If your business is not showing up in local search results, you may be wondering how to improve your local ranking on Google.
If you want to improve your local ranking on Google, the most important thing you can do is claim and optimize your Google My Business listings.
Local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location. They’re shown in both mobile and desktop versions of Google Search and Google Maps. Google My Business lets you manage how your local business appears across Google. Maintaining and managing your business listings on Google My Business creates and online presence on Google that helps customers find discover your business, contact you, and find your location.
With Google My Business you can maintain your business information, interact with customers through reviews and photos, and point customers to your website or storefront.
How to Add or Claim Your Google My Business Listing
To add your business information to Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google products, you will need to create a Google My Business listing. If you don’t have a Google My Business Listing, you can sign up for free and quickly improve your local ranking on Google.
Signing Up for Google My Business
- Go to com/business and click “Start Now” at the top right corner of the page.
- Sign in to your Google account. You’ll need to create one if you don’t already use Google services.
- You’ll see a map of your country with a form at the top left. Enter your business name in the first field.
- As start typing, suggestions for possible matches will appear. If you see your business, select it from the drop-down.
- Complete the rest of the fields with your business information, then click “Continue”.
- At this point, you may see a matching business for the information you entered. If this is your business, click it. If it’s not your business, click “Keep the information I entered”.
- You’ll see the option to confirm that you’re authorized to manage the business. If you are, check the box, then click “Continue”. If you are NOT authorized to manage the business listing, get the person in your organization who is, then continue signing up.
Claiming Your Google My Business Listing on Your Desktop
- Navigate to Google My Business.
- Search for your business using name and address.
- If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click “No, these are not my businesses” or “I’ve correctly entered the business”. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly.
- Click “Submit”.
Claiming Your Google My Business Listing on Your Mobile Device
- Open the Google My Business app.
- Sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business.
- If this is your first time adding a business to Google, sign in with the Google account, you’d like to use to manage your business and touch “Continue”.
- If you’ve added a business before, tap the menu icon, then tap the name of your business to reveal a list of all listings in your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose the “+ Create New Business” button.
- Enter your business name and information, agree to the terms of service, and then select “Continue” to create a listing for your business.
- You’ll want to access Google My Business on your desktop as shown above to access more advanced editing features, including adding service-areas.
NOTE: If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified your business when you try to claim your listing, it is possible you used a different email address when you previously verified your business. If someone else has indeed claimed your business listing, you can contact the current business owner through Google My Business.
Claiming Your Google My Business Listing on Google Maps
- Open the Google Maps app.
- Search for your business.
- Open the business information panel and scroll down. Then tap Claim this business.
How to Improve Your Local Ranking on Google with GMB
If you do not see your business in search results for relevant searches in your area, it’s time to optimize your Google My Business listings. To maximize how often customers, see your business in local search results, there are some basic steps you need to complete in Google My Business. Providing accurate information in Google My Business and keeping it up-to-date raises your business’s local ranking on Google and enhances your presence in Search and Maps.
Enter Accurate Data in All Applicable Fields
Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier for Google to match with the right searches. Pay special attention to your categories to help Google match your business with search users’ requests. Enter ALL of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you.
Encourage Reviews and Respond to Customers
Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and gives you the opportunity to further influence future customers. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers improve your business’s visibility and encourage new customers to visit your locations. Automate your review management to gather more and better reviews.
Update Your Hours Through Seasons, Holidays and Other Changes
Updating your hours of operation, including changes hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re open. Google Maps will let a user know that the location they are visiting is closed or closing soon so it’s important that this information is current.
Use Photos to Enhance Your Online Presence
Photos help tell the story of your business and show people your facilities, goods, and services. Use high-quality photos to help establish trust and credibility with customers researching their next purchase.
How Google Determines Local Ranking
According to Google, local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors combine to find the best match for your search but are not equally weighted. Google wants to provide the best possible search results so they could decide a business farther away from a search user’s location is more likely to have what they are looking for than a business that’s closer, and rank it higher in local results.
Relevance: how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for.
Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Distance: how far is each potential search result is from the location of the user.
If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence: how well-known a business is.
Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. Good examples would be museums, landmarks, and well-known stores.
Google goes further to state, “Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.”
Looking for More Guides on Improving Your Local Ranking?
Check out some of our top Local Search, SEO, and Google My Business Guides.
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