If you are just starting your business or want to optimize your business’s website, then a good way to start would be to optimize it for local search. Research has shown that a large percentage of people who buy from an online store first shop and compare prices online. Local business listing submissions is, therefore, one of the most important things a business should do in order to get found within a specific geographic region. One of the first places to start is with a Google places account.

• The main factor that affects the local listing search is the city location. If you provide powerful listings for your business, it will be ranked much higher in the search engines. In whatever cities and towns you provide services, you can list all of them with your website, which will expand your search range. Therefore, the distance of your business location to cities and towns plays a vital role in local listings.

• A second important factor to consider is your local business listing title. Many businesses try to insert as many keywords as they can into the title to get it to rank higher in the search engines. The result is that the title becomes too spammy and will potentially rank poorly. The business listing title should be restricted to the business name and a one or two words describing what the business is about i.e. Smith & Sons Auto Body.

• The third factor is category optimization. Google uses the categories selected to rank the website accordingly, and changes to local listings are made visible within a couple of hours. The guidelines to keep in mind while creating categories are:

o A maximum number of 5 categories can be created.
o No spam in the category field
o Be specific
o Categories should be descriptive and concise
o There should be no repetition.

• Another factor is the filling of the ‘Description’ field. The description filed is limited to 200 characters and should be concise, to the point, and include some of your target keywords.

• Local business listings are validated via phone and addresses; so, unique addresses and phone numbers are required to set up your account.

• Another field, which should be filled out is the Hours of Operation. They should be filled correctly so as to improve the local listing completeness.

• One of the last fields to be filled is the ‘Additional Details’. When local listings was first started by Google, they used information from trusted partners to create the listings. However, with the Additional Details field, users can add information that they prefer to show to the customers such as what products you have, what services you provide, etc.

• Just remember the more complete your profile is, the better you will rank. Pictures and videos should be added to improve your profile and whenever possible it’s encouraged to have your customers and cliental give you positive reviews. All of these steps combined will ensure that you’re your local business listing ranks well and coverts website traffic.

Adam Chronister is co-founder of Enleaf, an award winning Web Design and Internet Marketing Firm. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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