Any local business should be easily findable in Google since many customers may use Google when they are trying to find a store or supplier. There is a Google Local Business Center, so you might think there was nothing easier than to add in your business coordinates there. Unfortunately that is not always the case. There are some distressing SMBs case studies mentioned in a Cre8asite Forum discussion. It is not just businesses that are affected. It can even happen to hospitals with much more tragic results.
Unfortunately Google does not seem to be willing to put in resources to ensure the veracity of the data. A number of people have been trying to get Google’s attention on this and the following are some of the more vocal:
Google does not have a local search facility as such. Rather within its universal search process, if Google guesses that local results might be beneficial it shows some within the total set of results. It is somewhat fuzzy in application but it presumably is the best Google can do with its fixation on a single search box. How much easier if Google followed the Yellow Pages approach, also used by its competitors, of having one box for the product/service and another for the location. Instead they go for the much more technically challenging single-box approach.
An additional way of flagging where your business is located is to use geotags on each of your web pages. This is basically the precise latitude and longitude for the location that is associated with the web page. You can find them using a Geotags locator. They can be handled invisibly using meta tags or can even be displayed on the web page if you wish. The geotags for this web page for example are 49.17467; -122.62195.
If you are not yet happy with the way the Google Local Business Center has referenced your place of business, what is the best approach for you. Rather surprisingly, the only way is to get more citations in as many other local directories as you can. Even though some of them are decidedly flaky, for example Yellow Pages, Google applies its algorithm to such questionable data. It’s not quite, Garbage In, Garbage Out, but the results might sometimes get you scratching your head..
The following is a list of references you may wish to use to maximize the chances that Google can find you correctly. They were featured in a Guide to Canadian Citations for Local Search by David Mihm.
He also added some citation sources not specific to Canada
The problem is that Google is relying on computer algorithms to handle this local data. Unfortunately there are often errors in the data that only can be corrected by a human review. Thankfully some of the above sources do have such a review process.
The CityDirect Network is particularly good in this respect. SMM BC is featured in the Langley Direct directory. This only occurred after a call from a staff member of CityDirect who verified that the business really did exist and operated out of the named location.
If your business is not yet featured in the CityDirect Network, I would highly recommend it. You can sign up via this membership link. You can have a free listing or you can pay for an enhanced listing. Once you have entered all your data, you will be called by a representative to confirm the validity of the data that you have entered. It seems to be a process that runs very smoothly.
The other bonus is that this may be a way of getting the Google local search process to get additional knowledge of where your company is located. That is indeed another major advantage. Plus you are featured in the CityDirect Network where other human visitors may find you. See you on the Map.
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- Utilizing Google Local For Your Business (unionstreetmedia.com)