Optimizing Google Local Profile

Google and all the other search engines are looking for “accuracy”, “verification & completeness” of your local profiles.   In the local search world your business Name, Address & Phone # become your “digital finger print” .  It’s important on every directory listing , website, citation , that these 3 reference points are accurate and consistent.

Remember the 2 questions Google is asking every website and business listing is “Can I trust you?” & “Are you relevant”.

This post will walk you through how to claim and optimize your Google local profile. You can than “rinse & repeat” to claim and optimize your Yelp, Yahoo and Bing local profiles as well.

Step 1: Claim Your Local Profile

Go to www.google.com/local/add and sign in with your gmail or google account. Follow the instructions to find your business and claim it. You can verify by phone (immediate) or by post card (takes 2-3 weeks). If you have any q’s on claiming your business watch the video on the home page.

Step 2: Add Business Information

Add your business information.  In the business description make sure to add “keywords” about your service.  In this example of an optometrist we have “eye exam, optometry services, lasik co-management, contact lense fitting, eye glasses, etc…” within the description.

The other important element to note is choosing the correct “Category” or “Categories”.  Be sure to add as many “relevant” categories to your listing as possible.  You can be listed in up to 5 categories.  Just type in the start of the keywords and the category box will autofill.  For example if I type in “eye” , eye care center, lasik surgeon, optometrist, ophthalmologist, etc.. pop up.  Select the categories that apply to my business in 1 of the 5 category boxes.

Here is a link to a post on our blog with a video on how and a tool that allows you to search the entire database of Google Maps categories based on synonyms.

RECOMMENDATION: Search the city + product/service you offer and note which businesses show up in the local map results.  For each competitor click on “more” or “reviews” button and note what specific Categories they are using.  These will be important in optimizing your listing.

Step 3:  Photo’s & Video

It is important to add photo’s and a video to your profile.  Not only does this show the search engines “completeness” of your profile it also is extremely valuable when prospective clients visit your profile.

You should upload 10 images of yourself, staff and business.  The more personal the pictures the better.  Stock photos and logos really don’t make a big impression with visitors.

The first photo you upload will be the “default” picture that will show up in the Google Maps listings.  I highly recommend this be a headshot of the business owner or staff representative.

For a video at a minimum we suggest to make a slide show from the pictures, create a video and upload to Youtube.

Example of how the default picture is viewed in the Google  Maps Listing:

Step 4: Additional Details – Custom Subjects

This area allows you to create your own custom fields and add additional information about your business that is relevant and allow you to add “keywords” that people may be searching for.

If you are a healthcare provider these are some custom fields you may want to add:

  • Professional Education:
  • Conditions:
  • Treatments:
  • Therapies:
  • Specialties:

RECOMMENDATION: As in Step 2 note what custom fields your competitors are using in describing their business.

Example of Additional Details Section:

You are now finished.  Click on submit and you are done.

and “Additional Details” custom subjects they have used.  These

After you have claimed and filled out your Google Local Profile you will want to complete the same process with Yelp, Bing Local and Yahoo Local.  There are some slight differences with each directory, but the process and principles are all the same.

To Claim Your Listings on these directories go to:


About don

President, Expand2Web

6 Responses to “Optimizing Google Local Profile”

  1. This is a great step by step guide, thank you!

  2. Michelle Grigsby August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

    What if I did this “before seeing this tutorial” and you want to make some changes and add things. Will that hurt me?

  3. Michelle Grigsby August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

    The listing hasn’t been “activated” yet…i’m still waiting for the PIN via postcard…FYI

  4. Michelle Grigsby August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    It looks like if I edit anything, it will have to be re-verified…is that okay? I haven’t done any manual submissions to any other of the big 6 directories. (sorry about the multiple comments)

  5. Hi Michelle,
    Yes you can make changes, but nothing will show live until after you get the postcard and complete the verification process.