I’m not one to brag (really, you can ask anyone who knows me!).
But this is just too good not to share so please excuse my having a little fun with it!
Here’s the setup:
A recent study about how people find local businesses shows that people now use search engines more than any other method to locate a local business. Clearly if you own a local business, you need to figure out how to get high visibility in the search engines or you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
So how do you get that visibility?
There are a number of ways, but we’re going to take a look at a local search query in Google because if you haven’t heard by now, Google dominates the search engine market.
If you do search for “st louis auto repair” in Google you’ll notice at the very top of the search results is an area that says “Local business results for auto repair near St. Louis, MO.”
To the left you’ll see a map of the St. Louis region and to the right you’ll see a listing of 10 local businesses.
These results are also known as the “Google 10-Pack” and, since they’re the first thing a searcher sees on the search results page, are extremely important.
But it gets even better for the 10-Pack. If you were to do a search for just plain old “auto repair,” Google will determine where your computer is located and still put the 10-Pack, with local business listings, near the top of the search results. I say near the top because if you don’t use a geo-qualifier like “St. Louis” with your results, the 10-Pack appears after the first few organic search results.
The bottom line is if you can get your local business to the top of the 10-pack, you get a ton of visibility from locals looking for local companies to do business with.
So a few months ago my friend, expert Internet marketer and Likeability Guy Bob Sommers shared a story with me about helping a local spa in Maui get to the top of the 10-Pack. It was a small spa yet was able to beat out the likes of the Ritz Carlton and Four Season Hotel spas.
That got me thinking about whether I could get my local St. Louis Internet marketing business, Words That Click, to the top of the 10-Pack.
Now I’m not an SEO guy. My specialty is AdWords and pay per click. But I decided to devote a little bit of time to see if I could at least get in the top 10 on the Google Local Search 10-Pack.
First I did some keyword research and decided to target the phrases “St. Louis Internet Marketing” and “St. Louis Online Marketing.”
Next I tried to find myself in the local listing for those terms. I wasn’t on the first page, or the second, or the third, or . . . well, let’s just say I gave up trying to find myself after reaching page 10.
So I talked with Bob to get some ideas, modified my local business listing in Google, changed some things around on my web site and noticed I started inching higher and higher.
Then last week, I made a few minor tweaks and all of a sudden I jumped from page 2 for “St. Louis online marketing” and page 3 for “St. Louis internet marketing” to the #1 spot on the #1 page of the local business results for BOTH those keywords!
That’s right, I beat out all the other local firms that do SEO for a living at their own game and I have the screen shots to prove it.
Now, getting there is one thing, I’m sure staying there will be more of a challenge as the SEO firms take aim at me. In fact, my friend Michael Slawin who runs hitsthatclick.com – and, despite what he tells me, TOTALLY ripped off my company name – has already taken back the top spot for “st. louis online marketing” and bumped me to the #2 spot.
But I’m still #1 for St. Louis internet marketing and am enjoying all this for as long as it lasts!
But more important than my own ego is the take away for you . . . if a lowly PPC guy who has little experience in SEO can get his business ranked at the top of the Local Business Listings in a little over a month in an industry full of SEO specialists . . . what’s stopping you from taking the top ranking in the 10-Pack for your local business?
It’s said the one-eyed king rules the land of the blind. And most local business owners are still in the dark when it comes to local search.
This presents a great opportunity for local business owners who take a little bit of time and effort to position themselves in front of the prospects most of their competitors are missing out on.
Oh, and if you’d like some help or advice on getting your local business to the top of the 10-Pack, let’s talk!
Update: Well my time at the top was short-lived. Find out what happened and find out about the important reminder I got about the difference between SEO and PPC.
- Google Local Search Update: Lowly PPC Guy Gets A Big Slap And An Important Reminder
- A Seismic Shift on Google for Local Searches
- Google Maps Marketing: The Quick, Critical (and Free) Step 88% of Local Business Owners Have Missed
- The 4 Ingredients For Effective Search Engine Optimization
- Tag Your Local Business Listing in Google