If you're not quite ready for the full-scale project of designing, launching and maintaining a Web site, but want to lead Web surfers to your business, a local business profile is for you.
A local business profile is inexpensive, easy to update and gives you a direct presence on the Internet. It's especially helpful for businesses that don’t sell online, including restaurants, salons, boutiques and food stands that cater to a local crowd or tourists. Professional practices such as small law firms or doctor's offices can also benefit.
What Is a Local Business Profile?
A local business profile is a one-page Web site that offers Internet searchers everything they need to do business with you, including:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Fax number
- Web site address (yes, you can have both)
- Map with directions to your location
- List of products or services you provide
When someone enters your keywords into a search engine, your profile will show up in the search results just as a Web site would. So, for example, if someone is searching for an auto repair shop, and uses a geographic term such as "Chicago", the search engine will return not only all Web sites for auto repair shops in Chicago, but local business profiles as well.
Google automatically displays a map with local business profile business locations with results flagged, allowing searchers to see exactly where you're located.
How Much Maintenance Is Required?
Once you create a local business profile, you need to manually submit it to all the search engines you want it to appear on. Any time you make changes, you will need to resubmit your profile. You can take care of the process yourself or hire a company to do it for you for a fee.