Best Practices for Handling Clients’ Local Business Accounts

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

I’m putting this out as a general question. When we get a new client and set about registering them in Google’s LBC, we are creating an individual account for them, filling out their information, and then dealing with the whole phone call/pin number thing while having the client sit by the phone, waiting for Google to call.

Is there a better way to handle this? Is there a way for a webmaster to control multiple accounts as one might do in Analytics?

It doesn’t seem possible, because of the verification process. Google is going to be sending those postcards or making those phone calls and wants to talk to the business owner, presumably, not the webmaster, despite the fact that we are authorized to be in control of the account.

I am curious, is this how other Local SEOs are handling this? Is there some simpler way to do this that I’m not thinking of? I’d appreciate hearing about your experiences.

Thanks, all!

6 Responses to “Best Practices for Handling Clients’ Local Business Accounts”

  1. on 26 Feb 2008 at 11:30 am David Mihm

    Miriam, I handle this the same way: schedule a time with the clients where you know they’re going to be by the phone for 5 minutes. Then, give yourself ~15 minutes to set up the account with a good headline, description, categories, etc., and call the client with the PIN # right before you hit ‘finish.’

  2. on 26 Feb 2008 at 7:15 pm DonB

    It’s gratifying to see another SEOer wrestle with this problem. There’s no easy way around it — Google assumes the business owner, not a consultant/agency, is adding the Local listing.

    Have you also had the experience of Google’s sales force contacting your clients directly, asking them to pay Google for AdWords optimization help? Several of our PPC clients have received such calls, which is more evidence that Google really wishes SEOers were not in their way.

  3. on 27 Feb 2008 at 12:03 am admin

    Hi David –
    Well, it looks like one by one may have to be the solution for the present.

    I appreciate you telling me this is how you do this, David. I wondered if we were being clunky in our handling of that.

    I called Yahoo!’s Local number today (what a difference a phone number makes!) because I had a question about one of our client’s listings, and while on the phone I thought to ask them what their policy is regarding a webmaster controlling multiple local accounts through a single Yahoo ID. They said that would be just fine, and that they have many users who do this.

    So, that’s good to know it’s within their TOS to take that route.

  4. on 27 Feb 2008 at 12:14 am admin

    Dear DonB,
    Welcome to the SEOigloo, and I’m glad you found the above post heartening. It’s good to find you’re in the same boat with peers, eh?

    Regarding Adwords, this hasn’t happened to any of our own clients, but I have definitely read about this on other colleagues’ blogs. Unfortunately, I’ve heard tales of this not working out too well – having an Adwords rep managing the campaign as opposed to having it managed by an independent consultant. People have accused Google of going for their own maximum profits, though I certainly can’t vouch for the veracity of such claims.

    If you’ve got happy clients, hopefully they will stick with you and not be lured away by a Google rep.

    It’s an interesting question – what Google’s true opinion is regarding SEOs and their place in the scheme of things. Google has made real efforts to reach out to the SEO community…think about how Matt Cutts shows up at so many of the conferences.

    Industry outsiders accuse SEOs of trying to game the search engine system, when, in fact, I have always considered the work we do with websites as getting them into webmaster guidelines compliance.

    I think Google gets that and it doesn’t come from them that you hear SEOs being called spammers, really.

    That being said, I can certainly believe they’d rather have their own reps controlling the real money part of their system – Adwords. But that’s a whole different ballgame.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and share your experiences here, DonB, and will hope to see you again.
    Miriam

  5. on 27 Feb 2008 at 9:57 pm Will Scott

    Hi Miriam,

    a. Like you, I’m sure, we set up individual Gmail accounts for clients to own their own Analytics, LBC and / or Adwords

    b. We often set up call tracking #s for those customers who convert offline. This allows us to take the PIN call for staging then redirect for production. (** I need to finish that offline conversion post darn it).

    c. When applicable, bulk upload. It doesn’t require the validation.

    It would be fab if you could manage accounts like Adwords / Analytics, we want our clients own their own (even though they never actually look at them except in our monthly reporting).

    There’s nothing worse than explaining why the old SEO set up a client domain in their own Analytics account — and that the data won’t transfer.

    Good news is we soften the blow with more website revenue :)

    Will

  6. on 28 Feb 2008 at 10:03 pm admin

    Hi Will,
    Okay, I’m feeling even more settled now about this being the way to go with this.

    I am extremely interested in reading more about your point B. I know I’m going to learn a lot from it. I really like it when your blog shows up bolded in my feedreader! I’d visit every day if you had the time to write that often.

    Miriam

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