Do you want to come up on the first page of a Google search? For a lot of businesses the competition for their main keyword phrase is so steep that it can be difficult to rank on page one in the organic search results. That’s where having a Google Local Business Listing comes in handy.
Businesses that work with or service customers at an actual location can get a Google+ Listing which has a good chance of coming up on a Google Map and can appear in a Google search above the organic listings. How great is that?
My husband and I have a loft bed and breakfast in Atlanta. One evening a man named Jim, was in town from Chicago on business, and taking clients to dinner at the steakhouse down the street.
When Jim checked Google Maps for directions to the restaurant, our Bed and Breakfast listing also popped up. Since he had work in Atlanta that required him to be here for several days most weeks, he liked the idea of staying someplace called the Urban Oasis rather than an anonymous hotel.
Jim checked our Google +Local listing, then went to our website and made a reservation. This ended up with him making a standing reservation for three days a week, for well over a year. We were all sad when Jim’s Atlanta project ended. 🙁
That is the power of a Google + Local Listing.
If you don’t already have a listing set up for your local business, or you set up an account several years ago when it was called Google Local Business, it is time to claim and verify your business online, or update the account you have in order to start getting results.
You may find that Google has already created a barebones business listing. They do this to provide some general information about your business that they get from other websites. This allows them display relevant businesses on Google Maps, and lets people using Google maps and searches to access the listings and write reviews.
These business listings have a confusing history. Last year, Google launched Google My Business creating the new Google+ Local Pages. This new listing essentially merged what had been called Google Places (now called Google+ Local) with a Google+ Business Page.
Adding a Google+ Local Business Page gives us the ability to add a lot more information about our businesses than before. Now you can add photos, videos and updates about our business. Google then pulls all of our business information together to let people connect with us whether they’re doing a Search, checking a Map or going to our Google+ Page.
To get all of the benefits, you need to create a Google+ Page for your business and then merge it with your Google+ Listing. Go to Google My Business and sign in with your Google account or get a Google account to start the process.
Some tips to optimizing your listing:
- Make sure you are setting up a Google + Local Page rather than just a Google+ Business Page
- If your business only services people at their location you can still have a Google+ Local page. You can set up a service area and your business address will not appear on your page – just the city and state.
- Fill out the profile accurately with as many details as possible.
- Be consistent with the name of your business. Refer to your business in the same way in all of the places it appears online.
- Use photos and videos both on the listing and on your Google+ Page.
- Encourage your customers to write a review for your business.
- From a marketing standpoint, this is beneficial as it enables you to include posts, videos and build a following on Google + while displaying your business’ local information to potential customers.
- Get your Google+ Page and use it for marketing to post updates, photos and videos and to increase followers.
- Google improves search ranking results by aggregating the information about your business from sources all over the web including your website, social media accounts and anyone that is writing about your business.
- Verify your Google + Local page. Google makes a simple unclaimed and unverified Local page for businesses.