Google’s focus on local business has resulted in a dramatic change in search results compared to the past. This really levels the playing field for small businesses that now have an advantage over national competitors – a local address.
Local search is one of the most powerful tools for increasing awareness and generating leads. Google says that 97% of consumers search for local business online so it’s key to be there. It is also really easy to set up and FREE!
Here’s how to do it
If you haven’t already got one then you’ll need to create a Google account for your business, you’ll need this to claim your listing but also to make any changes and updates to your listing. I would recommend creating an account that is related to your business rather than personal so I would go with something simple like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then all you need to do is go to Google Places where there are clear directions on how to build your page.
Your Google listing essentially includes details of your business – contact details etc and also a category listing i.e. what type of business it is, but you can also add photos and videos.
Remember if you have different business locations you can create a listing for each, it’s also beneficial to provide a local telephone number for maximum impact. If you have
multiple specialities in the same office you can create a listing for your office and a separate listing for each practitioner. Make sure that the business information you
provide is consistent with that on your website.
Google places categories should say what your business is, not what it provides. Get as specific as you can within categories. Say you have a book shop, try to choose a specific category like ”comic books”, “used book store”, “new books”, or “rare and antique books”.
Complete your listing
Make sure you complete your Google places listing. So many businesses go half-way and provide the bare minimum but a thorough, complete Google places listing will rank better and provide a better user experience. This means photos, videos, coupons – Google allows you to include a lot of information and remember: It’s ALL FREE.
Verify your Google listing
Google will give you the option to verify your listing by phone or by postcard. You’ll be given a pin number which you will need to enter for your listing to go live.
Ask customers for reviews
Customers can add reviews to your Google business listing, and obviously positive ones are a powerful factor for users in deciding which business to contact.