Picture the scene:
It’s day 3 of our honeymoon, and my husband and I are starting to get hangry.
We quickly open TripAdvisor and scour the area for the nearest restaurant with decent reviews.
There are plenty of options. In fact, it seems like every single restaurant in the area shows up there.
We find a fantastic little Italian place in a matter of minutes, and thoroughly enjoy it.
But who knows if there was another restaurant with even better food and service just around the corner?
This I know for sure: If we couldn’t find it online, we weren’t going there.
That’s why you need to set up local listings for your business.
But if you’re reluctant to take your brick-and-mortar business into the online world, don’t worry.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps of creating a local listing for your business in all of the best places.
You’ll soon be equipped to never miss another potential sale!
What Are Local Listings, and Why Do They Matter?
In short, local listings are online listings for your brick-and-mortar business.
These aren’t the same as your business website. Basically, local listings are brief overviews of your business that show up in the places where people search for them, like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor.
So, what makes these local listings important?
Firstly, local listings allow people to find your business when they need it.
When people need a service or product and aren’t sure where to find the store that sells it, they’re very likely to look online. If you have local listings set up, you’re putting your business directly in front of the people who are searching for it.
And, what do they do once they find you online? Well, according to one study, 50% of people who do a local search on their smartphone visit that business within a day.
So, creating local listings is directly linked with getting more traffic to your brick-and-mortar store.
Secondly, local listings will help your business’s website to have a healthy SEO profile.
Setting up local listings in various places gives your website plenty of new, valuable local backlinks.
These backlinks are especially valuable to you because the websites they’re coming from have a great amount of authority. The more authority linking websites have, the more authority they transfer to your website with those backlinks!
Just think: TripAdvisor has a Domain Authority (DA) of 95, Google and Facebook both have a DA of 100, and Yelp has a DA of 94. These high authority website can do wonders for your own website’s SEO.
So, let’s find out how to create powerful local listings in all the most important places online.
The Ultimate Local Listings Guide: Get Your Business Local SEO-Ready
Google My Business
This is the first, and probably the most important business listing that you’ll create. Considering that more than 1.17 billion people worldwide use Google search, getting your business in front of people is best done by setting up your local listing on GMB.
First, go to Google My Business. Click “Start Now” to begin the process of creating your business listing.
From start to finish, this will take you less than 10 minutes to set up. Let’s see how it’s done.
Step 1: Add Your Business Name
Google wants to know the name of your business. Use your legal business name, and make sure it matches with what’s on the signage in your brick-and-mortar store.
Also, you don’t need to include where your business is located within the name. Even if you’re part of a chain or franchise, just include the legal name of the business (e.g. “Pizza Hut” instead of “Pizza Hut Boston”). Google will figure out where you are in the next step.
Step 2: Add Your Location
It’s time to add your street address. Use the actual address of your business, where customers can come to have face-to-face attention. PO boxes cannot be used to create a local listing.
But, what if you own a business that goes to its customers, like a plumber, electrician, etc.?
Well, you’ll still need a physical address, even if it’s your home address. Don’t worry, Google will hide this address if you ask it to. Just check the box at the bottom that says “I deliver goods and services to my customers.”
Once checked, another box will appear, asking if you want Google to hide the physical address you put in. If the address you entered isn’t a manned store, check this second box as well.
If your business does have a physical store address, then Google will ask you to pinpoint it on a map. Doing this will help ensure that people know exactly where your business is when searching for it.
Step 3: Select Your Business Category
When choosing your business category, it’s important to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of “restaurant,” you could choose “Chinese restaurant,” “pizza restaurant,” etc.
By choosing a category that’s more specific, you’ll be telling Google which searches your business is most relevant to. That way, it can present your business to people that are looking for you.
Step 4: Add Your Phone Number and Website
While this is an optional step, I highly recommend you include both your website and phone number. This gives people even more ways to find you and communicate with you, which can only lead to good things.
Plus, adding your website gives you a nice juicy backlink straight from Google!
Step 5: Verify Your Listing
Lastly, Google will ask you to verify your listing. This can be done by postcard, phone or email.
