For local businesses looking to use online resources to encourage more potential customers to visit their premises, creating a Google My Business listing should be at the top of the priority list.
Google My Business acts as a hub for your business information, which can then be displayed to users across a range of Google products, including Search, Maps and Google+.
If you have previously added your company information to a Google+ Company Page or a Google Places listing, this information is now available as Google My Business. To access your listing, simply login to your account using the Google account you created when you originally added your company details.
Even if you have never created a listing, the chances are that Google has auto-generated a company listing for your business, especially if it has been around for a number of years. If this is the case, all you need to do is claim the listing and verify your ownership with a code that Google will mail to your trading address.
Once you have checked that no listing exists for your business, navigate to https://www.google.co.uk/business/ and click the button marked ‘Start Now’. If your business already uses Google Analytics to track website visitors, you should have a Google account you can associate with the listing. If you don't have a Google account, you will need to create one to continue.
It is important to make sure you enter your company name the way you want it to be viewed. For example, if you add the suffix ‘Ltd’ to your company name in every day correspondence, it is worth keeping this consistent across all platforms that store your company information. This is the same for your company address. It is important that it appears identical across all platforms you maintain, in order to help with general SEO and local search.
Next you will be asked whether you serve your customers at their location. If you provide services to customers within a specific area, tick this box and enter the area you cover. If customers visit your premises, you can ignore this question.
You will also be asked to add a primary business category. Google hold a detailed list of business categories but of course, they cannot define every company perfectly. Choose the most suitable one for your business and click ‘next’. You can edit this at a later date and add additional categories when refining your profile, but users will be able to see your primary category in search results so choose something suitable.
Once you’ve added your company phone number and website address, you can request verification. Google send a postcard to your company address featuring a verification code and link. When the card arrives, enter the code and your listing will be live in a matter of days.
Once your listing has been verified, you can stock your account with your company logo, your opening hours and images that promote your business, your services or your products. If your company operates from multiple locations, there is no need to create multiple Google My Business listings; you can add additional addresses to your existing account.
It is also possible to create short posts that are linked to your Google My Business listing. These posts are typically live for seven days and can include a call to action, meaning you can direct users to specific landing pages or contact forms. If you have an event to promote, an event post will remain live on your listing until the date it is held on has passed.
This free tool is a great way to keep fresh information at the fingertips of those web users that are searching for your business or those like yours. Claim your Google My Business listing today and make your business stand out from competitors in search results and on Google Maps.
If you need to claim your company’s Google My Business listing but struggle to find the time for your business’s digital marketing, Say Hello Hello can help. Get in touch if you would like to improve your website’s visibility in search, build a strong presence on social media or increase website traffic and generate leads with paid search.