Ranking in the Google “Snack Pack” (which is the block of 3 listings that show up for geo-located local services queries – that require your business to be located in the specific region) – is a key advantage if you’re selling locally and want to show local physical presence.
However, not every small business is has the funds to setup offices in different cities although they may be able to serve that region.
For example – if you have a product or a service that a person can see on your website or learn more about over the phone and that you can deliver to them no matter where they are located in your country or state… then you might be stumped in figuring out how to get local presence in the various cities – so you can then proceed to get a Google Local verification done via the postcard in mail method, and then go on to do local SEO to rank your listing for keyword search queries in that region.
There are a few nifty alternate methods that you can use (but they do cost a little bit of money).
However, you will make up the cost in no time and you can boast of a national presence to your potential customers – which is well worth it if you want to have a growing business!
A quick note
Before I write about my method, I want to make a note saying that I’ve seen people posting on forums that you can get a P.O. Box and then forward the mail to your address so you can verify the PIN that Google Local sends you. However, this method does not work anymore as Google has stopped allowing P.O. Box addresses for Google Local verification.
With that said, lets get to the method…
Reach Out to Students Living in the City
Before you start scratching your head – it really IS as simple as it sounds!
Simply head over to websites, groups, forums of University, College, Schools in the region – and message a student or make a post that your are willing to pay $20 (or whatever amount you feel is good) to a student for doing 5 minutes of work!
Once they get in touch with you – spell out what you need done. That is, tell them you need to use their address to get a Google Local verification post card done.
Be very clear to them that it won’t jeopardize anything related to their house or any such thing.
Tell them you are doing it purely for SEO purposes and that you want to just get a listing in the Google+Local snack pack. Maybe show them a screenshot too.
You could make a standard PDF / template that you can then share with all people you reach out to, so you don’t have to keep explaining things over and again.
That’s it. Job done! Simple no?
Other Websites To Look for Local People
You could also check out CraigsList page for that region and see if you can find someone willing to help.
You can reach out to people who are renting rooms on AirBNB (or other similar services) and will be open to doing this. Since they are looking for additional income, this could be something they are open to doing.
You could also visit a site like roomster.com
and contact people in the region show are looking to share rooms with others.
Sometimes, Fiverr may work – but you will need to hunt out your location. Usually, someone selling a service for $5 or $20 on Fiverr will be open to making some small change for little work and they may be acquainted with the Google+Local process.
Alternate Fairly Expensive Whitehat Method
To execute this method, you will simply need to rent a office desk from one of the many “business centers” that rent out office space to people and will give you an address box along with it (perhaps with a Suite # in it). This option is expensive and it could cost as much as $100 to $300 in some cities. Some business centers will let you simply take a virtual suite number and a secretary who answers your calls (to a specific number assigned to you) and also forwards all incoming mail to your main address. If this option is available it would come with a reduced price as you are not reserving any “desk space”.
All in all, the trick here is to look for sites with regional sections and having people who are looking to make a quick buck for little work.
Bonus Trick To Get Reviews and Boost Your Local Rankings
Once you have your Google Local listing verified, you may want to get some reviews from locals. You can rinse and repeat the above process again only this time asking them to visit your Google Local listing from their mobile phone (when they are in your location) and leave a review.
If you want to really scale it up (but be careful not to trigger a filter if you go voerboard with this too fast) – you could make a posting a micro task on a site like MechanicalTurk (MTurk), Microworkers, or any other micro task oriented website.
If you have any tips to share, please drop a comment below! Over to you…