Did you know you can get free listings in the Google search results and in Google Maps (Maps.Google.com)?
Recently, there has been a lot more attention paid to local search.
MSN's launch of their new search engine Bing uses its local search features as one of its main selling points. Google has recently introduced analytics to their local listings for business owners. So, you can see exactly how much traffic you're receiving.
An article about the release of this analytics data can be found at:
You may have ignored local search in the past, but it's becoming much more important today.
The process of optimizing your Google local listing shown in the search results and on Google maps is fairly easy.
The first step is to sign-up for a free account over at: http://www.google.com/local/add
You then have two choices:
Upload a data file is for when you have numerous locations.
If you just have one or a couple locations, hit "Add new business."
You can then fill-in your business information. When creating your listing, you want to be as complete as possible. Even if certain information like business hours is not relevant to you as a service business, it's important to put it down anyway. Google wants to show complete listings.
In this first section, take care when filling in your description. Offer compelling reasons to click-thru on to your website or get readers interested in learning more about you.
Don't just offer a generic description, such as "Solicitors". Emphasise what's unique about your service and an offer.
After you hit "next," you're can select categories. Input as many categories that fit your service, up to five. The categories you select help to tell Google when to show your listing.
You also have the opportunity to upload pictures or videos from YouTube. Try to do both. If you don't have a picture of your location, then you might upload a picture of you.
For videos, head over to YouTube and you can select videos. A great idea is to create a "Tour video" of your business using a digital camcorder, upload it to YouTube, and then input it into your local listing.
After you've submitted your first listing, you then verify your listing. Google will call you with your verification code.
You then are logged-in to the local business center where you can add more details to your listing or add another location of your business. After a while, you then get stats about how your listing is performing.
Just click on "Edit" to add more details to your listing:
Plus, there's one more feature Google offers and that's to create coupons:
You might offer a discount on a service to bring the customer in the door. For instance, your discount might be, "£47off a Will" or "Free estate planning review."
You can take advantage of your listings the best way by using it to set-up customer expectations before they even get to your website or talk with you. You're pre-selling them on your business. This makes getting the sale much easier when you finally do personally interact.
In addition, you can also add your business to MSN here: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/BusinessSearch.aspx and Yahoo here: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
Make sure your website manager has done this by his next quarterly report . Or even better teach yourself to do it. You can do it in less time than it takes to watch some rubbish TV.