Everyone loves free advertising – yet not many business are listed on one of the most important online business directory – Google Local. Probably because it is little understood and hidden away.
This article will take a look at
- Where you see Google Local in action
- How to sign up to Google Local
- How to get better rankings on Google Local
Where you see Google Local in action
If you were to search on Google for web design kings hill at the top of the page you will hopefully see something like the image below. You should see a nice map and listings of local businesses. If fact if your search is made up from company type and location you will normally see this type of listing.
This is an example of the Google Local data being used in the main search on Google.
If you have ever tried to find directions you may have used Google Maps. There is a map link at the top of your Google results or you can visit maps.google.com . If you enter a trade or profession in the search box you will again see companies list. This is from the Google Local Database.
Clicking on one of the business listing will show more detail about the company you have picked. This includes business hours, contact details, promotional videos, a link to your website and more importantly reviews from past customers.
If you look back to the initial example you might just make out next to the first listing it says ’3 Reviews’ while the others just say more. The 3 reviews stands out and takes someone who clicks on it directly to the review section.
How to sign up to Google Local
To get signed up at Google Local visit the Google Local Business Centre and start the sign up process. Lets go step by step through the stages. First you need to either create a Google account or if you have one sign in .
If you are creating an account the next page asks for basic information and a password…
then where you live…
Your Google account can be used on all the other google sites like Google Adwords – for paid advertising or Google Analytics – for website visitor tracking.
Once you have either created an account or logged in, you should have screen offering you the choice of add new business or upload a data file. Click on Add new business.
Next you need to complete your company information. Once you enter the postcode/zip code your business will appear on the map on the right. If the position isn’t quite right then click on the fix incorrect marker location link which is under the map. This allows you to adjust the position of the pin that is placed on the map. You will be able to drag the marker around with the mouse.
Then add business categories to your listing. Look for all that apply.
Then add opening hours if required.
Nearly there… Now tick any payment methods you accept, upload any photos or graphics. If you have a logo in electronic form upload that now.
You also have the opportunity to upload up to 5 video links from Youtube. If you do not have any videos on youtube that promote your business you need to create at least one. Easy ways to do this will appear in future articles.
Finally you need to be able to confirm your listing. You can do this my phone, sms or postcard. Whichever method you pick you will receive a PIN code to enter into your listing. The process is quickest if you use the phone or sms method but lets look at the postcard method.
Once you click submit you will either get an SMS, an automatic phone call with the PIN code or a message as follows for the postcard option.
Look out for the postcard and enter the PIN code when you get it. Simply return to the Google Local Business Centre – find your listing and enter the pin.
If you are using the other methods you will have a screen that asks for the PIN code. Enter it and save the page. Job done.
Once you have entered the PIN code it can take 3-6 weeks for your listing to appear.
How to get better rankings on Google Local
How does the listing order of business work.
As with anything from Google no one really knows 100% how it works but it seems to be based on
- distance between your business location and the searcher
- how many reviews and the quality score on the reviews
- whether your website uses the location names on the pages
- whether other sites link to you using the business type and location
- other databases they have access to
You can’t influence the first one but you can ask your happy customers to review your work. Note the reviews appear quickly but the number of reviews on the main listing takes a while to catch up. Having reviews will get your listing clicked on more and hopefully give customers confidence to contact you.
You can add your business address to every page of your website and make sure the phone number appears on the site somewhere.
You can add a page to your site mentioning local or regional towns. Such as a "here are local areas we serve" page making sure to mention the services you provide on the same page. It could also go on a frequently asked questions page under the question ‘Which areas do you cover?’
If you have any other ideas how to use Google Local or wish to share your experience of it or comment on this article please use the box below. We would love to hear from you.
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