Most businesses, even ones that sell only online should be leveraging a location-based strategy. To do that the first step is creating a Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and its growing portfolio of utilities.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business helps business owners manage their business and help them rank. It is an essential tool to find out and adjust how your site shows in Google Maps, the Knowledge Graph, Google+ and organic search results.
You can manage your business listing by adding details such as opening hours, photos and keywords. In addition to that, it is possible to manage the reviews your customers leave behind.
Starting Your Google My Business Listing
Getting started with My Business is easy. You have to make an account and claim your business. Keep in mind that My Business is not the catch-all tool for your local SEO. It has to work in tandem with other SEO efforts. For example, you won’t climb in results if your profile is inaccurate, but you also won’t reach the top without a well-optimized site and localized content.
If your business has been around for more than three years, it’s likely it already has a Google Business listing and you just need to claim it.
Once successfully claimed, you can manage the information just as if you started the Google My Business listing yourself years previous.
Verifying Your Google My Business Listing
Once you have submitted your business information, hours, and other service area, you’ll need to verify your listing. Verification typically takes less than a week, in which Google will send you a verification code postcard that, once you receive, you verify with the enclosed code and your business will officially be live.
It’s probably easiest to verify your listing by postcard. This helps Google prevent false listings that will only misdirect users and derail the usefulness of Google Search and Maps, among other tools.
It’s important to know that Google won’t display your business until the business is verified. You also can’t access any page insights/analytical information or business reviews so watch out for that postcard.
Publishing Your Google My Business Listing
It’s important to use all resources Google My Business offers within its listing details to get the most out of your business locations and increase your SEO results.
Local search results favour the most relevant results for searches, and business offering the most detailed and accurate information will be easier to serve in search.
Don’t leave anything to be guessed or assumed; make sure your listing communicates with potential customers what your business does, where it is, and how they can acquire the good and/or services your business is offering.
How Customers Find Your Listing
While Google Business doesn’t have the best analytics, there are a few things you can learn from their insights. “Direct” searches are for your business name or address versus a “Discovery” search. They searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared.
Beside “Listing on Search” and “Listing on Maps,” you’ll see the number of views your listing received from each product in the timeframe you’ve selected. According to Google, “Views” are like “impressions” on other analytics platforms.
To see how many people found you on a particular product on a particular day, place your cursor over the appropriate segment of the graph on the day you’re interested in.
This part of Insights uses a map to show where people are that are requesting directions to your business. Your business location is identified on the map and some of the most common spots that people request directions to your business from are shown. It even breaks the total number of direction requests down by city or neighbourhood.
It’s critical to remember Google Business is not a set it and forget it tool. Things change, your business changes and your Google Business should always reflect that. Keep everything active, monitor reviews and stay on top of things. If you have any questions about