How to get your local business listed on Google

Google offers a simple, quick process to get your local business listed so it will show up in Google search results and maps.

Google My Business is a hub for you to manage how your business is presented in local searches. It’s easy to use and every business and non-profit should take advantage of this important free service.

It doesn’t matter if you operate a brick-and-mortar business, or provide a service from a home-based office or offer services at your customers’ locations. Google provides options to manage how your business appears to searchers.

Google My Business Local Results

First, is your business already on Google?

Do a Google search for your business name to find out. If your business shows up, you can claim ownership and manage how the business appears online.

Look for “Are you the business owner” on the Google results page listing. If you see this, click the link to list your business.

In some cases, someone else has already claimed your business. Maybe it was an employee or your business partner, or maybe you were logged in to a different Google account when you previously created the listing (check that by logging in to your other Google accounts and going to google.com/business). In these cases, you’ll have an option to request management rights.

If your business is not on Google

Sign in to your Google account (or create an account by using the “create an account” link on the login screen).

Go to google.com/business.

Type in your business name. If your business already exists, it will show up and you can edit the country/region, street address, phone number and category.

At the bottom of the listing area, you’ll see a question “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” with a Yes/No option.

Check yes to get listed as a service business instead of a brick-and-mortar location.

Enter the details to create your listing. Remember to select the service business option “yes” or brick-and-mortar option “no” at the bottom under “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.”

Google business verification

Whether you’re claiming and existing business listing or creating a new one, Google provides protection against fraud by requiring verification that you are the business owner.

It’s important not to change any details after you request verification, so make sure your company name, address and other details are accurate before requesting a verification.

Once you’ve finished adding your business basics, you’ll be given options for verification by phone or mail. Choose whichever option is more convenient.

After verification, you’ll be able to log in and edit your business listing any time.

Your listing will look something like this:

Google My Business SERP example

 

 

What is local SEO?

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is a set of practices that increases the likelihood that people will find your business online. SEO stands for search engine optimization.

Local SEO practices try to make the most of search engine results page features that highlight businesses in a specific city, county or region.

The two most popular search engines, Google and Bing, both show similar results at the top for local searches. Both show a map, highlighting a few businesses, and below that a list of business names with reviews followed by the more traditional “blue links” showing website results.

If you own a business and haven’t taken steps to implement local SEO, you’re essentially hiding from your customers online. Yet many businesses don’t do much, if anything, to optimize their placement in search results.

Below is a screen shot of a local search for shoe repair in Portland Oregon, where I live.

Local SEO Google Results

Local SEO results from Google, with well-optimized sites getting the most exposure.

Note the top three results are in a boxed area with ratings. Google uses this area to highlight some, but not all, local businesses offering shoe repair.

Below the top three results, websites for local businesses appear. Note that the first two business sites listed mimic the results in the local, highlighted results above. That’s what every local business should aim for.

For now, in most locations, and for most business types, there is no cost to have your business appear in local results. This could be changing, but that’s another story for a separate post.

In this example, the top business have such a strong local presence that’s likely that results of some intentional efforts to optimize those businesses for local results. That’s local SEO in action.

So how can you optimize your business listings for local searches? Well, that’s what this blog is going to be all about.