Aug 11, 2019 - 07:24 PM
This space has changed a lot over the past couple years. You've probably noticed map packs show in search often for searches that don't even name the location (instead the location is gathered from the IP address or mobile location).
For example, if I search for "pet store" or "pizza," I'm automatically given a set of results local to me, both on desktop: and on mobile:
Now that Google has created the Google My Business service (GMB), it's really easy to claim your business. Since you are a chain & have a physical presence in many locations, you are already at a distinct advantage. You can bulk upload a spreadsheet to Google to manage all your locations.
Claiming your locations will allow you to control the photos, descriptions, URLs, hours, categories and other important information about your locations. By encouraging reviews from your customers, doing other traditional SEO efforts like gaining links & citations, you can easily be ranked higher in those map packs, giving you a strong presence in all your locations.
I suggest jumping on this sooner, rather than later, because Google is already experimenting with the idea of charging for some of the GMB aspects & you'll want to be grandfathered into them.
As you get further along your GMB efforts, you'll notice you can do posts & other things to encourage people to visit your store(s). But first things first, go claim your profiles.