If you’re operating a small business in Orlando, Florida, it’s important to understand where you need to be focusing your time and valuable marketing dollars when it comes to promoting your brand online. In this article, we’ll share how to promote your business online to sell products and/or services to pull people into your physical location(s) to purchase through local SEO.

Google My Business (Local SEO)

First things first. If you have a physical location, regardless of whether you’re selling products or services, it’s important for you to start your online marketing presence by first claiming your Google My Business listing on Google.

Google My Business is, without question, one of the most important pieces for real estate your Orlando small business can establish online. If you’re not familiar with what Google My Business listings look like, chances are you’ve seen them and just didn’t know it had a name.

Here’s an example of what Google My Business looks like for a search I did locally where we’re headquartered in Clermont, FL, for the phrase “pizza near me”:

As you can see above, Google is able to understand I’m physically located in Clermont and will nearly always show “local” businesses near the top of its search results via Google My Business listings. The same type of search results can be seen for even basic searches such as “pizza”, “realtors”, “brewery”, “restaurants”, “mechanic”, “spa”, etc. The list goes on and on.

Claiming Your Google My Business Profile

When you’re looking to “claim” your Google My Business listing on Google, you will be required to submit a request for Google to send a postcard to your physical address for confirmation of your business, but requires you first have a Google account such as a GMail address.

Once you’ve submitted the request, the postcard usually takes about 4-5 business days to arrive even though your business is in Orlando and Google is in Mountain View, California. That said, please be diligent with your mail and not throw away your postcard which is all too common of a mistake businesses make thinking the postcard is junk mail or a solicitation from Google to do Pay-Per-Click ads via their Ads program.

Here’s what the Google My Business postcard typically looks like:

Here’s what the postcard typically looks like inside:

Once you’ve received your postcard, simply log in to Google My Business and punch in the verification code listed on the postcard. Once this has been completed, your listing will go live quickly and will now be fully “owned” by your business.

Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile

You own your Google My Business listing and now you’re all set, right? No. Claiming your local profile listing does NOT mean you’ll get into the prized “3-pack” in search results (see above search result example for “pizza near me” with one ad and three Google local listings for visual reference.)

In order to gain traction and move up the local search results in the Orlando area for Google My Business listings, your company will need to first optimize your local profile.

Optimization of your new Google My Business profile should include the following:

  • The Name of the Business (it should be the legal name of the listing)
  • An accurate address
  • A local phone number that is unique to the location
  • An email address that is official and checked regularly
  • A link to the main website
  • An SEO optimized description
  • Primary category that describes the business with at least one category being Google sanctioned
  • Office hours of operation
  • Payments accepted
  • Photos
  • Videos
  •  Additional Details (fully customizable)
  • Ongoing content contribution such as blog posts, special event announcements, special or limited time offers, etc.

Now that you’ve optimized your Google local profile, it’s time to kick things up a notch to ensure your business can climb up the local listings for people searching locally in Orlando for your products or services. This is done by building what we call in the local SEO industry as “citations”.

Building Local Citations

Citations are your businesses’ listing on third party directory-style websites whereby the exact dataset you put on your Google local listing matches your main criteria including:

  • Business Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Business Description
  • Payment Types Accepted (if applicable on third party sites)
  • Etc.

When it comes to building local citations, it’s important to note that not all local citation sites are created equal in terms of authority in the eyes of Google. In other words, focus on authoritative citation sites first and then focus on second-tier, less authoritative sites for submitting your business.

A few authoritative citation sites where you should submit your Orlando business include:

  • Yelp
  • Manta
  • Local.Yahoo.com
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Superpages.com

Parting note:

If you’re operating a business in Orlando and have a physical location or require local search and/or foot traffic in order to sell your goods and services, Google My Business should be your number one priority in terms of promoting your business online.

If you find yourself a bit outside your comfort zone in attempting to optimize your listing on your own, just give us a call for a free consultation and let us get you to the top of local search. CALL 407-604-0990.