SEO and Google´s local branch directories

Google's local listings directory has become an important factor for search engine optimisation. This is especially true for small and mid -sized businesses which want to attract customers from their area. Google has long shown a map with local search results, before displaying the list with the actual search results. Many businesses have apparently not yet recognised the opportunity they have to improve these lists in their interest.

With our tips you can increase the visibility of your company in its own catchment area or region.

What is a local Google listings directory?
The search results are different to standard results lists or adverts which incur costs. Mostly the list of local branch results appears at the top of the list of search results, provided the user enters a certain service followed by a place or city name. A map of the area and up to 7 businesses appears with their URLs and telephone numbers.

How can I optimise this list?

If you are a company that wants to market your products or services in your region, you can enter your firm into Google Places. Below are some tips on how you can optimise your Google Places listing and subsequently improve ranking and visibility, taking Google guidelines into account.

Google Places owner check
Before you can begin optimisation, you need to confirm you are the owner of the business. Google Places sends a PIN to your mobile phone or in the post to check your ownership status. As soon as you have the PIN, you can enter it in the overview of your business in your Google Places account. After Google Places has checked your entry, it is switched to ‘live’ in Google search and you can edit or update your entry. Opening an account with Google Places requires some basic prerequisites, it can be opened for free here:

Make sure your data is 100% complete
Businesses which have entered all the information into the contact form and ticked all the options are treated preferentially by Google. This includes the methods of payment that are accepted, opening times, photos and videos of the company.

Title and company description
You have 200 characters to describe your business. Ideally, you should use the keywords here that you have used on your website. Don’t get carried away with the number of keywords. Try to ensnare the reader and describe the overall characteristics of your operation with short words. The main keyword should be in the description, but it should also be appropriate in the text.  

Business categories
You can classify your business by entering up to 5 categories and sub-categories here. Try to enter something in all five. Start with the main categories, which you think customers will search for first, the remaining categories should describe the services your company offers. This will optimise the number of matches in the search results and thus reach more potential customers.

Business address and telephone number
If your business is active in just one location, you should only have one Google Places entry. If you have several locations, it is recommended you make one entry per location. It is also advisable to enter a normal telephone number, rather than an 0800 number.

By following these few steps, you have a good chance of being displayed in local search results. Of course, we’re happy to help with more complex search engine optimisation – just ask us!