Optimize Your Google Local Business Center Listing

Here are some useful tips to show you how to optimise your Google Local Business Centre listing.

Update: In mid-April Google announced that Google Local Business Center Listings will be renamed Google Places which Google says will simplify the connection with Place Pages.  This reflects Google’s ongoing commitment to providing business owners with powerful yet easy-to-use tools to enhance the SEO of their website and reach the local market. As a part of the relaunch, Google has introduced more features to Google Places. Read more about Google Places

SEOW-Services-590-300Google Local Business Centre (GLBC) listings are becoming  a serious element in the Search Engine Optimisation mix.

It seems over the last year ranking highly on Google’s Local Business Centre listings is becoming increasingly important as the map and first seven listings are being displayed before organic listings even start.

Here are some useful tips to show you how you can get up close and personal with Google Local Business Centre listings and optimize your local search engine rankings.

So what is a Google Local Business Centre Listing?

GLBC listings are different to organic or pay-per-click listings. They typically only show up when the user types a service oriented business followed by the city for their search. A large map from Google Maps appears alongside up to seven URLs with a phone number alongside each listing.

Try doing a Google search for hairdressers followed by the name of your suburb and see how this works and what businesses appear in the listings in your area.

How can I optimize my listing?

If you are interested in reaching your local community and marketing your services/products to them in the best possible way, you should definitely list your company on GLBC.

We have identified ten key ways to optimize your GLBC listing and increase your ranking in line with Google’s policies and terms and service.

• Google Local Business Centre Verification

You must verify ownership of the business before you can start optimizing your listing. As part of the verification process, GLBC will send you a pin number via your mobile or post so you can authenticate your listing. When you receive your pin, enter it in your Local Business Centre under your new account details.

After the website has been verified, your Local Business Centre listing will go live and begin to show up in search results and you will be able to modify and update your listing.

Anyone can basically claim any business listing: so claim yours today!

• 100% completion rate

Google gives a preference to businesses that have completed the full form and ticked all the boxes including opening times, what payment types you accept and inclusions of images and video and have a 100% completion rate. You can check your actual completion rate by looking at the top right of your screen, when logged in.

• Include many category types

Try to include up to five industry types to categorize your business. For example, if you own a restaurant, you might choose categories like restaurant, takeaway, cafe, business catering, Italian and so forth to describe your business.

It is essential that your primary category is the most accurate description for your company and the one that your potential customers are most likely to search for. The remaining subsidiary categories should be used to account for all of your other service descriptions.

Google likes to show as much as they can in their listings as it helps to fill the geo and industry results they can display. This can lead to being cited for multiple search types and therefore reach more potential customers.

• Detailed description of your business

You need to enter a 200 words or less description of your business that is a detailed explanation of the service you offer. As Google does not encourage more than one listing for different services you provide per physical location, the description is where you can explain the different services your business offers.

Try to include at least one of your target keyword(s) here. However, the same SEO rules apply. Don’t cram your listing or name with obvious keywords and keep the text engaging and compelling for readers.

Multiple listings on Google Local Business Center

You can create multiple Google Local Business listings as long as you have multiple physical business locations for your business. However, if you are a business who services several different areas but has only one physical address or if you provide several services per one location, you should only have one listing.

Google Local Business Center advises that a local number for your business is preferable to an 1800 or 1300 number listing.

Keep the physical address of your business up to date and standard across all the website tools you use such as your Google Local Business Centre listing, Yellow Pages and other directory listings, multiple websites, citations, social networking and so forth.

Inclusion of videos and photos

Add a logo, video and as many photos as you can to improve your ranking. Including photos of your products and services, shop front or examples of work you have done gives your website a competitive advantage and raises your businesses’ credibility in the eyes of the consumer. You can currently upload up to 10 photos and five videos.

• Citations

Find and keep growing your citations – these are becoming increasingly important. Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other web pages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory or business directory where your business is listed, but a link is not provided.

• Reviews and testimonials

Ask your customers and clients to write reviews for your Google local listing. Not only does this improve your listing, it promotes believability, credibility, and a sense of security for new customers.

The best time to ask clients or customers to write a testimonial is straight after the service has been completed. Research shows that even at point of sale or within the first week and satisfied customers are most motivated during this time period.

Another great way to obtain testimonials for a new business is to ask people to try out your service or product for free in return for a testimonial.

• Link back to the listing

Ask local community organizations who have websites such as your local Chamber of Commerce, any industry associations, your clients, suppliers or other relevant businesses to list your LBC listing on their website and build your local network. Refer to our previous blog article on link building.

• Keep on updating your listing

Make it a point to update your listing regularly as Google always gives a preference to listings which have fresh and new content. This can include the following:

• new photos

• new videos

• new testimonials

• revised menus

• sales and specials

• price lists and brochures

• seasonal rates and

• coupon codes.

These are a just a few examples of ways you can refresh and update your content but if you create any content for your website that is relevant to your local listing, it is good practice to update your local listing at the same time as you update your website.

By using these SEO techniques, this will help your website rank higher in Google Local Business Center listings and give you the competitive edge over local businesses, increase the number of inquiries or people clicking through to your website and the quality of leads that are local to your business. Get on the first page of Google with your local listing and promote your business to your local audience.