Whether you’re the owner of a small business or a large corporation, you’re likely a bit familiar with “claiming your business listing on Google.” You’ve received phone calls about it, emails about it, and solicitations from companies that can help you claim your Google business listing. You know you should have a Google listing, but you’re not really sure why or where to start.
Recently, I’ve had a couple clients ask me these very questions. What is this Google My Business page? Why do I need it? Isn’t my website enough?
Having a website is definitely a great first step to building your online presence. However, building a website is similar to building a storefront. If you spend time, money, and resources on creating an amazing store, you’re going to want to spend some time, money, and resources on building the “roads” to get there. Consider your Google My Business listing one of those roads. Additional “roads” to your website include pay-per-click and general search engine optimization. See the graphic below to understand the roads I’m referring to.
If leveraged properly, you’re able to dominate the first page of Google for searches related to your industry.
One key point to understand is that your Google My Business page helps your business show up in the local search results section of Google. These results are displayed based on a number of different factors and can be different for each user. For example, if I search for the keyword “restaurants” from our Bonita Springs office, here is what I am presented with.
However, if I change up my search just slightly to include “restaurants Bonita Springs,” I’m presented with 3 entirely different options.
Showing up in this local search area of Google, or the Google 3-Pack as it’s now called, means that you are in front of a potential customer already searching for your goods/services – at no additional advertising cost to you.
First, you must already have a Google account. Typically, it’s ideal to associate one Google account with any Google products you already use (Analytics, AdWords, YouTube, etc.). This way, you have it all under one login and are able to easily access everything. (There are other implications as well, but I will save that for another post!)
Once you’ve added your business, you will need to verify it via a postcard. You will need to enter your business name and address to do so. Once that’s entered, Google sends a postcard with a pin number that you will need to enter to verify your listing and prove that you are indeed the business owner. (It’s a somewhat tedious process, especially if you have multiple locations.)
After your business is verified, you’re free to make updates, including:
Another tip to keep in mind is that you’ll want to ensure that your business name is the same across all local listings, i.e. Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google My Business, etc. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it certainly helps to display the same names across all accounts for you to prove that you’re the same business.
For example, we often refer to Lewes in a few different ways:
While these are all accurate representations of us as a company and the services we offer, it’s best for us to stick to one name throughout any local listings we have for consistency.
First of all, it’s free to list your business on Google My Business – and don’t let any company tell you otherwise. (Keep in mind that the listing itself IS free, however, if you are to work with a digital agency, there will most likely be some sort of setup/maintenance fee involved.) If you are to take care of this yourself, the only cost to you is time.
It also offers a place for your customers to leave reviews about your business. We cannot stress this enough – reviews are what make your Google My Business page get listed above the others (mostly technical reasons). It also allows potential customers to see what other customers have to say about your product/service.
Bonus tip: if you ever receive a negative review, you have the ability to respond as the owner, which is the best course of action to take.
Whether you plan to work with an agency to setup your Google My Business page or are ready to dive into the world of Google on your own, I cannot stress how important it is to set this up and monitor it on an ongoing basis.