Local SEO Best Practice #1 – Create a Google My Business Listing

Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places, has become the starting point for all successful local SEO campaigns.

Google My Business is the foundation of local listings and without it, a business’ name will not show up in the local listings. These listings are already becoming more competitive. Google used to include a “7 pack” of local businesses but they’ve dwindled that down and only the top three businesses are shown in full. The only way for a business to appear there is by creating a Google My Business listing.

You can set up a Google My Business listing in less than an hour. Business owners should visit www.google.com/business to get started. Click on the ‘Start Now’ button and follow the subsequent instructions.

Google gives business owners the option of filling out as much or as little information as they’d like, but it’s most recommended that as much information as possible is provided.

Other tips to follow when creating a Google My Business listing is:

  • Choose a profile picture that is intriguing to users and is relevant to the business.
  • While the picture is important, the title of the image file is also important. It should include a keyword, which could be the business’ location, name, or phone number.
  • Upload multiple images as this not only gives users better insight into the business, it also gives Google more relevant keywords.
  • Categories are one of the fields Google will search first when users are searching for a particular type of business. Because of this, business owners must carefully choose a category for their Google My Business listing.
  • Multiple categories can be chosen and although Google recommends keeping it to one or two, we’ve never had any issue adding several.
  • Once a Google My Business listing is published, the exact name, address and phone number of the business needs to be used when you create directory listings. It’s very important that all listings are consistent when it comes to the NAP.

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