In an age where “Google” has become a verb, it’s in your best interest to show up on the world’s largest search engine. Even if you are a small, local business looking for just a small, local presence, being found on Google is crucial to your business’s success.
But how does your small business show up and rank on such a large search engine?
Google My Business is an easy (and crucial) first step. Think of it like a phone book – this is the newer, more powerful version of the phone book.
You want to be #1 on Google right? Of course, who doesn’t?
The reality is that there are a ton of factors that go into where you rank and Google My Business is the low hanging fruit that you must start with.
By creating a Google My Business account and providing a bit of basic information, introduce your business to Google and help it (really, its algorithms) understand who you are and what you do. When it better understands your business, it can better serve (show) your business to the right people at the right time.
Having a Google My Business account also helps boost your local SEO rankings which is extremely helpful for small, local businesses to be found. Keeping up with your listing and making sure that it is consistent across all of your digital profiles provides better content for Google to show to the end user, which is a win-win-win situation for all. Additionally, you can update your business hours, services, contact information, and more to better communicate to your potential customers right when they are looking for the information.
Most business owners know that they need SEO but might not fully understand what SEO means. To answer what is local SEO, let’s first explain SEO briefly.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website, webpage, or unpaid web search results. The goal of SEO is to increase the number of unpaid visits to your website. This is what we like to call “organic” traffic.
Local SEO is the process of affecting your local online presence, so that your business shows up as a result for people in your community who are looking for something that you offer. Local SEO is very similar to SEO, but requires a few specific elements. These specific elements are gathered together easily in a Google My Business account.
Setting up your Google My Business account is easy! Just follow this step-by-step guide to getting started:
If you don’t already have a Google account, create one.
Visit google.com/business and click the “Manage Now” button to get started.
As you are typing, Google will offer names of other business names who already have a listing available. This is to prevent duplicate listings. If you have multiple locations, you will want one Google My Business account for each address available to the public.
If you are open to visitors and customers at this address, enter it now. If you do not accept in-person visitors, check the box below the address information that says “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Then also select the box that says “Hide My Address (it’s not a store.)”
Enter the regions, cities, or zip codes that your business serves.
What you choose as your business category impacts how Google will classify and present your business. This is an area that consistently is updated on the platform and might be worth revisiting over time. You may also want to look at your competitors’ listings and review the entire list to find the most appropriate and accurate category possible.
These are not required but are extremely helpful in the user experience. If you do not have a website, Google offers a free Google website, but keep in mind that this is very basic. We always encourage each business to have their own website.
In order to show up as “verified” you might complete one of the following verification steps:
Google My Business is the best way to boost your visibility both online and offline. It is an important asset to your digital presence. As our world becomes more digital every day, providing Google with information about your business is crucial to keeping up with your competitors, driving traffic, and growing your business.
Start your Google My Business account today!