If you’re a small business, or trying to attract local, metro-area, or even regional customers (rather than clients all over the country, or world), it’s critical that you maximize your local search results on Google.
What do I mean by local Google results? I’m talking about what happens in a search when someone defines their search within a specific geographic area. For someone looking for my services, for example, it could mean searching for “marketing expert near me,” or “marketing expert Fort Lauderdale,” or even “marketing expert South Florida.”
This type of locally defined search tells Google that you want to use its powerful mapping technology, to define a search in a specific location, which is why you get results that are located on maps, rather than looking at your typical Google search results.
How do I maximize my local Google search results for my business? You need to follow a few steps, which Google outlines here. This is a multi-step process:
- Identify your business on Google. First, Google Maps needs you to define what’s yours. That is, if you have a business location, you need to notify Google Maps that it’s your location by setting up a Business Profile. This is recommended to anyone who has a “sign out front” of their location. (For home-based businesses, this is not recommended for you.)
2) Google will confirm this location. BUT they don’t do this online or overnight. They do this the “old fashioned way” by sending out a mailing to your location. Yes! Google uses the USPS to verify that you own the location you say you do.
3) Once you receive the Google mailing, you need to use the code in that mailing to login to your address. This tells Google that you do own this location. Once you do this, you will be led to your local Google page! It looks like the image you see for this post.
4) Fill in your information. This way, your account information is complete and when it comes up in searches, people will know what they need to about your business or location. For example, you can put your hours here also, so people know when you’re open.
5) Create local ads. This is, of course, Google’s bread-and-butter. You can create ads for people who are searching locally for your products and services. (Think of this as Yelp! using the most powerful search engine in the U.S. And yes, it’s a competitor of Yelp!)
6) Google will track how you’re doing on a monthly basis. This confuses some business owners who list their location then receive this quick email from Google. It’s simply their way of letting you know how you’re doing! They’ll tell you how many people searched for you locally, and even share what words and phrases they used to search for you. It’s like sending you SEO and PPC information for free!
If you’ve not claimed your organization’s address on Google, you’re missing out on some of the best free marketing around. Make sure you’re listed today! Let me know if I can help you maximize your local marketing further – and please share this with someone whose local business is struggling.