Google My Business (GMB) provides free listings that allow businesses, organizations, and brands to manage their online information. It is not a replacement for your website, but it is how businesses get listed on Google Maps. It is the 21st century equivalent of the phone book and then some. Beyond your address and phone book, your listing can include photos, hours, customer reviews, menus, and directions with the ability to apply changes on the fly. In essence, if you’re not listed there’s a good chance no one will ever know about or discover your business.
You can find out if your business is on the map by entering your company name or domain. If the business is not listed, a link allowing you to ‘Claim Your Business” will appear and you will need to follow the provided steps to get it set up. It’s important to note that anyone can claim it. If you find that someone else has done that, you can reach out to Google Support to verify that you are the rightful business owner.
If your business is listed, however, you need to claim it through GMB and go through Google’s verification process via a phone call or postcard. Some basic information such as the address and phone number may already be indicated; however, you will still need to claim it and go through verification to make any changes such as adding a link to your business’ website, listing your hours, or adding your social media profiles. You will also want to make sure all of the information already on there is correct.
Why is this so important? Trust, brand awareness, SEO, local searches, review opportunity, free marketing, and accurate information are among the many factors that build a successful business both online and offline. Presenting your business as professionally as possible on the web is critical when making an impression with customers and adds legitimacy to your online presence.
The number one advantage of getting your business on Google My Business and having it verified is that all of the vital information about your business is available to potential customers even if you don’t have a website.
Once you have properly set up your listing, when someone searches for your business online a list will come up on the left side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and on the right Google will serve the best possible match to the search query. Your business should appear on the right. It will also show you other searches users performed at the bottom.
If you had fun adding your own listing to Google Maps, you can help other small businesses out by becoming a Local Guide for your city. It is important to note that local storefronts and businesses that service a local area are listed on the “Local” pages of Google My Business and that brand pages are a separate section for businesses that only have an online presence. Brand pages do not appear on Google Maps, but they do appear in Google Search. By becoming a Local Guide, you can help promote local businesses and gain vital relationships.
When it comes to getting a footprint, Google isn’t the only place to list your business. The first place many restaurants or service businesses think of to gain new customers is Yelp, for instance. Seeking to get listed on additional search platforms will further secure a stronger online footprint for success. You also want to make sure to claim your business on Four Square, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, and Apple Maps.
Check out these other resources for getting your business on the map:
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