For a local business like a driving school, being listed in Googles Local Places is essential. While the organic search positions are crammed with directories such as Yell.com, Local Places is the bit where local businesses can shine. If you do a local search eg driving lessons Bristol, the Local Places listings are the ones with the address next to them. You will see Wanasite customer NoLs in amongst them!
It is likely that as people find increasingly that what they want is not among the organic listings that they will turn automatically to the Local Places listings.
How to get listed in Google Business / Maps
In the early days of Local Places, Google just compiled its listing by extracting the information it found as it indexed sites on the internet. Now its a little more complex.
1. Get a google account
2. Visit the sign up page here http://www.google.co.uk/business/placesforbusiness/ to claim your business listing. Verify your account complete your listing
Simple as that. However there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your entry is included in the listings:
1. Make sure you have actually verified your listing (by text/phone or post)
2. Complete the listing as fully as possible including uploading some photos
3. Usually its best to be consistent with use of your driving school name.
4. Try to get some pupils to add reviews
5. Get citations. Citations are quite simply listings on the internet that include your business name, address and phone number. They will often also include a link to your site but even this is not essential. Google will find these citations and these citations will validate your business. On the whole, the more citations the more trustworthy your business is likely to appear to Google.
6. More about citations try to ALWAYS use exactly the same information in terms of business name, address and phone number in your citations. Dont sometimes use road and sometimes rd.
Citations can be from websites that are national (UK wide), local or industry specific. Local or industry specific citations are generally the most powerful.
Note: the way Google ranks sites is complex and they dont give away many secrets. Other factors such as how close the address is to the city or town centre can be relevant to ranking sadly theres not much we can do about that!
Heres a few sites where you can get UK citations to get you started: