The Google My Business Listing is Critical for Businesses

If you do not already know, Google My Business is a free tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

Cooks Woods Google My Business ListingClaiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.” I wrote that in this blog post on September 8. 2017. It is even more true today.

The Google My Business concept is not new. On July 29, 2008 (Yes, over ten years ago.) I wrote a post named Google – Get Local, Get Traffic Quickly about using Google Maps Local Business Center if you want to increase local traffic.

Since 2008, its name has changed several times and Google My Business is much more robust than it was back then. In 2008, there were roughly 173 million websites online. As I write this, there are over 1.9 Billion websites! Obviously, the competition for prominent display space in Google Search results has increased immensely.

Today’s Google My Business (GMB) Listing affords businesses several opportunities to enhance their presence in Google search results and Google Maps. Here is some information directly from Google:

Manage your information:

First it is imperative to “claim” your listing. If you have not, you may do so here: www.google.com/business If someone has claimed your Google My Business listing, go to
Request ownership of a business listing.

Be as complete and accurate as possible when entering your business information. Businesses offering the most detailed and accurate information will be easier for Google to serve your listing in searches.

It’s important to enter your business hours, but equally important to update them whenever they change. You may customize hours for holidays and other special events, and it is up to you to ensure they are accurate. Don’t make enemies because of incorrect hours.

As it does with website SEO, Google uses a variety of signals to serve search results, and including relevant keywords and search phrases to your business listing will help considerably, since your business website is listed directly within your GMB listing.

Interact with customers:
Interact with customers via Google My Business
Read and respond to reviews from your customers, and post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

Reviews are now a two-way conversation between you and your customers — be the first to know when you get a new review on your local Business Profile so you can respond right away (this is extremely important).

Photos:
You will likely be surprised how much adding even a couple photos will help the performance of your business listing. Just do it!

Q&A:
Save time by answering your customers’ questions before they ask. With Q&A, customers can easily ask a question right from your Business Profile on Google. To save time, you can pin frequently asked questions and highlight the top answers.

There is much more we could tell you about Google My Business, but the best thing I can do for you is to repeat this: “Claiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.”

Do it today! 

Have a Local Business? Claim or Update Your Google My Business Listing, Now!

Cooks Woods Google My Business ListingIf you have a business, you very likely have a Google My Business Listing. Your listing appears when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Claiming or improving your Google My Business Listing is the singular, most important step you can take for your local business if you want to maximize results from Google Search.

“Why,” you ask? Google says, “Manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps, using Google My Business — for free.”

The keyword in the previous paragraph is “manage.” There is little a business can control when it comes to Google. When Google makes it easy to post correct information about your business for free, and that information is displayed in Google Search results and on Google Maps, you should take advantage of it.

With Google My Business, you can:

  • Increase your online visibility
  • Show business hours and if open/closed
  • Your contact details are prominently displayed
  • Display photos of your business
  • Publish Posts just like Facebook or Twitter posts
  • Encourage reviews and interact with reviewers
  • Answer customer questions — List FAQs, or answer live
  • Let customers message you

You also can see insights on how customers searched for your business, and their locations at the time of search. You can also see how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Google Search and Google Maps.

Bottom line: Claim and/or update your Google My Business listing! It is unequivocally the best and least expensive online marketing you can do.

Five Reasons You Should Claim Your Google Places Listing, Today!

If you have not, and many of you have not, claimed your Google Places listing, here are five reasons you should claim your Google Places listing today!

Google Search for Insurance Lancaster WI

1. This Google quote, “97% of consumers search for local businesses online.”

2. Google’s Universal Search results

In today world of Google’s Universal Search results, nearly every time a potential customer does a Google search that contains your community’s name (or the region where your business  is located) and the type of product or service you offer, they will see a Google map with pins on it, and a list of businesses represented on that map. Is there a pin for your business there? There is no easier nor quicker way to improve visibility in Google SERPs, than claiming, and using your Google Places listing.

3. Make sure your listing is accurate and thorough. Did I say thorough?

You may add photos and videos; custom categories like your  service area, brands you sell and how to find parking; and coupons to encourage customers to make a first-time or repeat purchase.

