Get Your Business Displayed in Search Engine Maps for Local Searches

Google, Bing, Yahoo

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All three major search engines display selected businesses prominently in maps for some local searches. For a search such as “carpenter Bury St Edmunds”, the following map tops the search results.

Goolge map for "Carpenter Bury St Edmunds"

1 Bing Searches

Bing map for search "plumber Bury St Edmunds"This is the map that appears at the top of some search listings when you search using Bing .

Go to Bing Places  (previously Bing Business Portal) and then follow the instructions to complete the form.

You will have to verify your listing either by email or post.

 2 Yahoo Searches

Yahoo map for "plumber Bury St Edmunds" searchA Yahoo Basic Listing is free.

3 Google Searches

Google map for search term "plumber Bury St Edmunds"

These coveted 3 pins on Google Maps are dominated by websites with Google My Business pages. (Note that Google+ Brand pages will NOT help.)

How to Help Your Business to be One of the Highlighted Pins

1 Businesses that are close to the center of the location will fare better than those that are further afield.

2 Relevant – ensure your keywords are on both your Google My Business page (and that the business category is correct) and also on your website; as with everything else, overdo this and you could get a penalty. (A few experiments to see which search terms produce Google Maps might help when deciding which keywords to focus on; if Google prompts you to enter categories, perhaps bear in mind which categories produce maps but always be true to your real business.)

3 Have authority – in SEO speak, this means backlinks and reviews, in particular listings in different local and niche directories and customer reviews on different review sites (your Google My Business listing is an obvious!). See our backlinks for beginners guide for a general guide.

Note: It is not known whether the number of followers that your page has (the number of people who have circled you) and the number of +1s and comments (interactions) that your page accumulates also contribute to the page’s authority score – but a popular page is unlikely to be a bad thing!

4 Complete, detailed listing – Google is concerned with the end-user experience. A listing that is detailed and complete (for example, business hours are shown, photos are uploaded, a helpful description of the business is given) is more likely to appeal to the end-user than one that has the bare minimum of information and uses the ugly default image.

For all listings:

1  Take care to ensure your business name, address and phone number is the same as that on your website (no spammy, keyword-rich business name). Search engines will verify this information with a phone call or postcard before your listing will go live.

2  Create a full listing,  with photos if permitted. Some may enable videos.

3  Ensure that the business categories you select accurately reflect your business. (If your key business is a “web designer town A” and your listing describes your business as a web hosting company, then that causes confusion and confusion could cause loss of rankings.)

4  Ensure that you give a nice detailed , helpful description of your business (if permitted) and that this description includes all of your keywords in a natural, non-spammy, non-repetitive way. (For example, as a web designer, we would state that we are a web designer covering the Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Newmarket, Hadleigh and Ipswich areas of Suffolk and that we offer brochure websites, WordPress websites and responsive websites.)

Your Google+ Personal Profile, Brand Page and/or Google My Business Page

Step 1: Claim Your Google Account and Create a Personal Profile

Claim your  Google Account – this will give you access from everything from Google+, Gmail and YouTube.

You can use this Google Account to create a Personal Profile. Make this as full and as attractive as possible – put a photo of yourself and an attractive background rather than the ugly default ones and give a good About section description. Give people a reason to connect with you – not many will connect with a page with default photos and a scanty profile. Make your page seem cared for and connections are more likely to follow.

Include links back to your website AND to your company  Google+ My Business/Brand page(s) in the About section; links to your different social media sites might also help you get additional followers in these sites.

Create Collections that mirror your personal and/or company interests.

See John’s profile page for one way of doing this.

Use your email contacts to get an initial list of followers.

Step 2: Create a Google My Business and/or Brand Page for Your Business

Go to https://business.google.com/create listing. Create the appropriate type of page.

 

1 For a local business, you only need to create a Google My Business page (Shop Front or Service Area). This page is necessary to appear on Google Maps (preferably as one of the top 3 pins) for local searches. Use this page to interact on Google+.

1a  A shop front can be classed as any local business where customers come to YOUR premises. As a web designer, we are a shop front. These pages appear on local Google Maps and customers can leave reviews. Note that Google (may) request evidence of your presence at this location; for example, they may request a photo of the premises with a business sign.

1b  A Service Area is any business where you service the local area but customers do NOT come to your premises. Examples might be driving instructors or taxi companies. These pages appear on local Google Maps and customers can leave reviews.

2 For a national business, create a Google Brand page and use this for all brand news. These pages do NOT appear on Google Maps and customers cannot leave reviews.

3 For a national business with local locations, create a Google Brand page (for corporate news) and Google My Business pages (for news about that specific office or center).

If you have a local business with multiple locations, then read Google’s guidelines for adding multiple locations.

For All Google+ Listings, Add Info:

Complete the Google+ form ensuring you put all relevant information in. Make the listing as full and complete as possible – for example, add photos, business hours and a good company description. Make sure you add an attractive cover photo/image (rather than the ugly default) so that your Google+ page looks cared for and encourages visitors to leave a good review, to +1 it and/or add it to their circles.

It is essential to your SEO that the name, address and phone number on your Google+ page matches that on your website (and also matches that found on local directories and elsewhere on the web). Google will verify your address by sending a postcard to your address or it will verify your phone number by phoning you. This helps to tell Google that you are where you say you are. Use your real business name (NOT keywords).

When prompted to select a category, it is also essential to your SEO that you choose the right one/s.

For SEO purposes, include keywords – both town and county keywords and your business keywords – where relevant in the company description, photo names and photo description but do NOT overdo this or you could get a black mark for spamming.

Do not forget to put a link back to your site from both your personal Google+ profile AND from the About page of your Google Local Business page or Google Brand page. You are also allowed to link to a few good blog posts that you have done.

Do not forget to interlink your Personal Profile and Business Pages – so that people who have circled one page have the option of circling your other page.

Complete your listing in a detailed helpful way – if all goes well, the description will help potential customers decide whether to interact with you and your keywords will tell the search engines what your business does.  Upload attractive photos. This makes your page look cared for and people are more likely to connect with you (circle you in Google+ terms).

Whatever type of Google+ page you get, the more people who share links from your website onto their Google+ pages, the better for your website’s SEO.

Unique Websites Google+ page is shown below:

Unique Websites Google+ page

Promise: If you are a customer or reader, we are happy to connect back to you from our Unique Websites Google+ page.

A Few Notes on Using Google+

Join some relevant communities, interact with people in these communities, make contacts and then add interesting contacts to your circles. The more people who circle you, the more people will view each new post you make (and therefore the more people might potentially share that post on their own page).

Interact with the posts that your circled people make – you can +1 a good comment or post, share it in your stream or make a comment on it.

Share interesting posts (from your own blog and other sites) and reply to comments. Aim to publish quality niche content (from your website and from niche leaders) so that people have a reason to circle you and interact with you.

Create Collections of things that are relevant to your business.

Above all in Google+, the emphasis is on interaction, not just spamming your own work.

As with all Google+ pages, the more people who share links from your website onto their Google+ pages, the better for your website’s SEO. In addition, the more +mentions you get, the more links you get to your company Google+ page; +1s might also help.

Link back to your Google+ page from other relevant Social Media sites to build up the links to your company page.

Accessing Your Google+ Page

Whenever you want to access your Google+ page (or other Google services such as Google Analytics), click the “Sign In” button at the top right of any Google screen:

google+-signin

If not visible, key “Google+ page” into Google and this will appear.

Google change the navigation of Google+ fairly frequently. At the current moment, clicking on your profile photo (top right of your screen) will make a drop-down box appear enabling you to toggle to your company Google+ page.

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