Google Local Search provides information for people looking for nearby businesses and places. For example, if you’ve ever typed on Google search “find pizza near me” (or any of the other essential things, like coffee, an ATM, or a gas station), you’ve used the power of Google Local Search. And the chances are that a local business profited because of it. Google Local Search also shows customer reviews, along with the business images. It is a tool that helps people find what they're looking for and gives more credibility to a business.
How do i set up my Google Business Profile?
If your business doesn’t rely solely on online sales- you run a shop, an art gallery, a restaurant, showroom. – you still should be on Google local search. It’s free, it's effective, and it’s easy to use.
First, start by setting up your Gmail for Business. You’ll need to use your business email to use Google Local effectively.
Second, take care of listing your business in Google Business Profile.
Third, you can probably optimize your listing on your Business Profile Google Maps so that it drives even more customers to your business.
Four steps to improve your business’s local search ranking
1. Set up your Google My Business profile
To improve your local’s search ranking, first, you must set up your Google My Business profile. Here is where you go to work with Google Local Search listings. To do this, you’ll need to provide some of the following information:
1- Name and location of your business.
2- Type of business.
3- Business contact details including phone *hint: use a number with a local area code*
4- Business website because you’ll need to verify your connection with the business which requires a single click if you have a business account. (Use a business email account here, as noted above).
Once you’re verified, you can add your business logo and additional information to local search results. You can also add images of your business’s team(if you have employees) and the products and services your business is offering. Tell your story, engage with potential customers, and build your business presence.
Choose photos that support your business’ story (your brand, in marketing speak). You can also create a video walkthrough of your business services, and post that on local search as well. And you can create posts with special offers, news, and other content to keep your listing fresh and interesting. If you got a free website from Google, the posts will appear there as well.
2. Keep your Google Business listing up to date
If your business details change, make sure to update the information in Google Local Search. You can get bad reviews and appear way at the bottom of search results. No one likes showing up at a business that states it is open only to find it closed.
If you don’t stick to regular hours, note that in your listing (“Please call to confirm that we’re open!”) or set your opening hours to times when you know you’ll be there – perhaps an hour or so later than you usually open or close. And make sure to provide hours for holidays, vacations, and other special events – you may stay open for holidays or close for vacations, among other things. Just remember to let your customers know.
If you want to connect with your customers, download the Google My Business App (you’ll find a link on Google My Business). The app not only lets you update your info, ads, and other messaging from your mobile phone, it also enables customers to message you directly for information about your business. You can reply using the app – and it’s free of charge. Go to Google’s Business Profile to manage your business and learn more.
3. Manage and respond to your business profile reviews
Reviews are a blessing and a curse. Respond to the good ones and the bad ones. Positive reviews build your business; negative ones can have an adverse impact. Be honest when responding to negative reviews. Made a mistake? Own up to it, explain how you’re addressing it, and find a way to make it right for the customer. If a review is unfair, respond and calmly explain why you object to the review but don’t get into an online battle.
Make each response unique – a slew of copy-and-paste responses will annoy customers. And make sure to respond professionally; check spelling, punctuation, and your tone of voice. If you’re angry, step away from the computer/device for a while, take a few deep breaths (or a long walk) and then write your response to a bad review. You can encourage your customers to leave feedback by using the “review” feature in Google My Business. Use best practices to get reviews you can request reviews from customers by sharing a URL specific to your business.
4. How Google determines local ranking
Google determines how your business will show in search results using a complex algorithm designed to find the best match for what people search. Reviews, hours of operation, the products/services you sell, and how you describe them all determine whether Google will recommend your business first. Proximity as a ranking factor is relevant but not the only ranking factor. The company prioritizes quality content that provides value to Google’s users.
Make sure to post detailed business information. Keep it current and specific to help Google understand your business and match it to relevant searches. You may think that describing your business as the “Most Unique Incredible Wonderful Caffeine Supplier in the World” will draw attention – but chances are no one is actually searching for the "Most Unique Incredible Wonderful Caffeine Supplier in the World" they just want a good cup of coffee.
Remember, keep it specific, and skip the grandiose claims. A better way to describe your business is to ask yourself what words your customers would likely use to find you. Or, if you were searching for a business just like yours, what words would you use? Other things affect your ranking. The most important is “prominence.”
Prominence as a local ranking factor, reflects how well-known a business is – is it famous? Is it a popular tourist attraction? Does it have a strong presence on the web with an easy-to-navigate and updated website? Does the business have a lot of positive ratings? Is it mentioned in online guides to the neighborhood, social media, among other online platforms? All of these factors contribute to your ranking.
So what are you waiting for? You already have a guide, go and update your business profile and start using Google Local Search to grow your business online.