Claiming Your Google Local Listing

Claiming your Google Local listing is very important to your SEO. No matter if your business is big or small, if you don’t have a Google Local page, you’re invisible on the Web. Google is a big data provider for search results and maps, so not only are you reaching desktop computers with your listing, but you’re reaching the ever-growing mobile population.

Let’s go over the best practices on how to claim and optimize your Google Local listing.

In order to set up a Google Local listing for your business, you must first create a Google+ listing for yourself. Local pages require a personal profile to act as the owner of the business page. They won’t connect your account visibly to your business, so you don’t have to worry about people trolling your page.
Go to Accounts.google.com to create an account.
Make sure you create the personal profile using your name, not your business. If you don’t, your account will get suspended and your SEO will be compromised.
Simply follow the prompts on your screen to finish setting up your profile.

Create a Page:

  1. Now that you have a personal Google+ profile, you can create a local listing for your business.
  2. From the left hand navigation, click on the “Pages” icon.
  3. Click “Create a Page” in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
  4. Select a category that best describes your business. Once you create your page, you won’t be able to change it, so choose wisely!
  5. REMEMBER: select “Local Business or Place.” This will allow your Google+ page to show up on Google Maps, making it easier for customers to find you.
  6. Enter your phone number. If Google automatically finds your business, click it and review the details before creating. If Google can’t find your business, click “Add Your Business To Google,” enter basic information about your business, select a category, and create.

Help Customers identify your business

  • In ten words or less. This is only to let people know they’ve reached the right page. You’ll be able to fill in more details later.
  • Add a profile photo. Make sure you use your company logo as well as any other high-res photos that show your business. This makes your content more relevant to local searches and increases the value of your listing. It also makes you more personable. These need to be 500 x 500 pixels.

Customize Your Page

  1. Click on “About” at the top of your screen and fill in the details. It’s beneficial to your ranking if you use the same type in this section as you do on your website.
  2. Add links to your business. These can include the main website, blog, YouTube Channel or any other social media. To do this click on the “Links” button, “Add Custom Link,” and add an explanatory label. Then enter the URL in the field and save.
  3. You can now choose to add more photos. If you’re having a special, upload the flyer. Or you can put photos up of your management and sales team. Anything to make the listing more personable is a plus.
  4. You can also choose to upload videos. These can be commercials you have, advice you give, or anything that relates to your business. The more engaging the content, the more likely you’ll gain followers that convert to customers.
  5. Don’t forget to change your cover photo as well. To do this, go to your business listing “posts” page and click on the button that says “change cover.”

What do I do if my business doesn’t have a physical address?

  • Go to Google Places and sign into your Google account. If you don’t have one, follow the steps above.
  • Instead of putting the business address, add your personal address (No P.O. Boxes!)
  • Click on the “Do Not Show My Address on Maps Listing” box. This ensures that people will not see your personal address.
  • Type all the areas that your business serves. For example, if you ship to the whole US, select “Nationwide.” If you only serve a particular state, type in the state’s name.
  • If you don’t have specific operating hours, check the “Do Not Show My Operating Hours” box.
  • Continue filling out the listing as described above.

Congrats! You have officially created your Google Local page for your business! You should receive a postcard to the address specified in 2 weeks. This postcard will have a pin for you to enter in order to verify your listing is correct.

To activate your account:

  • Sign in to your Google+ account.
  • Visit your personal profile page.
  • Click on your profile picture in the upper right hand corner.
  • Select your business.
  • Scroll down a bit and you’ll see “A verification postcard has been sent.” Click on the “Enter PIN” button.
  • If you haven’t received your postcard and it’s been longer than 2 weeks, you can request another PIN here as well.
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Peter "WebDoc" Martin
A digital marketing expert nationally recognized as the “webdoc,” and is the technology correspondent for ABC 7 News and SNN6 where he provides technology advice, website reviews and product news.
Peter "WebDoc" Martin

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