Put Your Local Business on The Map

The previous chapter was all about market research. You learned how to understand your customers, how to define buyer personas and why they are important  and how to analyze your competitors.

In this chapter you will learn...

  • What an online listing is.
  • Why you should care about it and what it can bring to your business.
  • What information every listing should contain.
  • How to claim and verify your business location.
  • A list of different platforms to consider for registration.
  • And many other helpful tips throughout the chapter.

What Is an Online Listing for a Local Business

Basically, it's a “local business listed in the online database, where people are looking for it.”

An online listing means your business information is listed in different databases where people are searching for them. These databases are the most used apps and online services worldwide.

These are some examples:

Platforms for Online Listings

Maps

Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, MapQuest, Yandex Maps, Bing Maps, etc.

Google Maps

Search Engines

Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, etc.

Yahoo!

Online Databases

Zomato, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, etc.

Yelp

Let's take Google Maps. If you open the app, you will probably see some businesses around you. These places can be submitted by users or sourced from different databases.

Businesses Around You on Google Maps

You can (and should) also claim and verify a location you are running. If you have a restaurant, you can take over the control and fill in the correct information so customers will be able to find your business more easily. 

With a rise in the use of technology in recent years, a phenomenon known as Hyperlocal SEO appeared and has become a common part of life for almost every internet user. 

Search engines allow users to find information and businesses based on their location. That's why there has been a whopping 900% increase in search terms like “near me.”

Benefits of Listing a Local Business

Having an online website for your business is important. But it's not enough. When searching for local businesses, it is very hard to break into the search results. This is because your website is missing a location context. 

In other words, your business will not appear in the search results unless you have your business listed and claimed. Search engines need structured information about your business like location, attributes, category etc. 

We may say the main benefit is that your business becomes much more visible for the people searching online.

Business Listing on Google Maps

Moreover, you can benefit from websites that people already know about. Millions of people are searching for information on Google, not just on your website.

These listings also improve your online reputation. 64 percent of consumers trust online search engines more than anything else, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

These listings are usually free and can be considered as a free place to advertise for local shoppers.

If your current customers  are looking for information about you, it is easier for them to get information such as a phone number, address, opening hours etc.

There was over a 900% increase, in the past 2 years, of searches that included the term “near me. It means that there is a significant increase of people searching for a local business within 5 miles of their location, which they usually visit afterwards.

What Should Every Listing Contain

The key thing is to provide potential customers with all relevant information, if possible. Only then can they find you, learn about you and go to your place.

Regardless of the service you are providing, each listing must contain the following information...

NAP

NAP is an acronym for Name, Address and Phone. These are the basics of every listing, so people can find and get in touch with you.

Also different services provide one-click features, so people can easily use navigation to get to your place, dial your phone number or visit your website in a single click. Check out the example from Google Search below...

Google My Business
If you run multiple locations, be consistent in regards to your name. This consistency will prevent any misunderstandings with your customers or visitors.
Starbucks on Google Maps

Opening Hours

Let people know when you are open. Be sure your opening hours are correct and consistent across platforms. If there are any changes, let the listing platform provider know that there are changes regarding the opening hours.

Description

Describe your business as clearly and as concisely as possible. Provide accurate information, get straight to the point and be brief.

Business Description on Google

Actual Photos or Videos

Include some photos of your products, interior, team, neighborhood etc. People will better understand what they can expect and your business will become more realistic and easier for potential customers to trust.

Website

Include a link to your website, which is optimized for mobile screens. 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.

Correct Business Category

When people are looking for a type of a business, and they usually do this, you need to provide accurate information.

For example, if they are looking for a restaurant, you shouldn’t be listed in cafés. 

Attributes

Everyone has different requirements. Some people want to pay by card, some people need a parking lot and some people need vegan food.

Your job is to tell people about every attribute your business has.

Attributes on Google My Business

Why Should Listings Contain All That Information

You might ask why it's such a big deal.

If you do not provide complete information, the customer will go to a business that provides the desired information. 

If you have a coffee shop, you may have 10 competitors on the same street. It is therefore up to you to provide the customer with the most clear and accurate information possible.

72% of people who conduct a local search will visit a store within 5 miles of them.

Local Search on Google Maps

Claim Your Business

Claiming a place means that you gain complete control over the profile of the business. You can edit all the information mentioned above. This will not only give you more credibility in the eyes of potential customers, but your business will appear more often in search results.

It turns out that only 44% of local retailers have claimed their location. So, it's quite easy to differentiate, and this can dramatically increase your visibility in a local area.

To claim your business on Google, click this link.

Short link

Claiming your business also brings you the advantage of a short link. Your listing can then be accessed with a link like this – g.page/[businessname]. To learn more about short links, visit Google's support page here. You can use this link as a target URL for your online campaigns while promoting your store.

Verify Your Locations

Before your Google My Business listing appears in Search and Maps it must be verified. Verifying your listing is a simple process and Google offers a few different ways to do it.

On Your Computer

1. Go to https://www.google.com/business

2. Sign in to your Google Account (or create one), then, click “Next”

3. Enter your business’ or chain’s address and create or claim your listing

4. Fill out basic information about your business

5. Submit for verification

On Your Smartphone

1. On your phone or tablet, open the My Business app

2. Sign in to the Google Account you’d like to use to manage your business

3. Enter your business’ or chain’s address and create or claim your listing

4. Fill out basic information about your business

5. Submit for verification

This process ensures that you will have complete control of the listing and you will be able to provide detailed information about your business in the way you want.

