How To Get Your Business at the Top of Google Local Searches using Google’s OWN Tools

Are you a locally-based business? If so, then promoting your business in your local area is important to you, as your business relies on finding customers in your area.

You may have heard that all 3 major search engines now have local search results, and they mix them right into the normal ranking pages. Google is putting more emphasis into local search and when you search for any business local to you, so the first results that Google show, are the local ones.

If you have ever wondered how these businesses got there – and how YOU can get there, that is what I am going to show you today. You will learn how you too can get listed on there AND how to use this to your businesses advantage.  The good news it the entire process process will take about fifteen minutes from start to finish – it really is that easy!

What you need to do to make it easier for the customers to find you, is – once you have your website all set up and ready – follow the instructions below to have your website registered with Google and other search engines for the local search results.

Claim What’s Yours

If you have a business that is operating locally, claiming your local business listing in Google, Yahoo, Bing,
Yelp, and all other third-party sites is important.

To check if you’re site is already listed and to see what info the engines have about you, go to:

GetListed.org

While adding and claiming your listings it’s a bit time consuming, but it’s also important,with reports of despicable others hijacking unclaimed business listings and then (virtually) closing down the company, you want to make sure you control what’s yours.

When does a search engine show a local result?

All three major search engines – Google, Yahoo!, and MSN – now have local search results, and they mix them right into the normal ranking pages. When does a search engine show a local result? Typically, Google, Yahoo! and Live will show a local result if the city, area, or region name was used in a keyword search, for example, “new jersey cpa”, and if it’s clearly a locally-focused business. Some say search engines may also check the IP address of the searcher to see where they are, but the search engines won’t say for sure.

local-business-search-resul

Here’s what you will need to do to get listed in the local business search results

1. Register with the search engine.

Google, Yahoo and Live all have webmaster logins. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to register with each one first.

  • On Google, go to Google.com/Accounts. (If you have Google Analytics installed or a Gmail account, use Google adwords or have adsense on your website then you will already have a Google account.)
  • On Yahoo, go to Yahoo.com and set up a ‘my Yahoo’ account.
  • On MSN, go to Webmaster.Live.Com
  • Follow the instructions there.

    Fill out all the required information. That gets you an account so that you can add or edit local listings.

    2. Add/edit your listing

    • On Google, go to Google.com/local/add. Or go to Google maps and choose put your business on Google Maps http://maps.google.com/. Once you’ve clicked on that you will be taken to Google Local Business Center.
    You want to click on Add New Business and you will be taken to the next screen where you fill in the country you live in, business name, street address including zip code/post code, contact telephone number, email address, website address and business description. You will also get to add your business to up to 5 categories.

    As you fill in your address you will see the map on the right hand side close into your actual business location!
    googlelocalbusiness1

    Next you need to fill in the details about your business, such as hours of operation, payment options, and adding photos. You can upload up to 10 photos for your business, such as your business logo, a photo of yourself or your
    business storefront, and even better, photos of your products to showcase them.

    Once you have saved all this information and moved to the next screen you will see that Google will call you to give you a
    verification code. They will call you on the business phone number that you specified earlier, OR, if you prefer, if you have specified a cell number too, they will send you a text with the verification code on it and you will have this option too.

  • On Yahoo, go to listings.local.yahoo.com/account
  • On MSN, go to llc.local.live.com
  • 3. Get reviews from your customers.

    All three search engines include reviews in their local listings. More reviews definitely equals a higher ranking. So, go to your listing on each search engine and find the ‘write a review’ link. Take that link, and use a TinyURL.com or redirection plugin to change if from something like:

    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=1372510178974399184&q=secaucus+real+estate+agents&gl=us&cd=3&cad=src:ppwrev,view:text&ei=GM0TS7-ZHZngygSlr4QX&sig2=pXfQrAZG7tfEDplmfAwUug&action=open&dtab=2

    into something like this: http://yourclientwebsite/reviews or http://tinyurl.com/43s8hq.

    This will look much better.

    Then send that to all of your customers, asking them politely to leave a brief review.
    You don’t need to be shy about it. Most businesses run on referrals. Reviews are referrals that everyone can read. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many of your customers will be happy to give you great reviews.

    4. Get listed in directories.

    You need to get your site listed and categorized in the third-party directories the major search engines use to inform their local search rankings. These include Yelp.com, SuperPages, YellowPages.com, and many of others.

    You can find a great list someone put together here.

    Start with the free ones, and then hit a few of the majors, like SuperPages.

    5. Hit the social networks

    Use the power of social media for connecting on a local level:

    6. Don’t forget on-page optimization.

    I’ll be writing more about optimizing your pages for the search engines, but here you just want to make sure the address appears in at least a few places on the site, as crawlable text (not an image or Flash). Also make sure the city name shows up in key places like title tags and headings here and there, and that you’ve got a good, crawlable contact us page with all your information on it.

    7. Be Patient.

    Don’t expect results overnight. To get the results you want, you need to keep working on it. Keep gaining reviews, too.

    Search Example – Google Local Business Listings

    How to Create a Google Business Listing: Step-by-Step Video Tutorial

    Contact me if you have any questions or need help creating your local listings.

    To find more affordable ideas for small business web design and SEO, read my Marketing Advisor Online Blog.

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