As a small-to-medium business owner, you are most likely on the lookout for ways to grow your online visibility and brand recognition.
This endeavour may include tactics such as connecting and engaging with prospects on social media channels, creating quality content on your website, running AdWords campaigns, and keeping up with SEO changes to comply with Google’s guidelines for website optimization.
But have you officially listed your business on Google?
While all the above practices can help you create a solid online presence and increase your leads and sales opportunities, many businesses don’t appreciate the importance of listing on Google, and it’s largely to their detriment.
Here’s what you need to know.
Why List Your Business on Google?
Google is more than just a search engine. It’s also an online directory that allows you to register your business and list crucial information, such as an address, phone number, and hours of operation across all Google platforms.
This information can boost your local exposure and drive more qualified prospects to your business. In fact, reports show that more than 50% of consumers visit stores after conducting a locally based search. Listing your business on Google can help you take advantage of this trend.
Listing your business can also enable your business to show up on Google maps. So, next time someone is looking for recommendations or businesses in your area, your business will pop up as they navigate their way through street maps.
By creating a complete business profile on Google, you can also boost your credibility. When prospects have access to all the information they need to make a decision, such as reviews, photos of your establishment, and so on, they are more likely to trust you and do business with you.
So then, how do you list your business on Google? Here is a 5-step process you can follow.
Step #1: Create a Google My Business Page
If you want to claim your online presence on Google, then you need to create a Google My Business page, or optimize yours if you already have one. The steps are rather easy and intuitive.
If you do this the right way, you’ll end up with a listing that looks something like this:
First, you need to access the Google My Business page here and create a new account. Once you’re logged in, you can search for your business by typing its name into the search box.
Choose the business you want to list. If none of the results match your search, then you can use the “Add Your Business” button to create a new listing. Make sure to choose your business type, such as the service area, storefront or brand name.
Next, you will have to prove that the business you’re claiming is, in fact, yours. Google will send you a verification email that you will need to enter into your account. Keep in mind that this process can take a couple of weeks. Make sure you read the Google quality guidelines to ensure the approval process goes smoothly.
Once Google has verified and approved your business, you can start managing your local listing.
Step #2: Fill In Your Basic Business Listing
Google favors businesses that offer accurate and comprehensive details, so try not to leave any important business information out of your listing. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and try to think of all the possible questions they might have about your business and provide complete answers.
Make an effort and fill in more than just the required text fields, such as your complete address, business hours, email address or phone numbers. You can also add photos of your location, your websites’ URL, the type of payment you accept, and so on.
Make sure to also use keywords to boost your search ranking and show up for phrases that are important to your business. Google is more likely to rank the businesses that have accurate NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) data and are properly optimized than the ones that just include a few details.
Below is an example of a Google listing with lots of helpful and relevant information for potential searchers from Rooster Hill Vineyards:
Step #3: Make Your Listing Media-Rich
A media-rich listing can drive more engagement and business exposure.
It’s all well and good to have your contact information and a link to your website, but what really attracts people’s eyes to your listing in the right hand side of a Google search? It’s the visuals.
The problem is that a lot of businesses ignore this step and assume that if they have accurate NAP information, then that’s more than enough to boost their search engine visibility. Creating a media-rich listing is the low hanging fruit that can attract customers and generate traffic to your website or business.
The Rooster Hill example above is a good representation of this concept. The visuals used in their listing such as photos, a map listing, and real photos of reviewers create an enticing and eye-catching experience for searchers.
If you are a visually dependent business - as in people buy with their eyes - such as a restaurant or interior designer, then engaging visuals in your Google listing could be the difference between a prospect getting in contact with you or not. Below is a snapshot of the visuals Sterling Kitchen Design Inc. use in their Google listing to show off what they can offer:
Step #4: Get More Customer Reviews
Reviews are a powerful source of information that can impact customer behavior. But, that’s not all. They can also influence your rankings.
The math is rather simple: the more positive reviews you have on your listing, the more comfortable people will feel to do business with you. It’s human nature - if others have used this service or product and were pleased, then it’s safe to try it as well.
To get more reviews, try to engage with your current customers and encourage them to leave a review. Send them an email after they complete a transaction or remind them during the checkout process to visit your listing and share their experience with the world.
Don’t worry if you get some bad reviews. A decent ratio of positive and negative feedback can actually improve your business’ credibility, because it is perceived as realistic. After all, most people who do leave a review will likely be the overtly happy customers or the ones that had a poor experience - the two extremes . This could be an opportunity for you to reach out to these people and clarify where your business could improve.
Step #5: Regularly Update Your Listing
Setting up your business listing on Google isn’t a once-and-done type of deal. Your business evolves, so you need to keep both search engines and your audience up to date with the latest changes.
For example, if you move your website to a new domain, then make sure to update your Google listing as well. Or, if you’ve changed the design of your establishment, moved address, or changed your opening hours, then you should update your Google My Business page too.
An out of date Google listing can have a detrimental affect on your brand name and credibility - it can even result in bad customer reviews when people are unable to find the information they need. Google also considers regularly updated profiles as more credible when they choose to rank your website in other searches
Setting up your Google My Business account may seem like a hassle, but the effort is well worth it.
A properly optimized listing can make it easier for prospects to find your business, get all the information they need about it, and get in touch with you for their needs.
Need help setting up your Google business listing? Get in touch with us here.