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This post originally appeared on September 15, 2017.

With more and more people searching for businesses before they visit or call them, optimizing your local listings is more important than ever. Having your listings show up in a local search, however, can be a challenge if they aren’t properly optimized. If you’ve been looking for some ways to make your local listings rank higher, here are five places to get started with optimizing your local listings. 

1. Enter Complete Data

Accuracy and consistency is the key here, because the kicker with local listings is that missing information can be suggested and fact checked by users and search engines. You should be consistent wherever your information is posted, be it Google My Business or anyplace else. This means it’s not 343 Elm Street here, 343 Elm St. there, and 343 Elm elsewhere. Make should you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business: physical address, phone number, category, and other relevant information. If something changes, be sure to update your information, and make sure to routinely audit your listings to catch and update any incorrect information. 

2. Verify Your Listing

Verification allows you to manage your business information on Maps, Search, and other Google properties. The process to verify a listing varies from business to business, so make sure to follow the exact instructions in your Google Business Profile. Often, multiple forms of verification will be required and can include phone, text, email, video, postcard. Google may require you to verify your listing again after updating your listing, so make sure you stay on top of this step.  

3. Correct Your Hours

If you say your business is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but you’re closed on Fridays in the summer, that’s a problem for your clients. One call or trip to your office when you’re closed but your Maps listing says you’re open is a good way to get a bad review.

4. Manage Your Reviews

Speaking of reviews, they’re important. Request them from your happy clients and respond to new reviews to show you’re actively interested in solving any problems. High-quality, positive reviews from clients raise your overall rating score and improve your rank in search. Of course, be sure that you don’t divulge any personal information on your clients in your responses. 

5. Add Photos

Photos give potential clients an idea of what to expect when they visit you, from what your office looks like to the kind of work you do. They help them get comfortable with your business to a degree, which can give them more confidence in scheduling with or contacting you. Add as many relevant photos to your listing as you can, and add new photos periodically to keep them updated. 

We Can Help

If your business isn’t coming up in local search, make sure you’re checking off all of the steps above. And if you have, and you’re still not showing up, contact one of our representatives for a free consultation.

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