Google My Business (previously Google Places and Google+ for business) is an easy way to get your small business showing on Google. It was launched this year in June as an integrated platform for businesses, combining two previously separate dashboards. This platform now allows you to manage the information for your local Google business listing from a single location.
The My Business listings show when people indicate they are looking for a local service by including location in their search. They appear below the first few ads in conjunction with a map pinpointing the relevant locations (outlined in red in the image below). It’s a fantastic way to get your business and website noticed.
Searchers want to find local businesses quickly so make sure to take advantage of this. When people search “cleaner London,” “maths tutor Birmingham,” or whatever describes your business, you should have a listing up to make potential customers aware of you.
Although this platform has been around for a while now, it’s surprising to see how many businesses have yet to embrace and take advantage of this marketing opportunity. If you need further convincing, here are the top reasons you should get your business onto Google My Business:
- It’s free
You won’t have to invest any money; all it takes is a little time. Considering the potential payoff to your business, there really isn’t a reason for you to put off trying this platform.
- It appeals to local audiences
It enables you to take advantage of the fact that you’re local. Potential customers looking for products and services similar to yours will find you quickly and easily. And because they can see your proximity to them, they are likely to choose you.
- It’s versatile
My Business is appropriate for almost everyone. Don’t worry if you’re running your business from home and don’t want your personal address publicly available, you can set up a ‘service radius’ to indicate the area you serve instead. So no matter if you are a bakery with a shop front, or a business consultant working from home, My Business is still for you.
- It’s so simple
Google have ensured that the set up and management of the My Business profile is so simple anyone can do it. Users are clearly guided through the set-up process. It’s easy to follow and quick to complete so you can get back to running your business.
To make the set up even simpler, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
Begin the process by visiting the Google My Business website and either sign up with your existing account or create a new Google account if you don’t already have one.
1) Enter the name of your business in the search bar to see if a listing already exists. If you see your business listed in the results, click on your business and follow the steps to set up a Google+ page. Finish by verifying the listing. However, if you do not see your business, select the last option from the drop down:
2) Fill in the address information and double check it’s correct. Make sure you have access to this address; Google will send an activation code to this location to verify the account.
If you do not have a storefront but rather travel to the customer’s location, you can set a ‘service area’ that will be associated with your listing instead of a physical address.
Alternatively, if you have a storefront but also travel to your customer, tick the box that indicates you deliver goods and services to the customer in the address input window. Then tick the ‘I also serve customers at my business address’ box in the subsequent window (shown above).
3) When entering the category, search a few different phrases to ensure you choose the one which most accurately describes your business. This is how Google matches peoples’ searches to your listing so you want it to be accurate to ensure it is only shown to people genuinely interested in and looking for the product/service you provide.
4) Google will require you to verify your listing to ensure you are authorised to manage this page. This prevents anyone from having control over your listing that isn’t supposed to. A card will be sent to the address you have provided which will have a verification code on it to activate your listing. This code will generally arrive within 2 weeks.
5) The final step is to set up the Google+ Page. Ensure you include good quality pictures and lots of relevant information; make it look as good as you can!
After you’ve completed the activation process, keep an eye on your listing and make sure to update your page frequently. Monitor your page’s activity and respond to reviews; it’s up to you to make the most of Google My Business.