So I have been optimizing allot lately for one of my clients to get them into the 10,7 and 3 box for Google local results and thought I would give back to the community.
Here are the things that I have found to be true from reading the Google local help forum and my own knowledge gathered over the last 6 months or so.
Citations: Are the number 1 thing you MUST do to get a coveted A-Z balloon for your local area. Citations are local directories that "cite" your business name along with it's address.
Despite what others say you do NOT need to be in the Axciom or infoUSA database to achieve high rankings, although I do suggest that you at least submit your business listing to these companies for further "proof" of your business' physical location.
Axciom and infoUSA are considered by many to be "the" trusted sources for business' physical locations, but typically take at least 6 months for them to verify and pass your information along to Google.
Here is a list of places that I have been using for local citations:
many local yellow page type sites, e.g. cityname business directories
Some, but not all of these sites also allow you to drop links back to your site as well. My current favorite is merchantcircle.
Reviews are the juice that propels your site higher in the local rankings with all other things being equal.
Good reviews as well as negative reviews (at this time) can currently give you that little edge to push you into the top spots for google maps.
A complete profile helps in the sense that their is literally nothing more you can add to your profile to make it any better.
Backlinks with local specific anchor text
I have not confirmed this yet, but I suspect that backlinks with local specific anchor text to your website can help.
As an example "city keyword" or "keyword city" to your home page from a quality trusted external source.
Quick question does anybody have any info on which keyword sets would produce better results?
i.e. is "city keyword" better or is "keyword city" better or no difference?
For brand new sites here is what I have found and confirmed on my own and with speaking with Google Maps Employees on the subject.
Expect it to take 2-3 full months for a brand new site to begin ranking for your specific zipcode with all the above in place(for brand new sites).
Expect it to take 3-5 full months for Google to include reviews and citations into your Google places account with the above in place(for brand new sites).
Questions/Comments/Ideas/Suggestions are welcome.
That's All For Now,