Get Found Through Local Search

Get Your Business Found Online By Local Customers

By Timothy Coyle

Finding local customers for your business through the internet depends on the online marketing strategy you have setup so local customers can find you. Through free services like Google My Business and online directories you can make sure your customers can find you in your neighborhood. In this article we will go over how to setup your business for local search.

Overview of Google My Business

google local search

Google provides a free listing for businesses called Google My Business. Basically you will enter all your business information and good quality photos so when someone searches for 'web design' your company will come up in the Google search results. Where you fall in the Google search results ranking depends on a lot of things but having a local listing helps with your search engine optimization.

Below is an example from the Google My Business website showing how a local restaurant would appear in a user's search on a mobile phone:

google local search

It's important to note that this listing will also include the ability for customers to leave reviews for your business so make sure you watch your listing and have a plan in place to deal with both positive and negative reviews.

The setup process is pretty simple but here's a few things to keep in mind:

    Your business category should reflect what you do and you should be specific
    Use high quality photos that show your business in the best light

Once you've gone through the sign up process you will have to verify your business. This is done by physically mailing you a post card with a verification code. You can setup your listing but it won't go live until you go through the verification process.

Customizing Your My Google Business Listing

While it's not complicated there is a lot of information including photos and videos you can upload to make a nice looking profile. Here are some of the things you will want to do with your My Google Business listing to get the best exposure with potential customers:

google local search

Use high quality photos and videos. Make sure you have good photos of outside and inside to really showcase your business. The cover photo is the main photo that will show up in the search results.

Here's what my Google Business Listing looks like when you search for "computer repair near me" (based on being in my zip code area):

google local search

This highlights a couple of important things: 1) Your main business category dictates what searches you will show up for and 2) You want to have a good cover photo because that's what people will see in the search results.

It also demonstrates why you need to have a website because that's essentially the call to action here: the customer will either call you or visit your website.

Setting up and maintaining your My Google Business Listing is free and doesn't require a lot of work but you want to set it up properly so your customers can find you when they search for your product or service.

Check Your Online Business Information

Yext is an online brand management company that is used by thousands of businesses. They have a free online tool to see how your company shows up in various social and search tools that your customers use.

google local search

Here's what my company Signal Bytes Technology looks like before it was submitted to various social and search directories:

google local search

There are a lot of social and search directories and you do not need to be listed in all of them. However you should be listed in the major ones (like Google and Yahoo) and on other platforms that make sense. For example if you are a restaurant you will probably want to be on Yelp.

If you want Yext to fix your missing listings or manage your online brand then you need to sign up for one of their service plans. There are other paid programs you can use to help get your business listed like Moz Local. You can also submit your business listing for free to each service individually as well.

Using Local Search As Part of Your Marketing Plan

Having your business listed with local search platforms like Google will help with your overall marketing efforts. After Google it will depend on your business type on what other platforms you want to list your business on but the big one's usually are Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo - and don't forget local directories like your local phone book provider in your area. If you have a business where customers will be coming to your store/shop/location then you should get listed on the map services like Apple Maps and MapQuest. (If you setup a My Google Business Listing you will also be added to Google Maps)

Having your business listed and found in some of the major search and social platforms will help your overall marketing plan and it's free to do on most services and should be one of the first things you do when you launch a new business.

Signal Bytes Technology is a Bangor Maine based Web Design and IT company providing website design in Bangor ME.