What does it take to get listed in Google’s local search onebox?
FYI for those who haven’t heard, the Google onebox is the box and map that show up on local search results for specific searches. Let’s say you search for microbreweries in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. In this case, we’re shown three links in the onebox. I’ve seen as many as ten. Regardless of the number of businesses listed for a particular search, however, is there a trick to know in order to be one of those businesses that appears in the Google onebox?
No, there’s no trick. All you really need to do is list your business with Google Maps. Whenever a searchers goes online to use Google to make a local search, Google brings up the one box for search queries and shows businesses based on their proximity to the search location. In other words, if you search for a broad area like Harrisburg Pa. then the search will bring up businesses that are located closest to the center of that broad area. But if you narrow your search to a specific area, or zip code, then the onebox will show businesses that are closest to that specific area first and branch out from there.
Change the above search to microbreweries in Camp Hill Pennsylvania, for instance, and the same three business appear in the onebox but in a different order. Notice that the one in Camp Hill is first, but in the first search (Harrisburg) it was listed third. The microbrewery located in Lancaster moved from second to third and the the one in Harrisburg that was first is now second. That’s because of Google’s emphasis on proximity to the specific locale being searched for.
One thing is clear: If you don’t list your business in Google Maps then you likely will not be eligible to appear in the onebox for a local search related to your business. If you’re a local business then you need to be listed in Google Maps, this will help with your local search engine marketing efforts.