Search Engine Optimization Tips

Google Local Business Listing

I usually tell people that there are two kinds of search results on Google: Paid listings, which are usually in the top and right margins, and organic listings, which are the main ones that everyone clicks on. But there’s a third type: Google’s local business results. They come up when you search for a business with a local modifier–like a city name–and are found at the top of the results, in small font, next to a map showing where all the listed business are located.

In this example, my business Seattle SEO Guru is ranked 3rd.

These listings are similar to the regular organic search results in that they’re free, and Google uses a similar process in ranking the results, with two big differences:

  • You have to sign up to get listed
  • Registered sites are ranked based on their proximity to the computer doing the search, in addition to other factors

This listing is a fantastic boon for small business serving a local population. It’s a way of ranking at the top of Google’s search results right away. The downside is that the listings kind of look like paid ads, so many users tend to ignore them. So it’s worth working on ranking well in the organic search results, but in the meantime, sign up for Google’s local business listings and enjoy your free ride to the top.

Google’s Local Business Center

If you want to be really thorough, also sign up with Bing’s and Yahoo’s Local Business listings. These search engines get less traffic, but they’re free too, so why not?

  • Provide as much info as you can, including photos and videos. This may help boost your rankings.
  • Google will ask you to list up to five categories. Take full advantage–there’s no point in listing less than five. Here are the five I found most applicable to guitar teachers: Guitar Instructor, Music Instruction, Music Instructor, Instruction, Music School.

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