Had you noticed? Google has changed the way it shows search results for local areas. This is great news for local businesses – particularly those who are smart enough to take advantage of this new feature now.
In this article, you can learn how to make sure you’re included in your area’s free listing and also how to get a better placement.
Google Local Business Search Provides High Visibility in the Search Results
If you search for a business related term and include a location (ie “plumbers auckland”), the results will look a bit different from what you got in the past. Instead of jumping straight into ‘organic’ search results after the paid adverts, it now shows a map of the local area and up to 10 business in that area.
It also immediately displays the company names, website addresses, phone numbers and an indication of any customer reviews. This is great exposure!
A customer can also get direction stright to you by clicking on the map to jump intoGoogle Maps mode.
As you can see, if your business gets listed prominently on Google local search results, you will usually appear before businesses competing to be number 1 in the organic search results. This can bring you many new clients every month.
How to Get Listed in Google Local Business Center
Adding your listing to Google Local Business search results is very easy. Just follow these step by step instructions and your listing could be online within 48 hours.
Step 1: Log in
- Navigate to http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter
- Log into your Google account (or create one if you need to)
- Click “Add new business” button
Step 2: Create Your Listing
- Enter your Country, Company/Organization name, Street Address, City, etc.
- Add your Phone, Email address, Website address and Description.
- On the right a preview window will display your listing and location.
- After you have entered your information click the “Next” button.
Step 3: Add or Claim Your Listing
The next step is to “Add” or “Claim” your listing. If Google already has a listing for your business, you will have the option claiming the current listing or adding the listing you just entered.
In this example, this is a new company, so I’d click the “Add Listing” option.
To claim the listing, click “Claim” and follow the instructions. Google will verify your listing by calling the phone number you entered. Answer the phone and type in the pin number listed on the screen.
You can also verify your listing by having Google send a postcard with your pin number to your address. Follow the verification instructions on the postcard. It’s not junk mail, so don’t throw it away!
Step 4: Add Some “Flair” to Your Listing
Once your listing has been verified, you will be able to provide additional information. Be sure to add the Category of your business, your Hours of Operation, Payment options, additional Details (such as parking instructions, etc.)
Add some flair to your listing too! Google Maps will allow you to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos.
Note: Once you connect your listing to your Google account, you can log into the Google Business Center any time to edit your listing and add photos or videos.
The result of a well-optimized Google Local business listing is top positioning on Google and the Google Maps system with a personalised listing including your business name, address and contact information.
Step 5: Optimize Your Listing to Get to the Top of the List
Google gathers business information from numerous websites (online Yellow Pages directories, and other sources) to populate Google search results. Yes, you can easily enter your business information into the Google Local Business Center for free, but to be listed at the top of the list you’ll need to optimise it. This is similar to Search Engine Optimization in that you’ll need to get your website listed on other local websites and databases to rank highly.
Tips for Optimising Your Google Local business Listing
Think Locally – Having a business location in the CENTER of town helps you get to the top of the list. The closer your office is to the center of your city, the higher your listing is usually positioned on the Google Maps list.
A search for “plumbers auckland” is more likely to show results in central Auckland, rather than an outlying subburb. Google’s result “pins” on the map start at the centre and radiate outwards.
Get listed in other local directories. Local Search Engines like Google compile and display their Local/Maps results by gathering details about local businesses by crawling and parsing data from other online websites, directories and databases.
Having listings with the local online “Yellow Pages” can (and usually does) cause your listing to be placed higher on the list giving you more exposure and website traffic. So, get your website listed in the local “Yellow Pages” and local directories like these below.
If you’re in New Zealand:
- Yellow Pages – http://www.yellowpages.co.nz
- Findaa – http://www.finda.co.nz
- New Sealand Search – http://www.nzs.com
- UBD – http://www.ubd.co.nz
Or for the US:
- SuperPages.com – http://www.superpages.com
- YellowPages.com (AT&T) – http://www.yellowpages.com
- Local.com – http://www.local.com
- CitySearch.com – http://www.citysearch.com
- 10Best.com – http://www.10best.com
- Allmenus.com – http://www.allmenus.com
- ChefMoz.com – http://www.chefmoz.com
- DiningGuide.com – http://www.diningguide.com
Research Your competition
Competitive research can help you find out which local databases are helping your competitors get higher listings than you. To view a list of your competitor’s in-bound links:
- Go to www.google.com
- Type “link:www.YourCompetitor.com” (without the quotes) into the search box.
- Click Search and you’ll be presented with a list of websites and directories that link to your competitor’s website. Look for local-oriented directories and Yellow Page directories and consider getting listed in them as well.
Warning – Don’t SPAM Google!
Google will delete listings of businesses that “SPAM” their system by submitting inaccurate information. Google now has Local Business Center Guidelines to let you know what is and what is NOT allowed in your Google listing. Google’s new guidelines include the following:
- Represent your business exactly as it appears in real life.
- List information that provides as direct a path to your business as you can.
- Only include listings for businesses that you represent.
- Don’t participate in any behavior with the intention (or result) of listing your business more times than it exists. Service area businesses, for example, should not create a listing for every town they service.
- Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business’s title or address fields.
Google Local Business Search is a great way to make it easy for your customers to find you so you can build your business. If you have a business that caters to local customers in your city or town, add your free listing on Google and optimise it.
Need help with your Google listing?
If you’d just like someone to do your listing for you, or would like to get serious and start using Google Adwords to reel in those new customers, give me (chris) a call on +64 9 8455-105 or or send me a message.