Follow Us:
Claiming Your Local Business Listing on the Search Engines

Google MapsIf you run a local business and you haven’t claimed your local business listing on the three mainstream search engines (Google™, Bing™, and Yahoo!®), then read on. Claiming your listing is free and easy to accomplish.

So why should you do this?

Search engines like Google are committed to making the search for local goods and services as efficient as possible. As a valuable part of the Google Maps feature, a local business listing is an expansion of the search results that people get when they’re looking for an electrician or sushi bar, for example, in their neighborhood. The local listing in the screenshot below came up for the following search: “tax filing Maple Grove MN.”

Google Maps and Your Local Business Listing

Google may have already created a local listing for your business based on the existing information it has about your business and the third-party information that the search engine was able to collect. When you claim your listing, you’re actually verifying that the listing belongs to you. All three search engines have specific verification steps, which can generally be done by phone or postal mail confirmation. (For more details, read our article on How to Claim or Add Your Local Business Listing on Google Maps.)

Claiming your business listing also ensures that only you control the content of the listing. We’ve heard of people who have claimed listings that do not belong to them in an attempt to misrepresent a competitor or divert customers to their own business.

Once you’ve claimed your listing, you should verify that all of the information is correct—and make any necessary corrections. You should also explore the options that are available for customizing the information in your listing and promoting your business. You’ll find options for including maps and directions, hours of operation, logos and photographs, and much more. And just like with your website content, we recommend that you keep your local business listing fresh and current.

Search engine listings provide a valuable means of driving local customers to your business—and to your website. Few things in life are free, so it’s nice to have a free tool that can improve your overall Web presence, including your website traffic, your estore sales, and your SEO campaign results.

The listings also provide valuable features for tracking search results, listening to your customers, and offering them discounts. For example, with the built-in dashboard reports that come with your local listing, you can monitor the keywords customers use to find you, the parts of town that generate the most searches, and the number of daily visitors who see your listing. Customers can also rate their experience with your business and write reviews. And you can offer printable coupons as well as other special promotions to your customers.

Ready to get started today? Just use the following links:

Google Local Business Center

Bing Local Listing Center

Yahoo! Local Listings

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


    1. Hi Don,
      I certainly agree with you that the local business needs to tap into local business listings as their new marketing tool. This industry is going to benefit the local business reach for the local consumer through Web searches and mobile searches.

      What I am most concerned about are small and local businesses having to contend with multiple websites when it comes to their local listing. What I’m really talking about are “time resources.” After all, there are over 60 websites in four different categories specifically geared towards local listings. How can a local or small business have the time resources to cover this space? Even if you made a conscious decision to not manage all 60, there are well more than Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask. The space goes to Local.com (they went public), Yelp, MerchantCircle, and many others.

      Consumers will be the ones deciding which of these local listing websites they will go to and post their experience through consumer reviews. This adds to the burden that no one single local listing website will do the trick.

      Good information from your post, and hopefully varying opinions help give perspective.

      1
    2. Good points all around, Melih. You are absolutely correct; the number of promotional options can be overwhelming, especially to a new business on the Web. Given that any business always has time and resource constraints, it becomes difficult to determine which vendor brings real “cash register” value and which vendor the website owner should not spend time and resources on.

      Another major consideration is the competitive situation that a small business is in. A small electrical contractor in New York City faces a different competitive landscape than does an electrical contractor in a much smaller city, say Bend, Oregon. The NYC customer is going to have to be more aggressive in promoting their business in order to be seen among the many competitors, who are also likely to be aggressive for the same reason.

      Regardless of the business’ location or offering, our recommendation is to take advantage of the local listings that the three main search engine players offer as the starting point for promoting a small business.

      There are many good directories, listings, and websites that can add additional promotional value and take a local business to the next step in terms of being seen on the Web by additional potential customers. We encourage small business customers to look closely at the reports that the three local search engines provide. That information is a veritable treasure map that leads to the paying customers—where they are, what they are searching for, on which days of the week they are most actively searching, etc. Having that information alone provides a competitive advantage to determining the next steps in promoting a local website.

      2
    3. This is a good resource for people to utilize in their local business strategy.
      Thanks for such wonderful examples. Shelly

      3
    Join the Small Business Forum Community
    The Small Business Forum is a place where small business owners can learn, ask questions, and share advice on how to succeed online