Google My Business
Most people search for your business on their phone, and then check your reviews, and then your website. Make sure they can find you.
Get your business set up with Google My Business so people can find you in “local” searches on the internet. Google Search and Google Maps rely on information provided by your Google My Business listing. Claim your business location and set up your listing.
Then get positive reviews.
If you have a business location, you need to be taking advantage of local web search. When was the last time you opened a telephone book to find a local business? Your customers are searching using their mobile devices and finding (or not finding) you on Google Maps and Google Search. If you are not showing up in local search, you are losing business.
- Locate or create the Google account you use to manage your business.
- Claim your Business and add information.
- Build your reputation by getting reviews.
Get a Google account
Most people have created a Gmail or Google account. If you have an Android phone, you had to set it up using your google account. If you use the Chrome browser, you may have created an account. If you use Gmail, you have a Google account. If your email is hosted by Google (Gsuite) you have a Google account.
If you can’t locate your Google account, you can create one as part of claiming your business. See below, or go to the Google Account creation page and follow the instructions.
Claim your Business
If you have not already done so, claim your business listing. Google My Business’ Business Profile encompasses what was once known as Google Places for Business, Google Listings, and Google+ Business Pages. If you have an old listing, you may have been converted over to the newer platform.
Go to https://business.google.com Click “Manage Now”
Verifying your business listing on Google protects your listing from someone who may attempt to pose as you. Verification also allows you to edit detailed business information.
Once your business is verified, you will be able to log in and add details about your business. According to Google, verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users. Once you add information, customers are more likely to engage with your listing and leave a review.
Be sure your address, phone number and website listing are exactly the same across all your local listings (Facebook, Yelp etc.). This improves your ranking in Google search.
You can go to Moz: https://moz.com/checkout/local/check, and put in your business name and zip. This will show you where you stand with the many websites that list your business address.
Reviews are a critical part of building your online reputation. You want to encourage your (happy) customers to leave a review of your business. The most effective way to get reviews it to ask. If you provide a service involving multiple steps, set the expectation at the beginning of the sales process – something like: “We expect you will be very happy with … and will be asking you for any referrals you want to provide as we complete our work. We also will ask you to take a moment and review us on social media.”
Be sure to collect the email addresses of your customers if possible. You can then follow up with a letter something like this:
First off, I want to thank you for your business. Without great customers like yourself, BUSINESS would be nowhere.
Because we value you as a customer, your feedback regarding our business is extremely important to us. We want to continue providing the best possible service to customers just like you, and the only way we can achieve that is by gaining feedback.
We would genuinely appreciate you leaving us some feedback on Google. To do so, please click on the link below. It’s simple, quick, easy, and painless to do!
[Generated Google Review Link]
Again, thanks so much for being a loyal customer. Your business and your feedback mean a lot to us all here at BUSINESS.
Make it easy. Link to your local listings review page on your website. Follow up with them and ask for a review when it’s appropriate. Do not try to influence your customers by providing a reward. This can get your listing banned.
Check your reviews – set your Business listing to notify you when a review is posted and then respond where appropriate. You can thank reviewers, clarify mis-information, and respond to negative reviews.
Detailed instructions for claiming your business.
Go to https://business.google.com Click “Manage Now”
Log in with your Gmail or linked business account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, or don’t want to use it for managing your business you can create one. Click on the “Create account link”
Locate your business
If you don’t see your business location listed, you will be asked to locate it:
Enter the name of your business, then select it from the search results.
Add a location:
Enter the address:
If your business has already been claimed using another account, you will see this:
You may get multiple choices – pick your address:
You may have another Google account, and just need to log in with the existing account. If not, someone else has claimed your business, and you need get it back.
If you log in and you have not claimed your business, you will see this:
Until you’ve completed verification, you won’t be able to edit the business information that appears on Google products. For most businesses, verification means requesting, receiving, and reading a verification postcard from Google. This can take a while.
Once your business is verified you can add details about your business.
When filling out your listing follow these guidelines:
- 1. Avoid claiming duplicate listings – you want only one verified listing with each search engine, at each physical address.
- 2. Do not use call tracking numbers for your phone. You want the same number to appear across all listings. Use a local phone number rather than a toll free number – it ranks you higher as being local.
- 3. Be sure to use an email address associated with your website domain: firstname.lastname@example.org, not email@example.com.
- 4. Take full advantage of the available space by providing a complete and informative description of your business, being sure to include the right key words. Emphasize your unique selling proposition. Mention product lines or brands you carry if appropriate.
- 5. Choose your business categories carefully. This is critical to being found. Do not include the city or location – it will not help. In some cases you can type in custom categories. If you do, use Blumenthal’s Google LBC Categories Preview Tool to find synonyms that are recognized by Google Places. Use a predefined category as the primary listing, but feel free to customize the additional category listings. Take full advantage by using every available slot.
- 6. Testing has shown that selecting a service area is actually detrimental to your listing. If you have a physical location, rely on that.
- 7. Upload at least one, and preferably 10 images to make your listing complete. This can include your logo, the building frontage, products, staff pictures – anything that showcases your business best. Google My Business allows you to upload up Videos. Only one video counts toward completing your listing. We also have an article on simple tools and techniques to create your own videos.
- 8. Check your listing for spelling and grammar – you want to present a professional appearance online.
Make sure your web site mentions your location, and that the city or area you are in is included in the web copy for relevant landing pages, page titles, and tags. For example, your page title could be “Great Tacos” or “Burritos, Tacos and Mexican Food in Visalia Ca.”
Google Local Search Statistics – 2019
- 46% of all Google searches are local. The same article revealed that 60%)of the people who search for local business use smartphones. (Hubspot)
- 97% searched online to find a local business (Source: Hubspot)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results.
- 88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
- 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps
- 72% of consumers, who search for local businesses, end up visiting stores within five miles. (Hubspot)
- 97% of people find out more about a local company through the internet in 2017. (BrightLocal)
- 2% of all web traffic worldwide originated from mobile phones. (Statista)
- Almost 2 of 3 smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location. ( Think with Google )
- Today, more people give importance to online reviews than ever before. BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Survey revealed that a majority of consumers would regard a local business highly based on positive online reviews. 73% of consumers trust a business based on positive reviews.
- An average consumer reads seven reviews to develop an opinion about a company.
- 88% of local clients trust reviews.
More information: https://www.google.com/business/faq/
Take your marketing online by getting set up with local search. You can’t afford not to.
By Tim Torian