If you’re a local business owner you’re likely aware of how important it is for your consumers to be able to locate you or where your services are offered. As the savvy entrepreneur you are, you probably even understand how critical it is to have an online presence today be it over social media or a website. What you may not have considered however is how important it is be found in online local listings. Perhaps an oversight or maybe you’ve just deemed it unnecessary but according to Google, businesses with complete and detailed online listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers with 38% indicating they’d be more likely to visit and 29% more likely to consider purchasing.
Despite these findings, a Google study has shown that only a mere 37% of businesses have taken advantage of online listings, creating a clear lack of opportunity for conversions and revenue. In an attempt to encourage the greater use of local online listings Google has launched a program entitled ‘Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map’.
Designed to help 30,000 cities get their businesses online, it’s not unlike other sites that encourage online activity; it allows your consumers to see a localized version of your site based on their IP address. Google explains how these individualized programs will help build online local directories:
“…this tailor-made program provides each city with a custom website where local businesses can find helpful resources, including a new diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they appear on Search and Maps, a step-by-step guide for getting online with Google My Business, and a free website and domain name for one year with our partner, Startlogic.”
In addition to providing businesses not yet online at all the opportunity to take advantage of a year free access to a domain name and hosted website, Google is also attempting to partner with local chambers of commerce and small business development centers to get involved in getting business data online. Small businesses are encouraged to participate in Google My Business workshops where they can learn to publish and control the information listed about them on Google Search and Maps:
“We’re also forming partnerships with local organizations—like chambers and small business development centers—and equipping them with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops… These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone—and they recognize the value of getting businesses online.”
Although these services are currently only offered in selected cities, it’s vitally important to get a jump on local listings to ensure you’re exactly where consumers can find you. Head to Google My Business and check your listings, if they’re incomplete simply follow the steps as directed by Google and get listed!