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Getting Local Exposure Online Through Map Based Search – Fueled Friday

Over the next several Fridays, I will be discussing the different methods of getting local search engine traffic. I want to start with map based search results. Have you ever done a web search for a local company and seen a map appear with business listings next to it (like the image below)? Every local search does not produce a map based results, but for the ones that do, there lies a great opportunity to attract local website visitors without paying an arm and a leg.

mesa-az-local-chiropractor

So your next question should be “how do I get listed in the map based search results?” The first step towards showing up in being listed. If you have not claimed your business listing at Google, Yahoo, and Bing, you need to go to each of their local business centers and claim your business. It does not cost anything to do this, so there is no reason not to. When you claim your listing, you will have to verify the contact information and other data about your business. In some cases, you can verify this with a phone call and in other instances, you will be sent a postcard in the mail with a PIN to verify your business listing.

Your business profile will usually be live within a few weeks. Doing a search for your business by name will help you confirm whether or not the listing is live. What you really want is to rank in the top searches by keyword that come up next to the map and there are a few things you can do to increase the odds:

1. Build a Complete Business Profile. Make sure to fill out every area that you can. Where you are able to add images and videos, make sure you go the extra mile because the search engines are looking for quality profiles to return as search results.

2. Choose the Right Business Category.
When selecting the business category, one “secret” is to do a search and see if it produces a map based results (since not all do). If it does not, then you might want to choose a category that reflects an industry that you serve that does display a map as this will give you far better results.

3. Make Sure Your Address is Accurate. One of the things that really bothers people is when they live close to a certain area, but their physical address does not reflect that they are close to a larger city. The search engines are pretty smart at knowing exactly where your address is, so don’t worry. Keep in mind that your business will show up relative to searches done around your physical address.

A few more notes on addresses:
– The business address cannot be a P.O. Box. Yes, I have seen them go through, but just know that is not what they are looking for.
– If you have multiple locations, this is a great opportunity to capitalize on this by making sure you have a profile for each location.
– If you operate a home based business, keep in mind that if you use this address in your profile, it will be public. Some people do not realize this until it is too late.

4. Get Reviews. This is the single most important element in my opinion. If you do a local search, you will notice that most of the listing that appear next to the maps have reviews – and lots of them. Just about any local site where someone can do a review will eventually make its way to the reviews in your local business profile. One thing we do for our clients is put together a document with all of the local business listings at sites such as Insider Pages, Yelp, etc and tell them to share this document with their clients and customers and we have seen great results from this.

I hope this is helpful. If you have a local search marketing success story, please share it in the comments below. Also, if this is your first attempt at setting up your local business profile, please let me know how it works out for you.

Have a great weekend!

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