Getting your business to show in search results on Google’s Local listings is one of the most important things you can do to promote your business. When people search for what you have to offer, you can show up front and center and even appear in the Google Maps area. The best part is these clicks are free for you.
Start with citations
The first thing you should do to get found on Google Local is share your local location information (business name, address, category, phone number, etc.) with as many relevant local directories and mapping/local sites as possible. Doing this creates citations that validate your information for the search engines.
When it comes to citations, yes, more is better. But it’s not just more citations—it’s quality citations as well.
You will want to find relevant niche directory sites and make sure you have a profile updated with the most recent information. A great starting point to help find quality local citations is here thanks to David Mihm. He has listed the most relevant citation sites by category, which can bolster your company’s efforts to build powerful citations.
What you can do for extra credit
Here are some additional ways to help your rankings:
- Get a lot of reviews. The amount of reviews does affect ranking. But the quality of the reviews (e.g., 1 star vs. 4 stars) does not affect ranking—yet.
- Get Google reviews. Third-party reviews, like Yelp, don’t affect rank as much as Google reviews do. Google gives more weight to actual Google reviews (of course!).
- Use images. Upload your business pictures and tag them with keyword-relevant descriptions (for example, “Picture of our Ft. Lauderdale Dentist Office”).
- Leverage Google+. Make sure you have your Google+ page set up. There is no clear evidence that merely having it set up helps rank, but there are indications that the following actions do help:
- When people click on your “Driving Directions”
- When people view your Google+ profile
- When people share your Google+ page
- Match your on-page with Google Maps. If you have multiple locations, create a web page for each individual location. Do not create one page that has all the locations listed or else Google will be confused.For example, if you use one page then Google may just see that you are a quality dentist with offices all over South Florida, as opposed to a dental network with offices in specific locations in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Hollywood.
- Blog locally. Blog about the local community to create on-page relevant content. There is no easier way to create a relevant local page than to discuss the local community.
The steps above don’t need to be followed exactly—in fact, if you just push out your locations with relevant profiles, then chances are you will gain ranking. But, if you still can’t capture front-page rankings in a competitive market then these steps should get you there.
That is, in short, how to get found on Google Local.