How do customers find your brick-and-mortar storefront? In today’s digital world, most people turn straight to Google Maps, type in the name of your business, and write down the directions that come up. And what if they don’t know you exist, but are searching for a local business that offers the same products or services you do? They will type their search terms right into Local Search and see what comes up. You definitely want your business listed there, or potential customers will pass you over for a competitor. Here’s how to do it in 7 easy steps!

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  • Lay the foundation by registering your business, getting a street address (this can be your home if necessary), getting a phone number for each business location, and put Google Analytics on your site.
  • Head here to create your business listing. Familiarize yourself with Google’s local listing rules and follow them, and choose the best categories for your business. Put as much information in your listing as you can.
  • Optimize your website for local search, but be careful you don’t make SEO errors like spammy name-dropping of towns on identical “location” pages. Each page must be unique. Put your name, address, and phone number on every page. Make sure you link your local search listing to the most appropriate landing page.
  • Make sure your “citations” (listings) on other sites have identical information to your Google Local listing. If the information is inconsistent, Google’s trust in your business will be low, harming your local rankings.
  • Start getting reviews! You may have to offer incentives to customers to get these written. Often, though, asking verbally is enough. You can also send out printed instructions.
  • Go back over it all and clean up any mistakes or inconsistencies you find! Check for duplicate listings or listings that are just wrong, link errors, and so on.
  • Maintain your listings. Every now and again, you will want to go over your listings and search for mistakes or test improvements.

It really is a long-term effort to make sure that your Google Local listing is performing the way you want it to. It is wise to routinely check on it and your other listings to make sure that all your information is still consistent. Google Places is notorious for randomly changing things based on information it thinks it has found, so you will want to stay alert and make corrections straight away if you need to do so.