The best way to explain Google Local is by using it. If you Google “italian restaurant chicago” you’ll see at the top the 10 local businesses that fit your search phrase. These are results not from the regular Google database, but rather a separate one – the Google Local Business directory. Best of all – they always appear at the very top, and they’re FREE.
Note that not all search terms will give you search results in Google Local. For example if you were to Google “italian restaurant hampton” you won’t see any Local results. That’s simply because the traffic isn’t high enough to warrant any listings.
We highly recommend adding your organization to Google Local, even if you don’t see any Local results when you search. The reason we still recommend it is because Google Local is tied to Google Maps. If you go to Google Maps and search for “italian restaurant hampton” then you’ll see results. So go ahead and add your organization.
How to get listed?
It’s easy to get listed – just go to Google.com/LocalBusinessCenter and submit your information. All you need is a Google account. You will get a call or postcard from Google verifying your information but it’s fairly straightforward.
I submitted my business. How do I get listed on the first page?
There are several things you can do to help your listing rank higher. Of course there’s no guarantee that you will be on the first page. No one is really sure of the exact formula that Google uses, but here are some suggestions that will most likely help.
1. Include a good keyword in your organization name. Example: Say you’re targeting the search phrase “chicago children’s books”. Don’t tell Google your organization is “Paul’s Bookstore”, tell Google that your business is “Paul’s Bookstore Children’s Books”. It doesn’t matter if that’s not your legal business name. By adding that key phrase, you’re helping Google find your listing.
2. Include good keywords in your description. Same as above, but apply it to the description of your organization. Remember that you are writing for humans AND search engines. So don’t just list keywords, but also make sure you include them in your writing.
3. Put your address and phone number on every page of your website. This is helpful both for users on your website as well as Google Local. Make sure you use your local number, not just your 800 number. Also a P.O. Box does not help, use your physical street address. Here’s an example of a website that does this.
4. Have a Directions/Locations page on your website. This is helpful, unless of course you are a home based business and cannot have foot traffic. Give directions in plain English, with good descriptions. Again, this will help your regular search engine traffic as well as the search engine crawlers.
By the way…don’t have a website? See our web design services, including help with submitting your site to Google Local.
5. Upload a few photos. Google seems to place higher ranking on business listings that include photos. At the very least upload your logo and a couple pictures of your building or products. There is no guarantee that this will help, but it can’t hurt. At the very least it will look nice to real users.
6. Create a page on your website where you list your areas served. Like several of the suggestions I’ve mentioned, this will be helpful for real users also. In fact this might even help your organic search results.
Hopefully these steps will get you started with Google Local. Don’t forget to check it occasionally once you submit your business to see where you fall in the rankings. And if you need any help with Google, your website optimization, or any other internet marketing services, come visit us at Fresh Look Web Design and we’ll be glad to give you some help.