When it comes to Google, business owners must get noticed. Did you know that Google is responsible for over 64% of all the search engine queries in the United States? With the demand people have for Google, business owners have been looking for ways to make sure their business pulls up in the search results. To help businesses with visibility, Google created Google My Business, a tool that allows business owners to manage their online presence.
What is Google My Business?
Formally known as Google Places, Google My Business has been set up as a FREE tool for business owners to create a profile that shows their name, address, phone number, business hours, and website link. When people search for local businesses, a Google My Business profile can help to increase the chances of your company appearing in the results.
Claiming and verifying your local businesses listing is one of the most important things you can do for your business to be successful online. In fact, other companies actually use the information you provide on your Google My Business profile to fill out their online listings. Failure to have the right information on your profile could cause people to go to the wrong website, call the wrong company, and can cause you to miss out on potential customers.
Where Does the Information Appear?
The information provided on the Google My Business listing will appear in multiple areas on Google:
- Google sidebar – this appears in the “knowledge panel” when an individual is searching for the business by name. It will appear on a mobile device as a map result.
- Google local – the business information is provided as a geographical result with keywords and images related to the business. On a mobile device, Google changes the way the result looks to show how far away a business is from the person’s location on their phone.
- Google maps – information from the Google My Business profile will pull up as a map result in the search engine query.
It is critical to your business to list your business category in addition to filling out the profile, or your business will not appear in the correct search engine results. The information on Google My Business must be accurate, up-to-date, and relevant for your industry if you want to see results.
Claiming Your Business on Google My Business
How can you get started with Google My Business? If you have an established business, there is a good chance your business is already listed, you just need to claim it.
- Start by going to Google My Business, then click on “manage now”. You will need to set up an account with Google in order to start managing your business account, or you can link it to an existing Google account you already use.
- Once you have signed in, you will need to input your business name and address in the search box.
- Find your business in the results or click on “add your business” if it is not currently listed.
You will need to answer some questions about the business on Google so it can pull up the right data. Toward the bottom of the business listing, you have the option to select categories for the business. Selecting the right categories is vital to the success of your Google My Business listing.
- Verify Your Business. After you have spent time filling out the profile, you need to verify the business. Google will mail a postcard to the address you listed for your business within 1-2 weeks. There is a verification PIN on the postcard that you must use to verify the business to your new Google My Business listing. Some businesses do have the option to verify by phone or email, which makes the process faster.
- Confirm Your Business. Once you have confirmed everything, it’s time to start optimizing your page with pictures, descriptive information, and more.
You Own Your Google Page
Google My Business is a powerful tool, which you own! Business owners are capable of determining how their information shows up on Google, and you get to make sure every detail of your business information is accurate. Since it can take time to get this set-up, Performance Driven Marketing does provide this service for our SEO customers. We will make sure your page is properly managed and updated.
I Have Multiple Locations; Do I Need Multiple Google My Business Pages?
If you have more than one location, you don’t need to worry about setting up several pages. You only need one Google My Business page for all of your business locations, you simply need to add and verify each location attached to your listing. If you have more than 10 locations, Google does provide a bulk verification option. The benefit of the multiple location listing is that each one will have its own separate review page, and they appear differently in the local search results so people can find the right location they want.
I Have a P.O. Box – Can I Get a Business Page?
Several businesses do not have a physical location, and prefer to use a P.O. Box for their business. If you are in this situation, you will need to have your home address added for verification purposes. Google will allow you to mark your business as one that does not want their address added to the search engine results; instead Google will use the city name only on your listing.
Why Reviews Matter
One of the essential elements that makes Google My Business so powerful is the ability it provides businesses with to receive reviews from customers. According to recent research, 85% of consumers use online reviews prior to doing business with a company. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews will boost your businesses reputation, and will improve your business ranking in the search engine.
What happens when you start seeing bad reviews? You can’t please everyone, but you have to focus on improving what you can with your business. If you do have customers that have left a negative review, you must respond. Acknowledge the review and respond as quickly as you can. In some situations, people might have left the bad review on the wrong business page. Others may update their review and rating after speaking with the business owner or manager. The important thing to know is that you have to show your customers that you do care. You need to try and make things right, and you need to let your audience know that you are trying to do all that you can to improve.
The Power of Google My Business
When the search engine giant is offering your business free services, take them! Google is giving your businesses a valuable tool that can truly grow your business. As with anything related to your website and online marketing needs, you must have regular engagement and maintenance. Keeping up with all of these issues does require time, which most business owners do not have! Performance Driven Marketing will provide you with the help you need to keep your profile updated, allowing your business to gain the online traffic you need to stay ahead of your competition.