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Local Business Listing Power

Verifying your local business listing is one of the most important steps you can take when trying to increase your online exposure. Not only is it important from a business branding standpoint but it is also very important when it comes to search engine optimization. Many clients have been asking me what to do and how to make sure these pages are optimized properly. Below are some of the most important steps to take when it comes to optimizing your local business listing. If you haven’t yet claimed your listing or your listing is unverified please visit Google customer support.

1) Make sure your local business listing name is consistent with the way your business is found elsewhere online and in person. Many people try to put in buzz words into their local business listing thinking that it will help them show up better on Google. The reality is it will hinder your ability to do just that. Local business listings do allow you to put in one descriptive word however. This descriptive word is not to stuff more SEO juice into your listing but rather to clarify something. For example, if you have 3 locations and one is downtown you can put “downtown” into the business listing name that is actually downtown.

2) Complete your business profile. This means add hours of operation, contact info, business hours, photos and other useful information that your customers would want to see. Incomplete listings are less useful to people and are thus less likely to be shown by search engines.

3) Generate in-bound links and citations. This is easier said than done but the main thought is that search engines give more weight to businesses that have quality inbound links and mentions of their business on sites other than their own. I always think of this as your footprint. If there are reviews, articles, etc on other sites they can help to validate your site and your business listing .

4) Add business categories to your business listings. Your local business listing will let you categorize your business. Do this completely but do not add more categories than are relevant. Doing that can look like SPAM and search engines don’t like SPAM (shocking, I know).

5) Solicit reviews. This is simple. Do you like to see reviews about businesses? Of course you do. Google cares about what people like to see and are going to show preference to a business with reviews vs a business with no reviews. These reviews might not even be on Google. Your plus page will search many review sites for “reviews around the web” and show some of those as well. Do your best to have your customers write reviews wherever they can. Ideally on Google but reviews elsewhere are great too.

6) Interact on your page. Post useful things, interact with people, join circles. Again, think user experience.

7) Make sure your contact info is indexable on your site. Search engines want to see consistency with your local listing and the info on your site. Encode your contact info in schema to make it easy for search engines to find your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) and other relevant info.

8) Follow the rules, don’t try to scam the system and be patient.


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