Improve Local Search Rankings with a Google Business Listing

What do you do when you’re in a new city looking for a great place to have dinner? Maybe you use Yelp or Trip Advisor—or maybe you just ask Siri where you should eat—but you’ve probably also Googled, “Best restaurants near me” in hopes of finding a true tourist gem.

Katie Hecox
Lead Digital Strategist

Local Searches Lead to Local Purchases

What do you do when you’re in a new city looking for a great place to have dinner? Maybe you use Yelp or Trip Advisor—or maybe you just ask Siri where you should eat—but you’ve probably also Googled, “Best restaurants near me” in hopes of finding a true tourist gem.


It’s pretty crazy to think about Google capturing your location to make sense of what “near me” actually means and rapidly spitting out amazing dinner options near you. What’s even better is you can then sort the locations by price and cuisine. How nice of them! It’s a super convenient way to drum up new business for these local eats and give snippets of information about each place—talk about great advertising.

So this kind of service must cost money from local businesses to partake in, correct? Nope. Just like Google Analytics, Google My Business costs you zero dollars…as in FREE. Now let’s clear up a common misconception right off the bat—Google will auto-populate locations into the listing section whether a business has been claimed by a business owner or not. What this means is just because Google lists you as a business doesn’t mean you’ve actually claimed your business.


Why do you need to claim your Google My Business listing?

Glad you asked.

Claiming your business gives you, the business owner, control over the images that appear, hours of operation, the opportunity to fill in a business profile and share what your business is all about, update the address and phone number at a moment’s notice, and so much more. If you aren’t the one doing this, Google is making a best guess at what your business information should list. It’s eerie how much Google knows, but no one knows your business like you do. So get in there and tell your story the way you know how—add photos, an origin story about your business, and share posts that lead users to your website. 


Benefits to having a Google My Business listing:

Appear above the fold – whether your website has great SEO or needs some work, having a business listing that ranks well gives you a better chance at appearing above the fold in local searches—this means being one of the first listings a user sees when searching for your business name or service.

Build a reputation – having a business listing is great because your raving fans have the opportunity to gush about you in a public space. This feature also gives you a chance to be creative and engage with your customers to gain reviews. Reach out to us for creative and effective ideas on generating more customer reviews!

Maintain your business information – there’s nothing worse driving 20 minutes to a boutique shop that sells succulents and home goods just to find out that it’s closed on Tuesdays. Your mind instantly blames Google for delivering the wrong information, but if the business listing was managed through Google My Business, the hours of operation would likely be correct.

Reach more people through Google Posts – Google Posts is now a free service to all Google My Business users. This feature that used to be reserved for celebrities and sports teams is now widely available for local businesses to take advantage of. It’s a way to put your website content in front of people who might not otherwise see it.

Understand your audience – with helpful insights like how many users are clicking your website, calling your business, or getting directions based on seeing your business listing, you’ll be able to evaluate your return on investment—that investment being time, since the service is free as I already mentioned. These insights can also give you tangible business goals for each quarter such as increasing phone calls to your business. In your dashboard, you’ll be able to assess progress and track the success of your measurable goal.


Do emojis impact local search listings?

You might be wondering how emojis fit into your local SEO strategy. While this may have seemed crazy or over-the-top at one point, it’s something to start considering as Google is in early stages of optimizing local searches for emojis. To accommodate for ever-evolving search patterns of internet users, Google can recognize food emojis and a few other categories to help deliver local search results. Our article on optimizing your website for emojis might give you more insight. 


Claim your business on Google

If you haven’t claimed your business listing, get to it! Simply search for your business name in Google’s search bar and find the “Own this business?” link to get started. If you don’t see that option, someone in your business has already claimed your listing so the work has been done for you!


This post was originally published on September 15, 2017 and has since been updated with recent content and supporting links to account for the evolving nature of Google tools.