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Exploring Google Blog Features for Local Business Listings

BusinessOnLine Local Search Wednesday Series: Part 2

Step 2: Registering Your Business for Google Local Business Center

Last week, I began this series by stressing the importance of local keyword research. This week, let’s talk about how to use those local keywords when you add your business listing in Google Local Business Center.

Claiming your business listing in local search engines is one of the most crucial steps to take, in order for your company to appear on Google Maps results. Adding your business in Google Local Business Center (LBC) is like having your business indexed by Google, and your listing will be in the Google’s local business database to be used for geo-targeted queries.

Another reason you should claim your business in Local Business Center (LBC) is that if you do not claim your business listing, your listing can be stolen by your competitors or any random people, also called Google Maps Hijacking. They can edit however they want. But, once you claim your business listing, Google will send you postcard notifications when someone attempts to change your phone number, to prevent your listing from being stolen or displaying wrong information.

One of the most important features to utilize in LBC is the category. The key here is to use the keywords you discovered during your local keyword research as your categories. If you know that your local customers are using a particular search term to find your listing, don’t be afraid to create a new category.

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Having that keyword in your category or in your business title will make a difference in your rankings for that keyword. However, you should not change your business title just to include your keyword, and so, category is THE place to list your important keywords. You can choose multiple categories, but use them wisely as you might risk diluting the focus of your keywords.

You should also work on the description of your company. Do not copy and paste from your website’s description or from your About Us page. Think about what your local customers are seeking when they are searching for local keywords. For example, if you are a car dealer, and #1 reason for locals to choose a local car dealership is service packages, then tell them about the value of having a lifetime oil change package from a local dealership.

Once you’re done with providing essential information such as your phone number and address as well as the categories and description, all the rest features are there to help users get additional information, and from business owners’ perspective, to help your business listing standout from other listings at a glance.

Here are two features that take a second to use, yet makes a big difference in attracting locals’ eyes.

  1. Photos: Uploading photos of your business in LBC will increase your listing’s visibility by having your picture displayed right under your thumbnail along with the text results.

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2.Business Hours: Once you provide your business hours, your “more info” page will display a big table of open hours. Knowing the hours will also help locals plan their visits before you close.

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Other features that would help serving your local customers include parking availability, brands carried, and prices for major services or products you offer. You can post additional information by using custom attribute tags.

You can also post a coupon through LBC. Posting a coupon through LBC will encourage searchers to choose your business over others and help track your ROI for local marketing.

Lastly, now Google Maps give an option to search videos within the mapped area. If you have a promotional videos or branded educational videos, don’t forget to post them through LBC. It will be another way to increase your brand recognition.

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With your local business listing posted with local-keyword focused materials, now the real marketing begins. Next week’s Local Search Wednesday series will discuss how to obtain local relevancy by targeting off-page local information online.