Local SEO: Google Local Listing

Local SEO: Google Business Optimization
Posts in this series
  1. Local SEO: Google Local Listing
  2. What is Local SEO?

The first and most important part of getting started with Local SEO is to start at the source – Google.  By completing your local listing and filling it out, you’ll show up accurately and positioned accordingly in their local group of results.

Things You Should Do

  • Verify your local listing.
  • Completely fill out your company profile.
  • Use your business name matches the name used on your website.
  • Create a detailed company description.
  • Make sure that the name, address, and phone number on your listing matches with the same information on your website.
  • Make sure the physical address is for the city you want to rank for. For example, if your corporate headquarters is in Chicago, but you have an office in Schaumburg, then you’ll want a listing for Schaumburg, which is where you will show up in results.  The Chicago HQ needs to have it’s own separate listing.
  • If you have a mail box or suite number, put it in the second available address line.
  • Doctors, dentists, lawyers, and real estate agents can create separate listings for each practitioner/partner/agent with that individual’s direct number and working hours.
  • Departments within businesses, colleges, hospitals, and government buildings can also have their local listing if they have a separate phone number.
  • Make sure to select every relevant category for your business.
  • If you have a single location, add a link to the home page of your website.  If you have multiple locations, link to a location-specific page.
  • If you find duplicates of listings for your business, claim them and then delete them.  It may take some time, but will cause less confusion for both users and Google.
  • Encourage your customers to leave reviews here, as the three most recent will show up under your listing in search results.
  • Regularly update the listing with new images, videos, and content.
  • Link it with your Google plus account and ensure that you’re updating this information there as well.
  • Report spam listings to Google in your industry/area to clear out unfair competition.  Don’t abuse this though – Google will catch on if you start pulling local competitors out and will penalize you.

Things You Should Not Do

  • Don’t keyword stuff your name or description.  This is not the place for it.
  • Don’t use PO Boxes as your primary business address.  That’s not going to be useful the user and that’s who this is about.
  • Don’t create more than one local listing for each address.
  • Don’t select categories that aren’t directly relevant to your business, even if you plan on crossing into a new category eventually.
  • Don’t use words that will get caught in Google’s sensitive categories/words filter.

Bonus Tips

  • Do some research on what categories your competitors are assigning for their business to see where you might fit in.
  • If you can’t find an appropriate category, choose the closest one and add a very short description to your name for clarification.  For example, Twist-N-Swirlz Frozen Yogurt, or Laura Simmons, Stylist.
  • Avoid things like taglines in the title and store numbers.  No one is going to search for “Home Depot Store #882”.