Whether we are speaking at the Toronto Board of Trade or at a local SEO meetup in Oakville, the first piece of advice we give attendees is to grab their Google local listing at the Google Local Business Center.
It seems like a no brainer but most companies assume that they have no say in the listings that Google provides in Google Maps. The truth is that you can enhance your local listing in Google so that you appear in the search engine results pages for your favorite keywords and you don’t even need a website.
Why Should You Care About Your Local Listings?
A recent local search study by TMP Directional Marketing & comScore’s Annual Local Search Study, indicated that search engines remain the “primary source” of local business information for consumers, while print media usage continues to decline.
Gregg Stewart at SearchEngineWatch points out that:
Google Maps usage grew from 15 percent market share in the fourth quarter of 2008 to the number one local search site in the second quarter of 2009 with 24 percent market share, according to the comScore IYP/Local Combo Report.
How We Search for Local Business Information
Search Engines 31%
Internet Yellow Pages™ (IYPs) 21%
Print Directories (White and Yellow) 28%
The numbers don’t lie. Search engines provide the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to local business information. Meanwhile, IYPs™ are gaining strength at the cost to their printed counterpart.
More Credibility with Increased Exposure
The more exposure you create for your local or National business on a search engine results page, the more authoritative you are perceived to be by the average web surfer. Appearing in Google Maps, sponsored listings and SEO results should increase your click through rate by 25-30% and then its up to your website to close the deal.