You need to get your business listed on Google My Business.
Google for business is a service that the almighty search engine offers to better understand the current businesses that exist, what they offer, and create a more accurate map and geographical search experience for it’s users.
GMB allows you to:
- Create (or claim an already existing) a business profile that will show up on it’s maps directory
- Make a plus page that users will be able to see and interact with
- Specify your business hours, logo, opening hours, primary services, and phone number
- Provide a link on your profile that links back to your website (links from authoritative websites like Google that get sent back to your site are great for SEO)
If you’re wondering what Google says about getting your business listed as well as what they consider to be best practices for optimizing your profile, check out their comprehensive guideline.
GMB guidelines – https://support.google.com/business/?hl=en#topic=4539639
How to get verified on Google
The first step to getting your business on Google is to either create or claim your page. To do this, go over to the Google My Business dashboard. You’ll need to be logged in first to start.
- After creating a new account or successfully logging in, you will click “add a single location”
- Then you will be presented with a form. Fill it out completely with your business information EXACTLY how you want your information to appear online. Then the system will check to see if your business location already exists.
If a location already exists, you will find yourself in 1 of 2 scenarios:
- Someone already owns the location. In this case, you’ll have to make an appeal to Google and the owner that this location is actually yours and that you would like to manage it. Do so by going to their support page (https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671?hl=en ) and following the instructions.You are essentially going to be sending a request through Google Local Support to the current page owner asking for ownership. The request can either be:
- Accepted (whoohoo!)
- Rejected (you’ll have to email your Google representative about taking further action)
- Or the owner won’t respond long enough and then the support team will just hand over the listing to you.
- The location has been made but has not been claimed yet
If this is the case you will have the choice to accept management of the location and proceed with verification options [see below].
If your business does not exist, then great, you get to claim it and optimize it yourself. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Since your business couldn’t be found, you will have the option of “creating a new listing”.
Verify the information, select the authorization box, and you will have now created a Google + page for your company, and the location will be added to your dashboard.
Business Verification Methods
When attempting to claim and verify your business on Google, there are three main ways that you can accomplish this:
- Postcard (this is the most common method) – Choosing this option will have a postcard sent to the physical address of your business or the location you entered in if you’re a service business (most just use their home address or a location close by where they can receive mail). It will contain a 5 digit pin number that once received, you can enter into your location’s dashboard. Takes 6 -14 business days.
- Phone – This is the quickest and by far the most efficient method. You should rejoice and dance around in the streets if you are able to. All this means is that once you select this option, Google will give you a quick automated phone call to the business number you’ve entered, and read a 5 digit pin number to you. Just record this in your dashboard and you’re all set.
- Email – This option is only available if you have a business website that is well established and an email address that contains an extension that matches your domain name. Example, [email protected]. Google support will send an email to this email asking if you are the business owner or related to the business and wish to manage the location.
Optimizing your GMB profile
The most important thing to remember when optimizing your business profile is to fill it out completely until it is 100% (refer to progress bar). That ensures that you are giving Google as many signals as possible to measure and rank your profile.
Here are the components of your business listing and how to properly optimize each aspect.
Include as many as possible of your business. Use views from outside, inside, your staff, and logo. This allows you to build brand awareness and gives users a better sense of how you are.
Google lets you choose which pre-selected category they’ve created that fits closest to your business.
You can choose up to 5, but make sure your primary category is designated and that it is what your business IS not just what it DOES. Primary category should be or be very close to overall target keyword for your site/business
Supporting categories need to be very closely related to what your business offers. Unrelated categories can dilute results and confuse search engines as to what it is your business specifically provides.
This gives search engines a better idea of when to return your business to customers who are searching for your services at any given time. But, make sure that you actually have someone or something operating a phone in the given listed times.
For service area business, you have the option to not show your listed physical address (especially if you used your personal address), and define a service area.
The center point will be the location you entered and you have the option to choose a circular radius of service. Use whatever works best for your business, but don’t go over 50 miles. That is usually frowned upon and isn’t likely if you’re a local business as well.
Setting a far radius will not help you rank better for your services, as a searcher’s geographic location at the time of search is far more important in Google’s eyes. This area served component is strictly for user experience.
You can also put in specific cities and neighborhoods that you serve, but there hasn’t been any documented concrete SEO benefit to that and it is quite time consuming. In that scenario Google also chooses the center point of your areas specified, and they have been known to get it wrong at times.
Website & phone number
Make sure these are included for two reasons. The first is that when they aren’t, Google doesn’t show a way for customers to get in touch with you when they search for your business. That results in missing out on potential leads.
Two, you won’t get a link back from google. Although that backlink is a nofollow link, having any kind of authoritative link from a trusted website is helpful to your site’s overall link profile.
Enter in your phone number exactly as you have it written on the business website and copy your URL exactly as it appears in the address bar. For example “https://website.com/”.