Once your business listing is verified, you’ll have full access to the listing, as well as be able to read and respond to reviews of your business. You can also add more details to your business listing such as:
- Business hours
- Profile picture
- Google virtual tour
You’ll also be able to see insights relating to your business listing, and watch how it helps your business grow. All of this is available to you from your GMB dashboard:
In order to create a page on Facebook, you’ll need to be logged in from a personal account.
Once you have your own personal Facebook account, go to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php to get started.
Step 1: Input Your Name and Address
To start, you’ll need to select what kind of page you want to create:
Then, you’ll add in general business information:
Unlike Google, you can add your location in with the business name on Facebook (e.g. “Pizza Hut Boston”). If you run a chain of businesses, make sure to create a listing for each separate location.
Everything else is the same as Google: Add a category that’s most specific to your business, and use the legal address of your business.
Step 2: Upload a Profile Picture and Cover Picture
These pictures will help people identify your business, so it’s important to add images that customers will recognize.
As an example, the profile picture is a great place to put your business logo, while the cover image could be a picture of your team or physical store.
Check out how L.L.Bean uses their Facebook profile and cover picture to catch attention and speak the message of their brand all at once:
Step 3: Customize Your Profile
Once you’ve completed these steps, your local listing is up and running! However, you may want to add a few more details for people to see, including a link back to your website.
On the front page, click on any of the tabs on the left to add information.
You can also customize the format of your page using templates, as well as rearrange which tabs appear on your page. Hit the “Settings” button in the top right corner, then select “Edit Page” from the menu on the left.
Step 1: Claim Your Business
Start by going to Yelp for Business Owners and searching for your business.
If you find your business in the results, fantastic! Click “Claim This Business” in red on the right of the listing.
If your business isn’t among the results, scroll to the bottom and click “Add your business to Yelp.”
Step 2: Enter Your Information
Once again, you’ll be asked to input the same information:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Opening hours
You’ll also be asked for your email address, which will need to be verified.
Once you click “Add Business,” the listing gets sent off to Yelp’s moderators to make sure it’s a legitimate business. Once it’s been approved, your listing is live!
Listing your business on TripAdvisor is especially important if you’re located in a place that thrives on tourism.
Here’s how to create your listing.
Step 1: Choose Your Business Type
First, check to see if your business is already listed on TripAdvisor here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners
If it is, you can claim your business. If it’s not listed, you can create a new listing here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/GetListedNew
TripAdvisor gives you four categories to choose from: hotels, restaurants, attractions and vacation rentals.
Step 2: Input Your Name and Address
Once you choose what kind of business you want to list, you’ll be able to input the general information of your business, as well as how you’re related to this business.
Step 3: Add Your Contact Information and a Brief Description
Next, you’ll be adding more contact information, as well as your business’s website and Facebook page.
For hotels, at this point you’ll also be including the price of your hotel, as well as a short description.
Step 4: Include the Essential Details
At this point, the information you’re asked to input will depend on the business type you chose. For hotels, you’ll see this:
Since users are able to filter their searches based on these parameters, it’s very important to be as accurate as possible. For example, if you don’t check the box that says “Spa,” users who are searching only for hotels with spas won’t see your hotel on the list.
For restaurants, you’ll be asked to fill out this information:
TripAdvisor allows you to select up to five different cuisine types. Try to get this specific to the main foods your restaurant serves.
Local attractions will see this form:
Again, be as accurate as possible, as this will affect how people view your listing.
Once you submit this information and it’s approved, your listing will be live!
The Next Steps: See How Your Local Listings Boost SEO
Completing your local listings is certainly a cause for celebration.
But it’s not over yet.
You’ll need to keep all these listings up to date, and make sure that they always hold the most recent, accurate information. With your Facebook listing in particular, it’s also a good idea to keep up activity on your profile, posting pictures and status updates to keep your page visible and alive.
You should also track the insights provided by both Google My Business and Facebook to see the impact of your local listings.
There are other ways to track results too, especially when it comes to the SEO benefits for your website.
You’ll be notified when you gain backlinks from your local listings, as well as if you lose any, so you can quickly chase up any issues.
Try out Monitor Backlinks for free for 30 days to watch how your local listings are helping your business grow!