18 Aug 2009

7 Steps to Assure Your Business is Included in Local Search Results

August 18, 2009Local Search

Is your business included in local search results?  If you’re a small business owner, you may be so busy building your business in the real world that you haven’t considered the importance of optimizing your website for local search. If you’re one of those business owners, you’re not alone. But it’s also important that you don’t underestimate the power of local search. As Google and Bing continue their quest to deliver relevant results for keyword searches, you and I are seeing more local results for broad searches with local intent. For example, just do a search for chinese food or chinese restaurant and this is what comes up in the #1 position for Google and Bing.

I’m sure you’ve seen listings like these. Do a search for other terms like plumber, dentist, doctor, and florist and you’ll see similar 10-pac results right at the top. What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re a small business owner and you haven’t optimized your website for local search, you’re behind the game. It’s not enough to rank well for keyword searches anymore. Your competitors can now bump you from your top ranking by dominating the local search results. There are many ranking factors involved in local search marketing. But don’t worry, I’m going to share 7 steps you can take to assure your business is included in local search results.

Check your local listings

First things first; let’s check some local listings to see if your small business is already listed, or if it is listed, let’s make sure your business information is accurate. This is a small list of the more important local search engines. Of course, there are lots of other niche local business directories, but we’re not going to focus on those right now. To check your local listings, enter your business name and zip code at these local searches:

  1. Google Local 
  2. Bing Local 
  3. Yahoo Local 
  4. Yelp
  5. Directory Assistance Plus

7 Steps to Improve Local Search Marketing Results

Depending on how your results turned up for your searches, you’ll either want to add your business listing (if your business didn’t show up at all), or claim your business listing (if it showed up, but information was incorrect).

  1. Add your business to the Google local business listings.
  2. If you need some help with this, check out Google’s local business center user guide and ask questions in their support forum for business owners.

  3. Add your business to the Bing local listing center.
  4. Need help? Check out Bing’s SEO Guide or ask your questions on their community forum.

  5. Add your business to Yahoo local directory.
  6. Bing won’t take over Yahoo’s search results for 2 years, so don’t overlook this one.

  7. Sign up for Merchant circle.
  8. When you do, you’ll have access to various tools to promote your local business, including a blog, newsletter, networking with other local businesses, and the ability to add coupons to your local listing.

  9. Add your business to Yelp.
  10. Here’s an introduction to Yelp and how it can help your business.

  11. Add your business to Localeze business listing.
  12. Add your business to the InfoUSA business directory.

Of course, once your small business is included, there’s a lot more that can be done to improve your local search marketing.  Once you’re included, there are multiple factors that can lead your business to inclusion in the 10-pac results on page one. Vertical Measures offers local search marketing services to help assure your website is represented among these, and other, local search engine results.


  • florida search local Aug 18, 2009

    Another great post. Merchants circle is a great place to start. They rank very well. I love YELP too.

  • Scott Oct 21, 2009

    Thanks very much for the article(s) ralph. I’ve been banging my head trying to figure out how a competifor is the only listin google local for the search term “austin auto insurance”. I’m starting to read your articles and hopefully will figure out how they’re doing that. Thanks for sharing…great stuff.

  • Ralphm Oct 21, 2009

    Thanks Scott. If you want to skip the learning curve, you might consider our local search marketing services.

  • George Phillip Nov 12, 2010

    Great post on link building, very useful thank you.