Google My Business is a directory of business listings around the globe. Listings appear on Google Search result pages. Any real business can get a free listing in the directory. In effect, a Google My Business account can firmly establish a small business’ presence in a targeted community.
Before delving into why every business needs a Google My Business listing, let’s see what one looks like. Take Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, CO as an example.
When searching for “cherry creek mall” on Google, the mall’s Google My Business listing shows up on the first page of results. It contains all the important information a consumer needs; a picture of the storefront, location and directions, a link to the website, reviews and ratings, hours, phone number, a link to their Facebook page, and more.
As a consumer, this information is invaluable. On a personal note, I especially like reading reviews, because I trust what other real customers have to say about their experiences with Cherry Creek Mall. If I want to, I can share a link to their listing with a friend. I can even search for other places nearby – like restaurants, laundromats, and grocery stores – so I can plan my day.
With this listing, customers can learn about one of Denver’s most popular spots and organize their shopping experience before being there. This level of convenience can transcend a shopping experience from search to purchase.
Why do small business need a free Google My Business listing?
Businesses don’t have to be as large as Cherry Creek Mall to need a Google My Business listing. Interested consumers can find your Google My Business listing when they search for you or your products or services on Google Search, Maps, and Google+. With a Google My Business listing, you have control over your customer’s online experience with your business from their initial search to purchase.
Specifically, you can use Google My Business to:
- Edit your business info on Search, Maps & more
- Share news & updates with customers
- Respond to reviews
- Discover how customers find your business with analytics tracking
Types of information you can share with people about your business:
- Photos of your product, store front, interior, events, etc.
- Address and link to map and directions
- Link to website
- Link to products and services
- Links to social media profiles like Facebook and Google+
- Phone and fax numbers (can be used for pay-per-click campaigns on Google AdWords)
- Hours and popular times when customers usually visit your store
- Street view of your location
- Responses to reviews
- Restaurant menu
How do I create a Google My Business account?
To create a Google My Business account, you will need to verify your business with Google.
1. Start Creating Your Google My Business Account
Go to Google My Business and click the “START NOW” button.
2. Find Your Business
Find your business by typing your business name and/or address into the search bar (if your business is not found you will be prompted to fill out information like your business name and address). Then click continue.
3. Be An Authorized User
Check the box to state that you are authorized to manage the business and that you agree to Google’s Terms of Service. Then click continue.
4. Verify Your Business With Google
There are a few ways to do this. One common way is to have Google send you a verification code in the mail. Once you receive the code, you will log into your Google My Business account and type the code in the verification box. You can request a verification letter by clicking the “Mail” button as shown in the image below. You can also verify your business by phone, email, instant (online) verification, and bulk.
Google has a brief video describing how to verify your Google My Business account.
5. Fill Out Your Business Information!
Your Google My Business listing is now created, and you can easily add information about your business and start reaching more potential customers.
If you found this article helpful you may be interested in reading about 5 more free ways to improve your business with SEO.