Being a local business owner you probably know by now how important Google can be for your business. More importantly is Google My Business, a listing in the Google search results that showcases a local business based on the users search query.

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I’m sure you’ve probably seen the local business section to the right of the search results when searching for local businesses. Today I’m going to show you how to optimize your listing to be more likely to appear when a customer searches for your type of business in a few simple steps. Of course the more your listing is seen the more your business will be frequented.

1. Fully Complete Profile

Having a complete profile in Google My Business is the first step in getting found in the local search results. If you do not have a listing yet, go ahead and get one here. Google is going to ask you to verify you’re the owner so go ahead and do that. If you ask for the postcard you can still fill out your listing while you wait for it to arrive. Once you’ve started filling out your listing be specific and complete as possible. The more complete your profile, the more likely Google is to show your listing when searched. This includes all the details, descriptions, images, maps, anything Google asks for do your best to fill it out. Make sure you are as specific as Google lets you in your business category options. You can visit MOZ Local for a complete list.

2. Listings, Listings, Listings

Now that you have a complete listing on Google My Business it’s time to put that listing in other places as well. This kills 2 birds with one stone. Listing your business on places like Yelp will pull traffic to you from that site, but it also gives you street cred with Google. The more places Google sees your business the more legitimate it they believe you are. This includes putting your address on your website as well, a good place is the footer.

There is one huge key to this strategy: Make sure your listing is exactly the same on every local directory! I can’t stress this enough. Believe it or not:

12345 W. Main Street

is different to Google than:

12345 West Main St.

Many marketers refer to”NAP” for listing your business properly. “NAP” Name, address and phone number, make sure they are exactly the same anywhere you list your business. If you are looking for places to list, the people at Hubspot have put together a good list to start your listings.

 

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3. Put A Map On Your Website

Want even more street cred with Google? Embed a map to the location of your business on your website. My website have a map function that allows me to add a map quickly like the one above marking the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida. If you don’t have that functionality don’t worry its simple to add your own map. Head on over to Google Maps and search for your own business. When you find your business listing click on the share icon in the left sidebar.

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Next click on the “Embed Map” option when the pop-up appears.

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Once you do that you can choose your size on the top left to customize it to your site.

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Copy the code and past into your webpage where you want it to appear. Most people place there map in the footer or on the contact page.

4. Get Reviews

Time to really ramp up the efforts with reviews. Google looks at the number of high integrity reviews a business has when deciding which business listing to display first in the search results. High integrity is a combination of the actual rating, 1-5 starts and the content the reviewer writes. Obviously a 5 start rating with a written paragraph is much better that 1 star with little to no written review. A word of caution, don’t try to cheat the system. If Google see’s you go from zero review to 30 overnight, your sure to get your listing banned.

So how do you get good reviews? Simple, just ask for them from your customers. Try to make it as easy as possible for you customers to review your business. For example; go to your listing and retrieve your web address for your reviews. You can do this by clicking on the “write a review button” seen below.

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Click on the “write a review” button and copy the website address in your browser. Now share that web address to your customers you may have in places like Facebook or your email list. You’d be surprised to find that when customers have a good experience with your they are likely to leave a good review when asked.

Another great way to garnish reviews is by signage in your store. “Review Us On Goolge” with your Google My Business URL on the sign. Maybe even include a QR code so customers can review on mobile right then and there.

Remember step 2, getting listings? Well getting reviews on those sites can be equally as important. Especially site like Yelp and Trip Advisor. Google will actually pull these reviews and display them in the search results. So don’t be afraid to ask for reviews on those sites as well.

Conclusion

Following the steps I’ve outlined will certainly get your business noticed more. If you keep up with managing your business listings you will surely see an increase in store traffic and phone calls. Give it time, it’s not an immediate result but one that will pay off in terms of value. Remember these listings are free for the most part, it only takes your time. If you have questions about this process feel free to email me brandon@SproutAwesome.com