Writing a business description for your business listing on Google can be an intimidating task, even if it’s only 200 characters long. It’s even more dispiriting on Yahoo! where you’re given a full 1,000 characters to describe your business.

What should I write? Does it really matter? Will it help my ranking on Google Maps? These are the questions I asked the first time I was confronted with this task, and I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing.

This article is going to answer the first question in detail. The answer to the second question is a resounding “Yes,” and you’ll find the answer to the third question with conclusive proof before you finish the article.

What The Experts Do

As a local search engine marketing expert, I’m always looking for ways to optimize my description text for the search engines while grabbing the attention of my readers. This can be tricky, but very rewarding if done correctly. Unfortunately, most business owners and local search marketing professionals don’t give it the attention it deserves. This is a big mistake.

When writing the description text for your local business listing, you have fewer than 30 words to inform your human readers about the products and services you offer while simultaneously providing the search engines with fodder to promote your business to your target market. Here are three of my favorite ways to accomplish that task.


If you don’t tell people what you do, they’ll assume you don’t do it. Fortunately, Google gives you an opportunity to briefly tell the world what you do in one to two sentences. Here’s an example used by a very successful mortgage company on Maui.

Premiere Mortgage is a Maui mortgage company specializing in home loans, debt consolidation, home refinancing, jumbo loans, lot loans, construction loans, condotel loans and second home loans.

Notice how the description text includes the geographic modifier, “Maui” along with their litany of services. Many people would not know that a mortgage company offers debt consolidation or condotel loans, so the people at Hawaii’s Premiere Mortgage Company decided to use this space for just that reason.

And here’s the proof. If you do a search for the term, “condotel loans” + “Maui” you will discover that Hawaii’s Premiere Mortgage comes up in the top position. This is proof that Google does pay attention to the keywords in your description text and uses it in their rankings.


Location, location, location. You may have a business that’s located in a place that’s hard to find. Maybe your business is located in the basement of a warehouse or inside a grocery store or down a hard to find alley without proper signage. If this is the case with your business, you can use your business description to provide potential customers with directions. Here’s an example.

Go two blocks South of the Big Chicken in Marietta and turn left into the Honda Car Dealership. Joe’s Appliance Repair Shop is in the back of the same building. If it has a plug, we can repair it.

This is generally not how I want to use the business description section offered by the search engines, but if location is a problem, it’s always my first choice. If customers can’t find your business, they’re not really customers are they?

However, there are a few things added to this directional business listing that give it additional value.

To start, it includes three geographic markers; the Big Chicken, Marietta and the Honda Car Dealership. If you’ve ever been in Marietta, GA you know that the Big Chicken is a local landmark known and revered by the people who live there.

And since local people will often search using terms that include local landmarks, adding these terms could very well cause your listing to show up on the first page of results when these terms are used.

Take Advantage of Every Character

And since we were able to provide accurate directions to Joe’s using only 150 characters, we were able to use the remaining characters to tell people what Joe’s Appliance Repair did. “If it has a plug, we can fix it.”

If your location is hard to find, use this space to tell people how to find you. If you have extra space, tell the world what you do.


This is my favorite way to describe a business. I like it because it can be used by almost everyone and it’s by far the most believable and persuasive. Best of all, you don’t have to write it yourself. Let your customers do the work for you. Here’s how it works.

Take your very best testimonial and paste it in your business description. Let your customers do the bragging for you. Here are a couple of different business description examples that could be used by the Internet Marketing Association of Hawaii to persuade searchers of the quality of their programs.

Wow! I learned way more than I expected and I had a lot more fun than I anticipated. I can’t wait for the next Java Gym! – Sydney Smith Coloriginals.

Mahalo for a very informative, fun and educational meeting. I could have stayed an additional four hours to listen to what you had to say. Lee Wheeler – Keller Williams Real Estate.

Notice how the testimonials do a better job of describing what this association does than anything the association owner could have said. It’s persuasive, believable and genuine.

The other thing I want you to notice is how each testimonial ends with the name of the person who provided the testimonial and their business affiliation. This is another way of adding trust.


As you can see, your business description does matter. It can inform your potential customers about what you do, where you’re located and what your customers think about you and the service you provide.

Will it help your ranking on Google Maps? Up until a few weeks ago I would have told you, “I don’t know.” However, based on my personal research, I have to assume that Google and all of the search engines do pay attention to the keywords you use in your business description and that they do reward you with higher rankings, especially if you use geographic qualifiers and/or product or service related keywords. Look at how Hawaii’s Premiere Mortgage Company is doing for the term “condotel Loans Maui.”

You can’t underestimate the value of a good business description. Write it with care and use it to your greatest advantage.

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