Get SEO Benefits From Local Business Listings

Michael Sherman - November 25, 2009

The map that you occasionally see at the top of Google’s organic search results is the Local Business Listings. These listings tend to show up on service-orientated searches where regional modifiers are used as part of the keyterm, ie; Boca Raton Dentists.

The prime positioning of the listings on Google’s results page means that if you’re focusing on a particular location for sales, then Local Business Listings should be prioritized in your wider SEO endeavors.

Google’s Local Business Listings are technically separate from organic SEO, yet rely largely on the same basic rules for success – the main one being the use of good and relevant content. Listings are created through Google Accounts, with the option to add a brief description and the all-important location which is highlighted on the results map. It’s quick to set up, and depending on the type of company you’re running, the benefits can be considerable.

Following the basic principles of SEO good practice is the best way to get a strong listing;
– Create a clear title, with a single main keyterm included.
– Write the description for real-world users, in a no-nonsense copy style. Keyword stuffing, as always, results in unreadable copy.
– Focus on your main service – this offers a clearer message to both users and Google.
– Don’t forget to add the business URL – an obvious point maybe, but this isn’t a mandatory field on the set-up form, so it can be easily missed.
– If anything notable changes with your business – new services, services phased out, location changes etc – update your listing. It should always be up-to-date.
– Remember Google’s primary aim – to provide the user with the information they’re searching for – if your listing isn’t as helpful and useful as it could be, modify it.

While it ranks on its own merits in relation to competition, the performance of a Local Business Listing is assisted by the quality of the associated business website. If that website is doing everything it should with an ongoing SEO program, then the business listing will benefit accordingly.

Like organic SEO, you’ve got the top ten to aim for, as these are the results that will appear on the all-important first page. However, again like organic SEO, the competition can often run into the thousands depending on the keyterm and location in question. Approach the Local Business Listings like any SEO project – remember there’s no quick fix or silver bullet, stick to the known principles and the results will follow.




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