Google has been a highly resourceful search engine that has revolutionised and given life to our online experiences. For businesses just starting out or those that are already established, it’s important that your customers are able to find you online. Since Google’s aim is to help people find businesses closest to where they are, a Google My Business listing will not only help potential customers find you on Google, but it will greatly contribute to your online success.
So, what exactly is a Google listing and how do you go about getting one?
Google My Business is an all-in-one free (that’s right) tool that allows you to manage and control your digital presence in local Google search engines and Google Maps. You can post updates, connect and engage with your audience, gather reviews for your product and service.
Take a look at the image below, when your business name or keywords related to the product or service you offer is entered into Google, (eg: web design companies in Bellville), you’re likely to appear in search results.
To start the listing process, first you need to create your listing, then the account has to be verified. Once those steps are completed, you can then optimise the account for search, and to better promote it.
Step 1: Creating your account
Google has simplified the process by guiding you through each step.
First, you want to ensure you’re logged into an existing Google account. Once logged in, head on over to https://www.google.com/business/ to start the process.Find your listing
Once you’re on the Google My Business homepage, you want to establish whether there is an existing listing for your business, this is if you’ve previously created a listing.
When you click on manage, you’ll be redirected to the following page where you can either find your business or start setting up a new listing.
Choose your name and category
If there is an existing account, you can proceed to claim it. If it’s a new account, you’ll proceed to the page that requests your business name, the category that best describes your business.Add your location
If you have offices or a physical store, you can include this, as it will show on Google Maps or when people are searching for you. Hereafter, you’ll have the option to include additional areas you may serve or deliver to customers (if applicable).Add your contact details
Include all the necessary contact details that will help customers get in touch with you, all contact details you enter . Here, you can also include your website. And if you do not have one, Google allows you to create a free, basic website (this will not include your official domain registration or emails and hosting).
Set up completed
You have now successfully completed step one and can start managing your content within your Google My Business Listing.
Step 2: Account verification
You’ll need to confirm that the business is yours by verifying the account. Google permits account verification in two ways, you can either;Postcard verification
Have a postcard mailed to the address under which you’ve listed the business. For businesses based in South Africa, this usually takes roughly 21-22 days to arrive via post. The card will look as follows, and you’ll need to follow the steps on the card to proceed with verifying your Business Listing.
Verification via email or phone
Although this method is the easiest, it’s worth noting that not all businesses are successful in verifying via email or phone. If your business is eligible, you’ll be prompted to either complete this step via email or phone, to which the code will be sent.
You’ll be taken through a series of additional steps to complete your listing;
Listing your services Adding your business description Adding images of your business - this can be products, your offices or images relevant to the service you offer.
Thereafter you’ll be directed to your business listing dashboard where you can start filling in all relevant information to optimise your listing.
Step 3: Optimising your listing
Optimisation is key to getting your customers to find your business. It’s worth mentioning, an optimised listing requires constant and consistent efforts. It’s not about adding a lot of information, it’s about adding the right and most relevant information.
- Focus on content that is most relevant to your customers
- Have images that will appeal to your customers
- Be sure to manage and respond to reviews (both good and bad)
An optimised account includes the following:
- A cover image that is a clear reflection of your company, since it will be displayed at the top of your listing, it needs to be the correct size and resolution.
- Regular posts to keep visitors informed and up to date. Don’t post for the sake of posting, your content should at all times be purpose-driven.
- Responds to customer reviews.
- Allows for direct messaging.
Like any other efforts invested into getting your business seen, a Google My Business listing is an investment that’ll pay off in the long-run. To get started with your listing, head on over to https://www.google.com/business/, or if you need professional assistance, get in touch with us and we’ll help you set up a fully optimised listing.