These days, you cannot expect your business to succeed if you just get started with your production and sales efforts without any focus on your online presence. Almost every industry has shifted to the internet, and the first thing most people do when searching for a new business to try is look it up online. Social media pages and Google are the primary platforms for this behavior. Experts report that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information, and that 46% of all Google searches are to do with local information. For example, a user may be looking up the best Cox internet packages in their area or simply looking for takeout dinner suggestions.
If your business does not appear in these searches, then you're missing out on an immense audience. You need to make sure your business is right up there with your competitors. This means that you need to work on your SEO strategy. However, when it comes to businesses, that is not rough. Local search results are also impacted by local packs powered by Google My Business.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business refers to the platform which powers business listings on Google. It lets your business showcase itself on the local pack, appear in search results, and manage how information is displayed on these results.
It is almost a necessity in this day and age, with most people looking up places online before they try them.
How Much Does It Cost?
The best part is that Google My Business is absolutely free. This means that all you need to do is enter your information, and your business will get that much-needed visibility to put it on the map.
What Are The Benefits?
Establishing your GMB presence comes with a host of benefits. It helps you in numerous ways, and brings traffic to your business. In addition, it adds an element of legitimacy and trustworthiness to the company. Most of all, you cannot ignore the visibility a GMB listing offers you. Just a few of the benefits you'll enjoy include:
- Appear on local listings
- Collect and display reviews
- Gain data insights into your business
- Appear on Google Maps
How Can You Set Up Your GMB?
It is quite easy to set up your GMB listing, and barely takes any time. Combined with the fact that it's free, why wouldn't you set it up? Here are the simple steps to starting off your GMB listing.
- Go to the Google My Business 'Create' page
- Add your business name
- Pick the right category
- Add a location
- Add your address
- Review possible listings
- Choose whether to showcase the listing beyond your location
- Add your contact information
- Opt for updates and recommendations (optional)
- Verify your listing
How Can You Get A Google Maps Listing?
In many cases, even if you don't have a GMB account, your business will appear on Google Maps. However, if you want to control how it showcases your business, with timings and other details, you need to find it on Maps and click on 'Claim this business'.
This means that you can manage this listing. You can verify this listing with a postcard which will be sent to your listed premises.
How To Claim A GMB Page
If you see a page already verified claiming to be your business, it may either be someone else controlling your GMB listing, or you may have set it up before and forgotten about it. These listings are made using email addresses.
So, go to the 'Create' option on GMB and then click on the existing listing. There, you'll see an Access Request option. Click on that, and the account's current owner will receive a notification. You should find out soon enough if they've denied or accepted your request.
What To Add In Your GMB
You don't have to display all the information you enter into your GMB listing. While you do need a physical address to create a listing, you can choose to not publicly display this address and location. So, if you work from home, this option is quite helpful.
Furthermore, you can add as many locations as you want if you have multiple branches. You just have to go to the 'Manage locations' option in the 'Add a location' tab. If your business has numerous locations, you can just import them in bulk, using a sample spreadsheet.
You can also add 'Questions & Answers' to your GMB listing. Use this to create a short FAQ section, and make sure you enter both the questions and the answers. Furthermore, you should regularly review and answer customer queries as well.
If you want, you can also add your contact numbers on your GMB listing. This helps you track your NAP profile and work on your SEO strategy.
Labels, highlights, and attributes let you differentiate your business from others and also differentiate between your own locations. While they do not directly impact the success of your GMB listing, they are excellent identifier tools.
Last but not least, add a reviews section, and encourage your customers to leave their reviews. Do not create fake reviews, as Google is smart enough to detect and remove them.
In conclusion, Google My Business is a necessary tool in the arsenal that businesses need these days. You must set up your listing to get the visibility and exposure you need.