Optimize Your Business Listing

Even though filling out a profile is important, there are some more things you can do to maximize profit from it.

Attributes

Add as many attributes as possible. It helps people find a business corresponding to the exact requirements they have. Accepting Credit Cards? Name it. Vegan food?

Tell them.

Attributes on Google Maps

Menu

List your menu online, so people can easily learn more about what they can expect when they visit.

Menu on Google My Business

Photos and Videos

Invest in professional photos and videos of your business. Provide photos of your products, interiors from different angles or even neighborhood photos so people can recognize your store more easily.

Create a spheric 360° photo of your interior.

Collect Reviews

Ensure that you have as many reviews as possible. It builds trust between potential customers and your business. Up to 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. Over 90% of consumers say that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Be sure that you ask your customer to leave a short review. It turns out that up to 68% of consumers will do that when asked.

How to Get There

Provide detailed information on how to get to your business. Especially when your business is a little hidden, for example, if it is in a shopping passage. It simplifies the journey of a potential customer to your place.

Use an app called Skitch to create a picture of a map with your location.
Business Location

Where to Park

Make it easier for your customers and help them find a place where they can easily park. These little insights can make the decision to go to your place easier.

Google's Complementary Map Services

Google Maps is the world's number one in terms of usage. Just in the U.S. alone, Google Maps had over 150 million users in 2018, followed by Waze and Apple Maps with under 50 million users combined.

Map Services Market Share

Basically, regardless of the region, you should claim your business on Google.

But it doesn't mean that you should ignore other apps. From a global perspective it might not be a big deal, but if we focus on a specific region, these numbers may vary slightly.

In the information below, we have provided a list of other alternative Map services where you should consider registering your business.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Despite its wild start, Apple Maps has built a strong market position. They are especially strong in the USA, Western Europe's and Asia's major cities.

📖 Read a guide on how to claim your local business on Apple Map.

Yandex Maps

Yandex Maps

With over 20 million monthly users Yandex Maps are a significant map player in the East Asia region. Especially at the local level. They provide high quality maps and has strong database of local places.

📖 To claim your business in Yandex Maps, follow this guide.

Bing and Here Maps

Bing Maps

Maps from Microsoft, both connected. Its global share is significantly lower than Google's, but shouldn't be ignored. They source point of interest data from Yelp and TripAdvisor.

But Bing has its own places database, where you can claim your business and add your own business information.

📖 Here is how to claim your business on Bing Maps.

Waze

Waze

Waze is a slightly different case. It is more of a car navigation app, but users are usually looking for a local business on their way. Like restaurants, grocery shops etc.

Waze is connected with Google (Waze acquired by Google in 2013) and source data from it. If a user is looking for a restaurant in the Waze app, it shows results from Google Maps. Simply said, if you register your business in Google Maps, it will appear in Waze too.

But Waze has its own places database, which is preferred while searching, so it is also good to place your location here as well.

📖 To do that, follow this article.

Other Map Apps

There are dozens of map apps people are using across the world. MapQuest, Yahoo! Maps, Windy Maps and so much more. Try to think about a local market and its specifics. Maybe there are some special apps people use in your region, like Mapy.cz in Czech Republic. Then find the way, how to list your business there.

Put Your Business in a Specific Local Listing

People are not only looking for businesses in map apps or search engines, especially when they are looking for a specific type of local business. This is why so many online databases appear.

Global platforms

These platforms work almost everywhere around the world. They usually focus on a specific segment, which its users value the most. The main benefit is, that they provide more information about the listing relevant for a specific niche market.

Let's take Zomato as an example. It's a global platform for listing all restaurants, bistros and coffee shops. Its features are built for this environment. Users can find specific information about restaurants nearby, filter their results (by category or price level), see the detailed menu, etc.

Zomato

TOP Platforms to List Your Local Business

  • Foursquare
  • Zomato
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor

📖 See our giant database of all the possible platforms where you can be listed.

Local Platforms

On the other hand, there are dozens of region-specific platforms and apps which list local businesses. These platforms are usually focused on a specific niche.

One example is Restu. It's a restaurant listing platform with reservations from the Czech Republic. This platform is only relevant in the Czech Republic, so every restaurant in this region should consider putting a listing here.

Restu

Finding hyper-local platforms seems like a big deal, but it's not that hard.

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  • Ask your customers which apps they use.
  • Check out where your competitors’ businesses are listed.
  • Go to google.com and search something like “local [location] [industry] apps”.

Reservation Platforms

You should also consider reservation platforms like Booksy. These will not only give you an online presence with a specific listing, but they also include a reservation and booking system.

These platforms invest huge amounts of money into building and creating a seamless booking experience for customers, so that you don't have to.

Despite the given facts, these platforms are not usually free (but often offer freemium with limited features), it's definitely worth the investment of a few dollars a month.

Key Takeaways

  • List your business in a database where people are looking for local businesses.
  • Being listed brings your business more visibility and credibility.
  • Claim and verify your business location in Google (use the Google My Business app).
  • Don't only use Google, do some research to find relevant local platforms and list your business there.
  • Be sure that information like opening hours, contact information or photos provided are up to date and accurate.

Is your business already listed? Have you claimed your listings across relevant platforms? I know, it's a lot of tasks and it takes some time, but do it! It will reward you in the future. 💰

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