If you’re a small business such as a hairdresser or coffee shop, it’s crucial that you set yourself up with a free local business listing on Google. Google actually recommend you start with a local business listing (as one of your online directory submissions), before you even get your own website.

Of course, I would recommend you just get both, but the cool thing is that with a Google My Business you can actually setup a one page website as well. Below I’ll explain what a Google Local Listing is and how to set one up.

Who needs a Google Local Listing?

If you’re a local business, as in someone who goes out to clients (i.e. Plumber or Electrician) or customers come to you physical location (i.e. restaurant or make-up artist), then a Google listing is super important. In most cases you will get found on the first page of Google for your business type and locality before you website makes it up on the first page.

As you can see, here a search for “carpenter lara”, returns AF Carpenter services first in the Google Local Listings as the search recognizes that you are looking for local carpentry businesses.

Local business displayed in Google Locals Listing

Then, with some local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) applied to the website we have created for this client, his website shows up. So there is a very good chance that with, not one, but two listings on the first page of Google, this client gets exposure and ultimately business from having both a local listing and his website.

Of course, you don’t need to be just a local business to take advantage of Google Locals. Even if you offer services online, and don’t need to meet with client physically, like we do in website design, you should still be present with a local listing.

Online business displayed in Google Locals Listing

See our listing above, as you can see, once again using SEO has allowed a few businesses (including ours WEBuildSITES) in the web design space to have more than one search result on the first page of Google. This is an advantage for any business.

How do you set up a Google Local Business Listing?

You can simply do a Google search for “Google My Business” and search for the link as below. Alternatively visit www.google.com/business. This will bring you to the setup pages.

Search for Google My Business

Simply click on the “Manage Now” button to get started.

Then you can either choose to Manage a business that you already own and Google knows about it, but in most case you will click the link below and select “Add your business to Google

Add your business on Google

Then you can simply follow the prompts and continue to enter the information about your business. Starting with “What’s the name of your business?” Be aware that to prove that you are a real local business you will have to verify some information. For example, by getting a code through SMS text to your mobile and you may also need to verify a code that is physically sent to you by Google via snail mail. This is understandable, as Google really want’s to keep their listings clean and not full of businesses that are not real business.

Once you have set up your business, do a search on Google for you business name. As you can see that with a simple search of your business name (like the image below with WEBuildSITES) you will have a whole right hand side of the Search engine results pages (SERPs) to yourself. With details of things like your address, phone number, website link, opening hours and even ability for customer reviews.

Google Search your business name and see your listing

The other search you can do is a locality search. One that includes your industry/niche and your suburb/town in the search. See if your business is listed within the Google Locals Listings. You may need to click “See more” if there are more than three businesses of the same type in your area. And the way to get on top of those listings is simply to be the most popular business in the area. For example be sure your listing is up to date and with plenty of customer reviews.

As you can see having a Google Local listing is of real importance to your online marketing strategy, and should be the first of the online directories that you setup your business on. Forget the old methods of searching Yellowpages, with Google being the most popular search method in the world, you would really be putting yourself at a disadvantage if you didn’t spend the time creating your G-space. Potential customers are looking for you on Google, so get started with a Google Local Listing today.