Local listings for local people

The what, why and how of getting in the Google Local search results

Now Google are beefing up the importance of ‘local’ worldwide it’s time get serious about your listing.

Go to google.com and do a search for your business type, e.g. ‘Tackle shop’. Are you getting the ‘Local 10 pack’ (see image below)?  If you’re not getting amongst local results at the top of the page, try it with a ‘geographic modifier’ – the name of your town/city.

A local 10 pack
A local 10 pack

If you are seeing local results then Google deems those keywords indicative of a business that people are interested in local listings for and that they have results available for. Did you come up in those listings? If yes, you may still need to ‘claim your listing’ if you weren’t the person that entered it into Google Local Business Center – jump to the ‘claiming your listing’ section below. If your business doesn’t come up, search for your business name ‘Fred’s Tackle’ along with the name of your town: ‘Fred’s Tackle Brighton’ should do. If that finds you, and displays your details along with a map, then you may still need to claim your listing (and you clearly have other work to do too in optimising for keywords!)

Entering your Google Local listing, or claiming an existing one

  1. If you have a Google account, log in, if you don’t, create one – you can use your existing email address for your Google account, or set up a Gmail address.
  2. Go to Google Local Business Center and click on add new listing.
  3. Enter the details, reposition the map marker if necessary paying attention to entering a well worded description. If an existing entry exists with similar details you will be shown that and will have the option to claim that listing instead of adding a new one.
  4. Submit the details. You will now need to verify the information you have given, this is done in one of three ways
  • Google will call the number you entered as the contact number using an automated system you type in the PIN number you’re given on-screen
  • Google send an SMS to the contact number and you reply to that
  • Google send you a post card by regular mail – this takes ages and is best avoided.

Once you have verified, within a day or so your listing will start showing up.

Why claiming your listing is important

If your business is already showing up on a Google local search, but you didn’t put it there you should claim your listing. You don’t want your listing to be hijacked!

To claim a listing, look for the ‘Edit’ link. You should now see a link to ‘Claim your business’. Claiming your business is in fact the same

Flesh it out

Once you’ve got (or got control of) your listing you can upload images and link to Youtube videos – getting you further .

Give it a day or so and you should show up for those searches. If no map comes up now when you searched for your keywords, or a company name then Google probably doesn’t view your keywords to be a sufficient local trigger but you’ve not hurt your chances of coming up for relevant searches at all and if they change their minds, you’re ready for it.

Tips for success

Enter your details in as many local directory type sites as you can find, especially the free ones – Google considers these ‘citations’ – the more you have, theoretically the more relevant you are.

Keep your data consistent – address/phone number/web site across all the local directories you’re listed in – this makes Google’s life easier linking up those citations.

Encourage your happy customers to write reviews on any directory sites your business is listed on (don’t write them yourself, that’s just not playing fair!), or directly on Google itself.

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