While it is valuable for an SMB to have a solid website filled with great content, strong calls to action , a thriving blog and a method to attract the right kind of visitor, it's also important to build your presense in other channels, too.  In the ever changing world of Google and local search, one of the most important things for any SMB to do is create and maintain a Google Business Center listing .

Yesterday Google announced two new improvements to their Local Business Center offering which allows you to create real-time offers and business updates on the fly that will then post to your Places Page thus making that listing a living, breathing entity. 

Also, you can now get a badge on your place page that lets your prospects know when your business has verified your listing. This feature is a welcome move from Google, who is obviously trying to improve the quality of their listings. Previously, it was difficult for a business owner to update even basic information about the business themselves (phone number, hours, etc) - now business owners can claim their listing and build a trust-worthy presense more easily, increasing likelyhood of conversion.

Why Optimizing Your Google Local Page is Still Important

After working your fingers to the bone redesigning your business website and turning it into a incredible magnet for your prospects, you may be wondering why a local Google presense is still important. Well, no matter how well you optimize your site, your local listing in Google Maps may be the first place where a visitor is exposed to your company.

To demonstrate the power local listings on Google, I encourage you to perform a search for “Boston accountant”. What do you see at the top of the Google search result page? The Google Maps result with up to 10 local businesses that are keyword specific . You can reviews of these businesses and see if they are close to you. Oh, and all of this happens above the fold. You have to scroll down to see if there are any actual individual websites listed between the superpages.com and other basic directories.



Based on this what might have more power? A fully optimized local listing that sits at the top of the page and dominates the SERP real estate or a regular organic search result mixed in with other SERP junk? I think that’s an easy call.

If you've yet to build and verify your business listing, here's a great first step for you to take. Find out if you are even on the map by going to www.getlisted.org and check out your local listing across the major engines. It may take work to build your listing, but that time spent could turn into what you are looking for: business.


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Originally published Jan 15, 2010 12:31:00 PM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Local SEO