These local Google business listings (aka “Google My Business”), which are only for companies with a brick-and-mortar location (see exact Google qualifications here), show up on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) in response to searches for products, services, or companies. They usually display just below the paid ads leading the results and link to Google Maps.
In the past, your Google local business listing was a stand-alone account set up to be listed on Google SERPs and Google Maps and to be rated and reviewed by customers with Google accounts. Today, it adds a social media component, also integrating with your Google+ business page.
Some main pros and cons of Google My Business:
- It’s free.
- Integration with SERPs, Google Maps, Google+, and user reviews provides a lot of branding, marketing, and targeted traffic potential.
- Local listings can provide high online visibility even when your website pages aren’t ranking well. One reason is that in many (but certainly not all) industries, there’s much less competition from local brick-and-mortar businesses than from web-based businesses.
- That last pro bullet can also be a con; it’s only for businesses with physical registered addresses. So, if you have a local online-only business, you’re excluded.
- If you’re located in a smaller city next to a larger one in which you primarily conduct business, your listing usually takes a back seat to those located in the larger city.
- Your brick-and-mortar establishment has to offer a “common” product or service. So, you’re out of luck getting your drive-thru Orlando llama shearing business listed.
- Setup can be confusing, as is true of many Google accounts these days. Start with a single personal Google account; if you start setting up multiple Google accounts with different email addresses, you’re headed down a rabbit hole that’s incredibly difficult to get out of.
What is Google Carousel?
Lastly, you may have heard about a new type of business listing called Google Carousel. These listings work just like Google My Business listings, but they look different and, for now, are exclusive to the travel, hospitality, and restaurant industries, as well as some select sports and entertainment venues. Google’s still developing this service, so it’s frequently changing.