Most people don’t search the internet anymore. They Google. It’s become a verb for most of the world’s internet-browsing population.
What about your local business?
Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, you need Google.
Google is the key to online presence for business owners
In today’s digital marketing and advertising economy, Google is the number-one way that your prospects and new customers are going to gather information about your business.
Whether they use it to find out more about your business, find your location, get directions, send you a message, see reviews, or get your phone number; your customers are highly likely to use Google at some point in the sales process.
Here’s an example.
My 7-year-old son receives regular notes home from his teachers about his messy handwriting. My handwriting is nearly as bad, so I’m thankful there are a few local business in El Paso offering tutoring.
Recently I received yet another note from the teacher. My automatic response? I jumped on Google.
Driving down Mesa Street the other day, I noticed a small store in a strip mall offering tutoring. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recall the name of the business. I remembered the location, searched for “tutoring” and then clicked on the Google map results.
Here’s what I found:
Within a few seconds I had the name and phone number for the business I’d seen.
While this business doesn’t yet have a website (I’ll be giving her my card when we head in for our first tutoring sessions), I was able to find all the information I needed to contact Smarty Pants and schedule an appointment.
Playing the Google Game
Many business owners fail to list their business with Google — or if they do, they forget to check back regularly to make sure information is up to date. There are a few reasons why this happens:
- You’re too busy
- You assume Google will update your info automatically
- It doesn’t seem that important
- It seems too complicated
Number four is probably the biggest roadblock we see people get stuck on. Google seems to do major “upgrades” and changes every couple of months. In fact, they recently changed their policies about setting up a business.
But good news: this is one of our passions, and we’ve outlined the steps you can take to keep your page up to date.
Making Google Business work for you
Previously, you just went through Google Places to get your business listed. Google is retiring the Places pages, so if you’re only listed with Google Places, it’s time to update your account.
Now, Google has combined the utilities of Places and Google+ to create Google My Business, which serves as a central platform for managing your brand or business.
Google unverifies accounts that have been inactive for six months or more. So even if you don’t have any relevant updates to your business contact info, you still need to log in periodically to keep your listing active.
There are times when dealing with Google begins to feel like being stuck in Groundhog Day. Didn’t I just do this, Google?
If I was the conspiracy theory type, I’d suspect that they make the process difficult just so businesses choose to run Google Ad campaigns. That’s because when you start an ad campaign, Google does some of this work for you. But in the end, the steps it takes to stay current aren’t all that difficult.
4 steps to make the most of Google My Business
What we’re about to walk you through is part of PixelMark’s basic SEO package, so if you’d rather let us take it off your to-do list, just give us a call at 915-227-4667. If you want to give it a try yourself, here’s the lowdown on getting your business properly listed with Google:
1. Start in the right place
Make sure to start at https://www.google.com/business, also know as Google My Business. Just click on the big, blue “Get on Google” Button
2. Don’t Duplicate Your Efforts
The first thing Google will ask you to do is search for your business. Occasionally your business will already be listed with Google. If it is, you want to capture that listing and claim it as your own.
Try searching for your business name as well as your business address. If your business appears, click on it and claim your business. If it doesn’t automatically pop up as an option, click enter. You’ll likely see something like this:
Click the second option and Google walks you through the setup process.
3. Don’t Forget to Verify
One of the final steps in the process is to get your business verified. This step is necessary if you want to control how your business information appears on the Google Search results page.
In most cases, Google will send you a postcard that looks something like this:
Make sure to open that postcard and login to your Google account to verify your listing as soon as you receive the postcard. The code is only good for 30 days!
4. Check Back Often
Since Google is now unverifying inactive accounts, you definitely want to log in to your business profile every few months and make sure all the information is up to date. Go ahead and set a recurring date on your calendar so you don’t let too much time go by. We recommend reviewing your page at least once a quarter.
What’s the benefit?
Customizing your business profile:
- Gives you control over what people see about your business
- Allows you to maintain brand consistency
- Improves the search engine ranking of your associated website
If you run into problems, give us a call. Or, you can also try Google phone support. Greg Gifford over at Search Engine Land provides a great step-by-step on how to get help with your business.
Here’s one of the best tips Greg offers:
Top Secret GMB Phone Support Pro Tip #2
GMB Phone Support can help with almost anything related to your Google My Business listing. While you’re on the phone with a support agent, ask them if there are any duplicate listings. If any exist, they’ll be able to shut them down immediately. If you’re working with a business that set up a personal Google+ page for their business, Phone Support can help you get it converted to a GMB listing.
Don’t worry if you still don’t show up at the top
Though there’s no guaranteed way to get your website to the top of the Google search results (aside from paying for Google Adwords), registering your business listing is one of the key steps to building your website’s authority and getting your site ranked in Google’s search engine.
If you want to learn more about whether an AdWords campaign is a good idea for your business, or you want to build your online presence, drop us a line!
Click here or give us a call at (915) 585-1919 to set up your free 2-hour consultation.