houston is incredibly spread out. There’s lot of people who don’t want to provide service to all Houstonians just because they’re too far away from them.
Paul: Yeah. So, basically, yeah you should do it. Is it going to have an effect on your places, the position of your places listing? Nah, probably not too much, but you should do it.
Chris: Well and I think — yeah. And is this is talking about in – oh, it’s on your website title tag.
Paul: This is in your website.
Paul: This is all off-page things for you and how they affect your Google places. So, number 30, including a full address on Places landing page. I for one, I think your full address should be on every page of your website.
Paul: Maybe in a header or a footer, but you know, will it have…? I think – well, people are saying is it’s a trust factor. Is it going to have great effect on your position? Probably not.
Paul: But it’s a good trust factor that helps Google trust your website.
Chris: And again, it’s — also we talked SEVO, Search Engine Visitor Optimization and how you need to have continuity of the path that the user has gone through. So, if they’ve typed “Katy plumber,” they need it pretty quickly when they get in your Google Local Places listing, if it’s not obvious already.
Chris: And it has the address in the Google Local Places listing. But when they get to your website, if they come from the Local Places listing to your website, you want to make sure that it’s clear and you do service Katy. ‘Cause if they click Katy, again a suburb of Houston, Katy plumber, they end up on the local places and then they go to your website and all it says is Houston or some suburb that’s kind of far away, that’s going to be a bounce.
Chris: Because again, that continuity isn’t there. I searched Houston plumber, I want to see that term on every page I go —
Paul: Somewhere along that page.
Chris: — until I pick up the phone.
Paul: Yeah. So, you definitely want to have it. Next, pretty much the same thing, you want to be including city and state places – excuse me, including city and state in the Places landing page title tags.
The reason I even bring this up, yeah, you need to do it. It’s not going to affect your Places listing that much, but you should do it. Now, I never — this is — the reason I wanted to bring this up, I never even thought about changing the title tags of your Places page URL. That’ not something I even considered doing. One, I didn’t even know if it was possible —
Chris: Yeah. You can have them land somewhere else —
Paul: — to do that. Oh wait, this is your landing page. I’m thinking —
Chris: Off of the Places page.
Paul: — about the Places page.
Chris: Yeah. It’s the landing page.
Paul: Okay. Off of your Places page URL.
Chris: … Google Places listing.
Paul: Okay, yeah, you want to do it. Don’t spend a ton of time on this. It’s just good practice. But do it. Number next, including local area phone number on your Places landing page. I think again that’s self-explanatory. You should do it.
Chris: And a good idea, yeah.
Paul: It’s not going to move you from the position ten to position one, but you should do it. Next again, it says having a URL that contains a product or service keyword. Yes, it’s good to do. It’s not going to affect your Places page that much, your ranking for your Places.
Chris: Google Local Places. It’s interesting does this really — I mean, it starts talking about kind of fundamental internet marketing and what we talked about, which is okay, step one, make a good website. Step two, get that website on the first page of Google and get traffic to that website potentially through whatever, Yelp, CitySearch, Google Local Places. And step three, make sure that when that traffic arrives, they either — they first find what they’re looking for, what they’ve been looking for through the duration of their search and then to guide them so that they interact with you. You know, make it clear and obvious how to — pick up the phone and call you.
Chris: How to fill out a form, maybe get a white paper, some article you’ve written, and make sure you’ve got some unique components on that particular page that cause to take action; unique selling proposition, calls to action. And make sure that you’ve got good credibility so that they’ll actually take action.
Paul: Yeah. I think that definitely is a good way to go. Okay, next. This says having a URL that contains a location keyword, basically, Geotargeted. You know, houstonplumber.com. Yes, good practice to have. I think with the way that domains are being sold these days, that’s going to be difficult.
Paul: Houstonplumber.com, I don’t know. I’m not even going to check, it’s got to be taken.
Chris: Or there’s a — at the same point though, you probably have the option of Houston-plumber-.
Paul: You’re giving away all our secrets.
Chris: Oh yeah.
Paul: [Laughs] ‘Cause I know that’s not taken.
Paul: I looked it up.
Chris: Or, you know, houstonplumbers-something, you know, -inc.
Chris: Or whatever.
Paul: Next. Page rank–
Chris: Did I just give another secret?
Paul: Yeah. [Laughs]
Chris: My bad.
Paul: The page rank —
Chris: We’ll erase that. If we edited this, you wouldn’t be here.
Paul: Yeah, really. The page rank of your homepage of your highest ranked page.
Chris: All right, all right.
Paul: That’s it.
Chris: This sounds like we’ve got to get a little more expertise out here —
Chris: — to help us out with this one ’cause I don’t even know what that means.
Chris: Let’s see if we can peel Charles away from the chat on UStream and get him over here to help us out.
Paul: Yes. What this is referring to is, okay, the page rank of your homepage or the highest-ranked page in your website, how does that affect your Local Places listing.
Chris: All right, Chuck.
Charles: All right, with the hard questions.
Chris: Yeah, exactly.
Paul: So let me get your take over this, Chuck.
Chris: Before we get the hard question, any Super Bowl commercial that kind of stood out for you?
Charles: Oh, the Wendy’s commercial.
Chris: The Wendy’s commercial, Oh yeah, what does yours taste like?
Paul: What does yours taste like? Pop!
