The truth is that local search visibility helps to drive organic search visibility and revenue. While there are many ways to improve your website’s ranking in Google and other search engines, claiming and optimizing your business listings is one of the most effective and low-hanging fruit strategies.
Most people are familiar with Google My Business, but dozens of other local directories exist where you can (and should) list your business. Not only does this help people find you, it also signals to search engines that your business is local and relevant.
To get the most out of your local business listings, be sure to include the following:
Always use your real business name or the name you want customers to search for. Nicknames, abbreviations, and acronyms can confuse customers and search engines alike.
If your business is a franchise or has multiple locations, you might also want to include the location in the title (e.g., “Joe’s Pizzeria – Boston”).
You might want to list each practitioner separately if you are running a multi-practitioner business such as a law firm or medical practice.
If your business is in a container location (such as a restaurant inside a food court), you might want to include the name of the container location (e.g., “Avenue A – Unit 12”).
To be considered a local business, you need a physical address. This can’t be a P.O. box or virtual office. Google (and other directories) use your address to determine your location and show it on a map.
If you have more than one location, you will need to create a separate listing for each one. If you are running a service-area business (SAB), you don’t need to include your home address, but you will need to list the areas you serve.
For instance, a landscaping company that serves the Boston area might list their address as “Boston, MA.”
Your business listing should include a phone number so customers can easily call you. If you have multiple locations, each one should have its own listing with a unique phone number.
If you are running a SAB, you can use a service like Google Voice to create a single phone number that forwards calls to your various locations.
Take time to develop a well-written, keyword-rich description of your business. This is your chance to tell potential customers what you do, what makes you unique, and why they should choose you.
Make sure your description is compelling and make use of relevant keywords for both people and search engines. You should also include a call to action (CTA) such as “Call today for a free consultation!”
For example, if you are a plumber in Boston, your business description might read:
“Joe’s Plumbing is a full-service plumbing company serving the Greater Boston area. We are licensed and insured, and we offer 24/7 emergency service. We are known for our quality workmanship, fair pricing, and friendly service. Call us today for a free consultation!”
Let customers know when you are open for business! Include your regular hours and any special hours (e.g., holiday hours, extended hours, etc.). If you have multiple locations or practitioners with different hours, be sure to list them all.
Include the full URL of your website so customers can easily find you online. If you have multiple locations, each one should have its own listing with a unique website URL.
If you don’t have a website, consider creating a simple one using a platform like WordPress or Wix. You can also create a free business listing on Google My Business (which also gives you a basic website).
Images and Videos
Make your listing stand out with images and videos! Customers are more likely to choose a business with visuals, so take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your products, services, and facility.
You can also use video to give potential customers a virtual tour of your business or an overview of your services.
Choose the most relevant categories for your business. Google My Business allows you to choose up to five categories, so make sure you select the ones that best describe what you do.
For example, if you are a pizzeria, you might select “Pizza Restaurant,” “Italian Restaurant,” and “Delivery Restaurant.”
Attributes are special features you can add to your listing to give customers more information about your business. For example, you should select the “Free Wi-Fi” attribute if you offer free Wi-Fi.
Not all attributes will be relevant to your business, so only select the ones that apply.
Reviews and Ratings
Google allows customers to leave reviews and ratings for businesses, so encourage your happy customers to write a review! Good reviews and high ratings will help you stand out from the competition and attract new customers.
To get started, claimed your business listing on Google My Business and fill out as much information as possible. Then, start promoting your listing to your customers and encourage them to leave reviews.
If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, you can create one for free. Just go to business.google.com and click “Start now.”
A well-crafted business listing can help customers learn about your company and what you have to offer.
By including all of the information listed above, you can make sure that potential customers have everything they need to know to do business with you.
Have you tried including a video or image on your business listing? What has been the response so far? Let us know in the comments below!