4. Customer Reviews

Google and prospective customers both love customer reviews. You don’t have to do many test searches using Google to see that websites of companies who have several reviews on their Google Places pages, do very well in Google SERPs.

5. It is easy, and takes a very few minutes.

You may verify your phone number, address, and add business hours.  After you have claimed and verified your Google Places listing, you may go back and take advantage of the features.

To make sure the basic information you submit is accurate, Google will ask you to verify it first by entering a PIN that will be sent to either your business address or phone number. (We recommend using the phone number. It automated and is nearly instantaneous as opposed to weeks.)

Now, go claim your Google Places listing!

Here is some help from Google:

Getting started with a local business listing on Google Places

Google Places quality guidelines

Don’t Lose Your Place – Claim Your Google Places Page!

If you have claimed your Google Places page, please feel free to skip the rest of this. If you have not claimed your Google Places page. Do it! Better yet, talk with the people you trust most with your web presence about why and how. That may be someone on your staff, your webmaster, or your web marketing people. Oh, by the way, if they haven’t been telling you to use Google Local Business Center (before it morphed into Google Places) for the last few years, you should ask them why not.

Why is claiming your Google Place Page important? On April 20, 2010, while introducing Google Places, they said, “One out of five Google searches is related to location.” Seven months later, the frequency of local searches has surely grown.

Google says, “More people search for businesses online than anywhere else, so it’s important to make sure your business listing can be easily found on Google.com and Google Maps.” They obviously believe it, as demonstrated by their blog post, “Place Search: a faster, easier way to find local information.”

After you claim your page, you may enhance the Place Page for your business by adding photos, videos, tags, hours of operation, coupons, and even real-time updates like weekly specials. One of the “features” is “ Reviews by Google users” which presents a compelling reason to “claim” your business Places page. Business owners that claim their listing may respond to negative (and positive) reviews. Here are some guidelines for managing your listing.

When is your Google Places listing displayed? Your listing will display when someone does a search on Google Web Search, Google Maps, Mobile search, 1-800-GOOG-411 voice directory search, or Google Earth. On any of these services, a search directly for your business name and city, will most likely display your listing. If your listing is well crafted, searches for your business category or services will trigger a display of your listing.

There is a lot more to be said, but I’ll just close, by telling you, this is the most important local business search-related action you can take. Google Places is free, and you can easily claim and enhance the listing yourself. Invest a little time, and do this today!

Learn more about Google Places, and remember, Don’t Lose Your Place!

As always, feel free to post a comment or question, or call John at 1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750.

Google – Get Local, Get Traffic Quickly

If you are using Google Maps Local Business Center, you can stop reading. If you are not using Google Maps Local, and your potential customer’s search terms include the name of the city, town, villiage, state, or geographical description of where your business is located, keep reading.

Often, searchers narrow their search results by adding one or more location-specific terms to their search. For example, the search term, “auto dealer lancaster wi” yields the following.

SERP for auto dealer lancaster wi

Who benefits? You get more visibility. The user gets more relevant results with less work. Win, win! Obviously, if you are in a rural area, there normally will be less competition. Consequently, rural business will generally have even better visibility. Even if you don’t get the click that time, it is still branding, branding, branding.

The position of where Google displays the map and listings varies from query to query. Sometimes, you’ll find it directly below one or more “Sponsored Links.” Other times there may be two or three organic listings above it. Or, there may be a video link above or below the Local business results.

So, how do you get listed? It is easy. You may already be listed. Google pulls your address and other information from public data. If you search for your business, and click on the “Directions and More” link. (see example above), you find more info and you will notice an “Edit” link. In the bubble on the map, you will see “Are you the owner?” and a “Claim your business” link.  You’ll need a Google Account, which many of you have. If you don’t have one, you can sign up and follow the instructions here. Note: The street address you enter will be shown in the Google Maps search results.

So, why should you use Google Maps Local?

  1. It gets results.
  2. It is free.
  3. It is easy to use.
  4. Oh, yes. It just plain gets results.

The bottom line is, you get a highly-visible link that most users will notice and click on before they click on Adword advertisements or organic listings.

Bonus Thought: You can safely bet that Google will continue to very aggressively push Google Maps and related advertising in the mobile hand-device market.

Don’t wait. Get Local, and Get Traffic Quickly!