Using Google My Business: A Simple Way Control Your Company’s Search Presence
Remember people talking about Google Maps? Google Local? Those are products Google has phased out in a sense by putting an umbrella over all of their free business listing tools. They’ve given this suite of services a name: Google My Business. To control the business information that appears on Google companies should claim their own listing. It takes some effort but it’s well worth the time to claim your Google My Business account and add/update information on a regular basis.
What is Google My Business? From Google:
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”
What does Google My Business do for you? Helps put your company on the map, literally.
How do you gain control over what and how Google delivers information about your business? Go to https://www.google.com/business/, log in (or create a new account) then navigate to your business listing. If your business is not yet listed on Google My Business you can enter it. One caveat — you’ll need to wait for a postcard containing a code to be delivered via USPS (hello Y2K) to confirm and verify your business location. Waiting on a flimsy postcard makes for some trouble if your business is located in a business center or campus shared with other businesses, we’ve had to enlist Google’s help on more than one occasion on clients’ behalf. Once that process is complete though you’ll find important business marketing tools like the ability to change your official business name or location (important if you’ve moved), add a business description, assign categories for the work you do, add a portfolio of business images (interior, exterior and products), change business hours and add holiday hours.
Here’s what you’ll be working on (laptop view):
And here’s and example of how your Google My Business listing appears on a mobile device when a mobile users searches a location-specific query.
That’s some good real estate for your business there!
I strongly recommend any business with a physical location (and even a business with no physical location but a “service area”) claims their Google My Business listing and start updating it pronto. And, like your social media accounts, make sure there’s more than one trusted resource who can access the account in case of emergency.