What Is Google My Business?
Google provides businesses and organizations the ability to manage some key online information across Google Maps and Google Search. It provides your customers valuable information about your business and allows you to communicate more effectively with them.
Some of the information you can manage includes:
- Your Business/Organization Name
- Your Address
- Business Type
- Hours of Operation
- Phone Number
- Services Offered
- Questions and Answers
This is just the beginning! Google is adding new features all the time. Just last year (2018) they introduced the ability for business owners to upload videos. As more people are using smart voice devices in their homes it will just be a matter of time before some voice capability is included in Google My Business.
And best of all, it’s FREE!
Why Is It Important?
The information you enter in Google My Business not only displays to people searching for your business on their desktops and mobile devices, but it also helps influence where you display in some search listings. Studies have shown that Google My Business is an important factor in determining where local businesses display in the so-called “Local Search Pack”. Having a complete and accurate business listing can be a competitive advantage!
It also helps your potential customers learn more about your business. More are more people are researching businesses online before stepping foot inside a physical location or picking up the phone. You have the ability to showcase your business and earn the trust of potential customers. Using such features as Google Reviews, Posts, Photos, Videos and Q&A, you can get a great deal of information in front of people to help establish your reputation and earn their trust.
How Do You Claim Your Google Business Listing?
In order to claim your business listing you have to be a business or organization with a physical address. No on-line only businesses are allowed. You don’t have to do all your business from a physical location, though. Service-based businesses (ex. plumber) that travel to client’s locations are allowed to have a listing.
The process starts by requesting your listing through Google. The easiest way is by using the link below.
Once you’ve provided some basic information about your business and your physical address, Google will usually mail you a postcard to verify your location. When you receive this postcard it will include a code and a link where you can complete the verification process. It usually takes a week or less to receive the postcard.
What Should You Do With It?
The first thing you need to do is fill in as much information as possible! Don’t leave any sections blank if you can help it. The more information you have in your listing, the more information Google and you customers can use.
Especially make sure you Name, Address and Phone Number are complete and accurate. This is your “digital fingerprint” as far as Google is concerned. It allows search engines to tie together your various online profiles. Make sure you’re being consistent with this information on any other online or social media platform.
Another key consideration is to keep this information up to date. Check your listing often to ensure nothing needs to changed. Have your store hours changed? Do you offer any new services? All this should be updated on your business listing.