Local SEO greatly enhances your business’s online outreach into your community.

One key to effective local SEO is to list your business on Google Business Profiles (GBP). Website optimization not only improves local SEO, but search result standings in general.

Here’s how to get your business listed on Google and enjoy more customers and prospects.

Local Google Searches

Every successful business needs to be seen not just by some people—but by the right people. And for local businesses, this means being seen by the people in your local market area.

When a prospect does a local Google search, such as “Italian restaurant ‘near me’” or “Dog groomer in Summit NJ,” they will get local SEO results, including Google Maps and Google Searches.

Listing your business on Google Business Profile and optimizing your business website will improve your local SEO rankings with Google.

Read about understanding SEO for small businesses.

The Importance of a Google Business Profile Listing

The major benefit of having a Google Business Profile is it vastly improves your local search engine ranking and visibility in the search engine results page.

This increases your chances of being seen by those customers who are in your location and will truly use your business.

Two women looking at a cell phone outdoors

If you want more foot traffic, you’ll be interested to know that Think with Google reported that “88% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a related store within a week.”

Use Google Business Profile—a free, easy-to-use online tool—to list your local business. Larger companies with many storefronts can use GBP to improve their local online presence in specific areas.

What Information Is in a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile includes essential information about a business, including the:

  • Official business name
  • Business category
  • Business description
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Website address
  • Products
  • Services

It’s also used to receive and respond to reviews, take reservations, give directions to the business, and much more!

What Kind of Business Qualifies for a Google Business Profile?

Google states that the following businesses can list on Google Business Profile.

  • You make in-person contact with customers but don’t have a physical address
  • You’re a business that both visits customers and also meets customers at your business address
  • You’re a service business that visits or delivers to customers directly, but doesn’t meet customers at its business address (e.g. roof cleaner, landscaper, etc.)

Exclusively online businesses are not eligible for GBP.

Understanding Google’s Local Search Algorithms

While no outside sources can definitively say how Google’s search algorithms work for local searches or Google Maps—or for any search for that matter—Google does provide the following helpful information.

They state that businesses can improve their local ranking by becoming listed in Google Business Profile.

The information is used by Google Search, Google Maps, and other websites through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

A woman in a flower shop looks at her computer and talks on the phone

For example, Google may use your hours and location listed on your profile to determine whether you’re a good match for someone searching for a business that’s “open now.”

Google may also include additional information in their search results. If someone’s looking for a restaurant, they may include a link to the menu or other relevant information provided by another source. Google performs this thorough gathering of information to help the customer make a truly informed decision about whether they want to visit the business.

Google’s Local Business Ranking

Google says it determines local business rankings based on the following factors.


This refers to how well your Google Business Profile matches the searcher’s request. The more detailed information you provide in your profile, the better Google can understand your business, increasing the likelihood that you will be seen as a good match.


A variety of location sources can be used to derive this distance calculation from the searcher to the business.


According to Google, this relates to “how well known” a business is.

If a place, such as a museum, is well-known offline, it will boost their rankings.

However, this is where Google weighs all the other information they have gathered about your business from across the internet.

Sources can include:

  • Websites
  • Articles
  • Links
  • Directories
  • Reviews and ratings

Here website SEO optimization plays a big role in your local Google search and Maps results.

Google also recommends that if your business isn’t showing up in local search results, you should check that your GBP is “accurate, complete, and engaging.” In other words, well optimized!

Optimize! Optimize! Optimize!

A well optimized Google Business Profile and a well optimized, frequently visited, website will likely make Google’s ranking algorithm happy.

Optimize Your Website

Ways to optimize your website include:

  • Use social media to increase traffic to your site
  • Include relevant, valuable keywords
  • Post attractive, appropriately sized images
  • Post relevant videos
  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly
  • Gather meaningful local links and backlinks

Find out more about why your website needs SEO.

Read about the differences between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Here are ways to optimize your GBP profile.

  • Make sure it’s complete and accurate
  • Add quality, attractive photos of your business
  • Keep all business information current
  • Add a description using appropriate keywords
  • Publish posts for special events or with other current information
  • Respond to all reviews—positive and negative

An important note: Websites developed with Google Business Profile were shut down in March. Be sure to add your new website address.

A man working in a store looks at his laptop and tablet

Be Consistent in Your Marketing

Keep your online marketing efforts consistent across your Google Business Profile, website, and Facebook and other social media platforms. Google looks for consistency.

If you change your contact information, change it everywhere. Your business’s mission statement should always read the same.

Use identical colors and logo to reinforce brand awareness with your existing customers and prospects.

If you want to set up your Google Business Profile now, link to Google.com/business to get started. Evans Alliance is a full service marketing and advertising agency. Contact us to manage your online presence and grow your brand.