The great thing about having a local business is that there’s lots of local web directories that are probably already listing your business on their site. The terrible thing about having a local business is that information is usually incomplete or wrong. Here’s how to fix it, and improve your local search rankings as a result.
1. Your Google Places Page
Do a search for your company name in Google Maps and click on the result. Look at the top right, above the little map. There’s one of two things you’ll see here:
- Business owner? – You need to claim your listing. The process is straightforward, you only need a Google account. Click on the link that says “Business owner?” and follow the steps.
- Owner-verified listing – Someone has claimed your business listing already. Hopefully, you’ll remember who did this for you (if you didn’t) and can get access to it.
Now that you’ve claimed your page, it’s time to make it look good. That means adding categories, photos, videos (if you can), a description of what you do, your hours, and so on. Right now, don’t worry too much about getting the right keywords, just get that profile 100% complete.
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2. Check Your Citations
Do a search on Google for your company’s phone number. Use your main number, no extensions or special lines, and format your search like this:
(but use your actual phone number)
You’ll likely get a number of results, especially if you’ve been in business for several years. Fire up your Link Inventory spreadsheet and start going through the results, recording them in the spreadsheet as needed.
Many of these sites will require you to sign up for an account – keep track of that information as you’ll need it later!
Again, with each site, make sure that your information is as complete as possible. Some sites may charge for a link to your website – if they don’t, make sure that link is there!
This can take a while, so tackle it in batches – 5 a week or 1 a day, for example.
Why This Helps
Your Google Places page is the foundation of your local search presence, especially in Canada, where Google owns more than 70% of the search engine market. The more complete it is, the more likely you are to come up in search results. There’s other factors as well but completeness is key.
Citations build credibility for your business. The more listings that you have for your business in local directories, especially with links to your site, the more than your business is regarded as reputable. Reputable businesses are rewarded with higher rankings in search results.
There’s a lot more that goes into the process, but this is a big part of the work involved in ranking well for local phrases. Questions, comments, results to share? Post them in the comments!