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Are you wondering how to optimize your business for local searches? If you own a small business, you know you need to be listed in Googles business directory listings these days if you expect anyone to know you exist. If were not aware of that, now you are. Google’s business directory is called Google My business. The business’s that are grouped together at the top of the search results for any local service are in Googles business listings. Getting into these listings doesn’t “just happen”. It’s something you need to initiate.

How To Optimize Your Business For Local Searches

Getting You’re Business listed In Google’s Business Directory For Local Searches

Follow these steps to optimize your business for local searches. Search “Google My Business” and it should be the first option that shows up. You’ll have to first apply to get on Google Maps and then they will then send you a card in the mail that has a code that will allow you to “claim your business”. Basically you’re just using the code on the card they sent you to verify your business’s listing and location within Google’s business directory. Once your account has been verified you’ll then have to set up your business’s profile in Google’s Business Directory. Again, you can do this by searching for “Google my business” and clicking the first option in the search results. These are the first steps you need to take. Without completing these, you won’t show up In Google’s Business listings. That would be like owning a business 30 years ago and NOT being listed in the phone book!

Top 3 Pack For Business Listings

Improving Your Google My Business Rankings

So now that you’re listed in Google’s business listing directory, getting into Google’s TOP 3 pack, the list of three business at the top any Google search for a local business, should be your main goal! This is how we optimize your business for local searches. Using our phone book analogy, this would be like having an entire page dedicated to your company with picture advertisements! It’s what everybody see’s first when they are searching for a business that offers your services!

The difference between spending money on a entire page of advertising in the YellowPages and being in the top 3 pack on Google is that you can get into the top 3 pack for free! And once you are there, it’s basically free advertising. TON’S & TON’S of free advertising. If you own a plumbing company in Dallas, Texas, and you show up at the top of the search results every time someone Googles “Plumber in Dallas”… Imagine how many calls you’d be getting. I hope you’re able to hire more plumbers!

How To Get Into The Top 3 pack – Optimize Your Business

So how do you get into the TOP 3 pack? They are several important steps.

Enter Complete Data.

Make sure you fill out every available field in the Google My Business application. If they ask for your company video URL, give it to them. Don’t have one? Then have one made! They are cheap! Message me, I can have one made for you! But before I get off on a tangent, what I’m saying is that if you want to out-rank your competition, you need to been seen as more of a legitimate company in Googles eyes, and the way to do that is by giving them all the information they want. What they are asking you for, they expect you to have, and rankings will go to those who play their game. So make sure you don’t leave any fields blank. If they are asking for something your business doesn’t have, simply do a search for “How do I get “X” for my business”, and get it!

PICTURES!

Add lot’s. People love them, and so does Google, so make sure to showcase your business appropriately! Pepper your Google My Business account nicely with images.

You Need a Company Website.

And not just a crappy one page website. Google wants to see “Terms of Service” & “Privacy Policy” pages On your site. As well, having a number of backlinks to your companies website helps boost it’s rankings and importance in Googles eyes. What the heck is a backlink? A backlink is a link from another website pointing back to yours. These can come a variety of sources. Usually social media accounts “account” for the majority of backlinks. People posting on their business’s Facebook Fanpage with a link back to their site is an example of a backlink. Another would be if your company was to be reviewed by a local e-zine, say for wining an award. This would also be an example of a backlink. Sites with more backlinks pointing to them generally rank higher than those without. You can build them yourself manually as well. a simple Google search will reveal ton’s of ways to go about creating backlinks. One word of caution, don’t add links from irrelevant websites! If you would like backlinks built for you, check out my page here www.FreshKorn.com !

Build Local Citations.

A citation is any mention of your companies Name & Address on the web. Usually they come from other directory sites, like Yelp. Besides Yelp though, there are many other big directories that you should be signing up to. The more you can sign up to, the better. The business’s with the most citations get the best rankings in Google. Do a search for “business directories in your local area” and fill out as many as you can. Then do search for “business directories in state/provinve/teritory” and fill out as many as you can. Repeat for “business directories in “your country“, and the fill out as many of those as well. Once you’ve done that, you can do a search for business directories that match your specific companies niche, (e.g “pluming directories”) and start filling out as many of those as you can as well. Some directories offer paid listings. I usually skip these as I find they are not necessary. But do try to get as many as possible, it will surely help you outrank your competition. If you would like citations built for you, why not check out our services & pricing pages.

Manage Your Accounts

Optimize My Business For Local Searches

Now that you’ve set up citations at different directories, it’s important to manage and respond to reviews that you receive. If you get a complaint, make sure to publicly attempt to diffuse the situation by pleasing the customer and if someone asks a question, be sure to answer it. If someone compliments you, make sure to thank them for their patronage and kind words.
Beyond responding to reviews it’s important to manage your accounts as well. Usually this takes the form of updating hours of availability to reflect disasters.. for example, COVID operating hours. Most directory sites will have an option when times like this appear for you to amend your hours and I highly suggest you do it. If your hours do not change, I still recommend going into your accounts and stating that fact! This also applies to holiday hours..

How To Optimize Your Business For Local Searches?

And that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t seem like much, but once you start getting into you’ll realize how much work it actually is. Having all the required fields for you Google My Business listing alone could take weeks for you to assemble everything. Then starts citation building… Getting it done is worth it though! Trust me!

For link building services to your company website or for citation building services to your Google my Business profile, check out Freshkorn Marketing’s complete list of services and prices!