Have you already optimized your Google My Business page? If not, this is an important step toward being found online by potential customers. Let’s walk through the process of setting up and optimizing your listing for best results, so your business can get a higher ranking on Google and more interest from searchers.
Creating a New Google My Business Listing:
Step 1: Create Your Listing. If you have set up a Google Places listing for your business in the past, you can skip over this step! Google will automatically update your listing to their new My Business listing. If you have not set up a listing for your business on Google, click here and select “Get Google” to start the process.
Step 2: Add Business Details. This is a simple set, but potentially the most important. Adding your business details should be done carefully because Google ,and other search engines, use ‘NAP’ (Name, Address, Phone) to compare your listing to other business listings on the internet. If your ‘NAP’ is an exact match with your other listings, trust in your business will increase.
It’s important to note that your company name, address, phone number, and email address should be exactly the same as what you use on your website.
Step 3: Determine Your Service Area. During this step, Google will ask you to provide the area your business services. You can do this by either entering a list of cities/zip codes or you can enter a specific radius area. However you choose to do this, be sure to include all of the cities your business services.
Step 4: Verify Your New Listing. The last step in setting up a new listing is to verify your location. This is important because it ensures that only you can set up a Google My Business page for your business. It works like this: Google will mail a postcard to the address you provided them for your business. The postcard will have a code on it that will allow you to verify your listing and prove it’s really you!
Once you receive your postcard, simply go to your Google My Business page, click the ‘Verify’ button, and enter the code you were provided. Note that the code expires after 30 days, so it’s best to do this soon after you receive it.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Page:
Step 1: Write an Introduction to Your Business. Writing an introduction to your business should be short and to the point. Include a keyword of two if possible, to increase your rankings. Keep in mind that most customers won’t read more than a sentence or two of your introduction, so try to make it eye-catching. A great example of this would be to write something like: “Top-rated pest control company serving Houston, TX and surrounding areas.”
Try to stay away from “spammy” lines like: “We’re the best!” or “World’s greatest!”
Step 2: Link Your Website. Since the vast majority of people in need of a service will turn to Google to find a business to help them, your website needs to be attached to your My Business listing. If a customer can’t find your website, they will likely move on to the next listing. Attach a link to your website, and be sure your phone number and address on the website are the same as those on your listing.
Step 3: Determine Your Business Category. Google will ask you to determine a category for your business. This should be a description of what your business offers its customers. Be thorough, but avoid adding an endless list of services, as this could come across as spammy. If you are running a car wash business, your categories might include: car wash, auto detailing, exterior car cleaning, interior car cleaning, auto wash.
Step 4: Add Your Hours of Operation: Add your business hours to your listing so customers know when you are available. When you are prompted by Google to add your hours of operation, be sure to include special hours for holidays.
Step 5: Upload High Quality Photos (Including a Profile Photo): Listings that include high resolution photos perform better. In fact, they receive over 40% more clicks than those without photos. Your photos will be a customer’s first impression of your business, so they are important to add. You could include photos of yourself and your employees, before and after photos, pictures of jobs you have completed, your logo, etc. Be sure your profile picture is a high resolution image of your logo, and it should be the same logo that customers will see for your business on your website and social media pages.
Step 6: Promote Your New Page! Promote your Google My Business page by continuing to update content and information as needed. Ask customers for reviews to really ramp up the attractiveness of your listing, and of course, respond to all of your reviews: the good, the bad and everything in between.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!