Charles: They should’ve put the taste, I don’t know.
Chris: I think they listen to our podcasts. Punch your customer in the face. Look at that.
Paul: That is true.
Chris: Look at that.
Charles: Well I will say this since we’re talking about it and we’ll get back to that. Did you enjoy the Super Bowl ads with violence?
Chris: Yes, yes! Yeah, Roseanne Barr, My back hurts. Whack!
Charles: Pepsi Max hitting people with cans.
Paul: Yeah, I thought it was a little violent.
Chris: You know, that’s the influence of YouTube, right? Because every good YouTube video has a —
Chris: A chick falling into a fountain or somebody.
Charles: I thought it was just a sign of America.
Paul: Yeah, because that’s what we want to see. Yeah.
Chris: Let’s be honest. As you’re walking out around the world and bumping into morons, you just want to slap them.
Paul: And I think it’s funny. I’m like, that was easy.
Chris: And then laugh. And then hope somebody videotapes it and gets it on YouTube and then it goes viral. That’s the hope anyway.
Paul So, what do you think? Is it important, Chuck, to have… You know, how important is it to have the highest — or how much effect does the page rank have on your Places listing?
Charles: How much effect does the page rank over your site —
Paul: Of your —
Charles: — have —
Charles: — with your Places listing?
Charles: I would say some sort of effect. I’m not sure if it’s overly important.
Charles: I mean, because they’re two separate listings. The Places listing is more local-based, right?
Charles: And so if your site is a local site based on one of those maybe local domain names you were talking about a few moments ago —
Charles: — then it probably has a better rank. It probably has more impact. But if you’re doing something on a national scale and you’re trying to, you know, use Local for local offices or whatever, I’m not – I don’t think it will have that much effect —
Paul: That’s exactly the right answer.
Charles: –at all.
Paul: Yes, it’s important, but — yeah.
Chris: And it goes back to you can place well without a website.
Charles: That’s right.
Chris: I believe that’s a page rank of zero when you don’t have a website.
Paul: You don’t have website.
Charles: ‘Cause we see a lot of sites with a page rank of zero.
Chris: Yeah. Even after you make them, they can still be zero.
Paul: The next one I thought was cool because it kind of opened up my eyes. It says providing a KML file for your location. So instantly, I’m like, what is —
Chris: What is KML?
Paul: –KML file? The way I kind of understand it is it’s kind of like a —
Paul: Sitemap for your website, but really it’s like — it does what a sitemap does for your website, but more for your address. It kind of helps Google find where you are, but is more beneficial, support places like Chili’s, Subway, that have multiple locations all over the country.
Paul: Basically, one woman said, “Try the KML file for your domain. It’s definitely recommended for a business with numerous locations in order to provide search engines with trusted and accurate information” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If you don’t have multiple locations —
Chris: It’s not a key. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of KML.
Paul: Me neither. That’s why I’m on the internet like, what is KML. [Laughs]
Charles: Yeah, if you have several different locations, you know. Like, usually it’s restaurants.
Charles: You know, franchises or something like that that’ll benefit from that.
Paul: Next —
Chris: We learn something new every day.
Paul: Yeah. The page rank of your Places landing page URL. One, I didn’t know that Places land — oh excuse me.
Chris: Yeah, that’s the —
Paul: I didn’t say that. [Laughs] I think I said it.
Chris: I know why didn’t say it twice.
I’m thinking of your Places listings URL.
Chris: Where –
Paul: Basically –
Chris: What is that, versus the site? What was the last one? Page rank of homepage —
Paul: Of your —
Chris: — or highest-ranked page and then… Okay, so we can definitely say the page rank of the highest-ranked page probably has nothing to do with it. The page rank of the Places, your landing —
Charles: Of your Places, Google Places.
Chris: Landing page.
Charles: — landing page.
Chris: So when you click to your site, you have a particular page potentially.
Charles: And you can list the homepage.
Chris: Yes. And apparently you can change it.
Charles: Yeah, I mean you can change it.
Charles: You can change it.
Chris: So now, they’re saying what’s the importance of your highest page rank — of the page on your website with the highest page rank and what’s the importance of the actual landing page that you send traffic to from your Google Local Places listing.
Charles: I think —
Chris: And I think the highest doesn’t matter and the landing doesn’t matter much.
Charles: I think the rank of the page is irrelevant at this point. I think —
Charles: –I think the page that they land on is more important.
Charles: Right. Not the rank of it, but does that page covert them.
Paul: I completely agree. So, yeah, yeah. Kind of important, but whatever. Next, I feel the same way about the next two. The coding address on the website in hCard microformat. Again, I’m like –
Chris: hCard micro.
Paul: — What is hCard microformat? I’m Googling with my fingers in case you can’t see me. I was like whatever. Here’ what someone — Tom Crandall says, “I believe this is the best practice for local search optimization, but I am not convinced it is currently powerful optimization tactics for Places pages.”
Chris: I like this one, “I wish it mattered. I have yet to see it help.”
Paul: Yeah [Laughs]
Chris: So this is somebody who’s actually investigated.
Chris: Hey, maybe this will help and it doesn’t.
Paul: And the next one says, the Who-is record associated with your domain, Mike Blumenthal, whatever, says, “It’s a trust factor, but does not affect your rank.”
Charles: Blumen — whatever.
Charles: Yeah, thank God.