Google search trends show that 97% of consumers search the internet to find local goods and services but only 37% of businesses have a claimed local directory listing. During this busy season, and with the Great American Eclipse just one month away, it is time to make sure that your business’ information is displayed correctly online.
Google’s Get Your Business Online program offers free Google Directory and Google Map listings for your business. When returning search results, Google is looking at the following factors:
- Relevancy: How well does a business listing match the search query? If your listing is detailed and up-to-date, Google will have a better idea of what your business does.
- Distance: How close is your business to the searcher, or the area specified?
- Prominence: Prominence is gauged by how well-known your business is, based on the information that Google can find across the internet. This is where having consistent information about your business (name, location, hours, etc.) is very important. Consistent business information helps Google evaluate that you are a real business.
All businesses with storefronts or who see customers in a local service area are eligible to have a Google listing. Google offers a free diagnostic tool to help you evaluate (or get started) with your business directory listing.
Here are some tips to get started:
- You will need to have a Google email address or have registered another email address with Google in order to start your listing. You can do this here.
- This listing does not take the place of your other online activity. It is meant to complement your website, social networks, etc.
- Your business name should match the legal name. Nicknames and slogans should not be included.
- You will need to include a physical street address. If you work in a home office and do not see clients at your place of business, click “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.” This will allow you to hide your physical address and create a service area for your business. Remember, this is meant to help you optimize your local search ranking, so you want to a pick a service radius that makes sense for your business.
- PO Boxes are not allowed, because Google is trying to direct people to your physical location.
- Google will make you verify that you are the business owner. This will be done (most frequently) with a pin number that comes via postal mail. If you only receive mail at a PO Box, please let me know and I can help verify your business listing. The Wyoming SBDC Network is a partner with Google in this program.
- Take the time to add photos, your hours, and website to your listing. Completed listings are believed to be 2 times for reputable than other listings.
Interested in seeing how your listings look across multiple platforms? Check out this tool from Moz Local.
Sarah Hamlin is the Regional Director for Fremont and Teton counties at the Wyoming SBDC Network. She also works as the networks expert in social media and digital marketing. In that role she covers the whole state helping clients get going online.
The Wyoming SBDC Network provides a wide-range of business advising services from start-up to existing, market research to government contracting, retail, service, and high-tech businesses, and everything in between. Advising is offered at no charge to Wyoming residents. The program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, state funds from the Wyoming Business Council, and host responsibilities and additional support provided by the University of Wyoming.