By Digital Hub on February 21st, 2020
Billions of people use Google maps today. A similar number use search engines for the local search. Guess what a good number of them are searching for? Local businesses.
Of all Google searches, a whopping 46% involve local searches. What’s more, 88% of customers who carry out a local search through their smartphone end up paying the store a visit or giving it a call or visit on the website.
As a business owner, this information definitely means something to you, right? If you don’t have a presence on Google My Business platform, chances are you’ve missed out on plenty of potential customers. There’s actually a lot of them nowadays who use terms like ‘near me’, ‘close by’ or the location itself just to get more precise results.
Now here’s your chance to end all this and begin to harness all the potential this free platform promises.
Today we’ll show you how to add your business to Google maps. If done alongside search engine optimisation, the result could even be greater.
It’s absolutely free to set up business on google maps. You only have to make sure that you are following the right steps in doing so. We’ll look at each of them briefly to ensure you do not miss any detail as you go about this process.
Sign in to Google My Business (GMB) and on the top right corner, you will see the sign button. Click on it and you’ll be directed to the sign-in page. Make sure you are signing up with the Google account you plan to use in managing your business.
Before you add your business to Google, first check if it’s already listed. As we mentioned earlier, it is possible for someone else to list your business on this platform. Head over to Google or Google Maps and execute a search. Enter the exact name of your business. If an equivalent comes up, click the ‘claim my business’ (if you are using maps) or ‘own this business’ if you are using Google search. Follow the on-screen steps.
This is where you register your business name on Google. Customers will find you by searching your business name so it is important to make sure that it is spelled right. If you are not the one who created the business profile, Google will send you a verification code via email, text or mail. You will only be able to make further changes to your profile, including changing your name, after you have verified your account.
Google My Business categories are the fields you set for your business profile so that it can be understood better by search engines and its users. You have the option to select both primary and secondary categories. To appear in relevant search results, you have to choose the most accurate categories for your business. Even though you have the option to select as many categories as you want, fewer is always better, according to Google guidelines.
While setting your business profile, you will have the option to list the services you offer. This feature is available to all businesses, no matter the category. Google recommends that you group your services into sections so as to keep your profile organised. Be as brief and descriptive as possible and remember to use appropriate keywords for SEO purposes. Spare some time to go through their policies to understand what services are prohibited and which will be auto-rejected by their systems.
Google will ask you where your business is located. Enter the correct location and if you have multiple, just open the one you would like to manage. There’s also an option to manage location groups, which is basically a group of business listings that are under the management of an organisation.
If the nature of your business is one where you go to your customer’s location as opposed to them coming to you, tick the box ‘ I deliver goods and services and services to my customers’. You can even hide your identity if you do not wish your location to be known.
Your Google address is part of the location information. It helps customers to easily locate your business and will be publicly shown on your Google listings.
For businesses that do not serve customers at the location, you have the option to list your service areas. Note that for your business to be verified, the business address must exist on Google.
It would be great if you familiarised yourself with the address guidelines so that Google can accurately display your location.
As mentioned in step 7, you have the option to add your service areas on your Google listing. Listing this is important because customers are informed about where you will deliver or visit. Please note that you can only create one profile for the area you serve and up to 20 service areas. This option can also be used by hybrid business (those that serve business at their current location and also deliver goods or services to them).
Once your business is listed, more people are going to discover you via search. Some will want to call you to book a service, order a product, find out more information about you or for other purposes. If you are setting a new GMB profile, click ‘add phone’ and place your contacts. If you are reviewing an existing listing, click change to replace the existing one. Google takes up to 3 days to review updates and changes so check back after a couple of days to see if the contact details have been verified. Remember to include your website as well.
This is the final stage. Review all the information you have added to your business profile and if you are happy with everything, choose the verification option. You might get validated on the spot and start to manage your GMB listing right away if you created it from scratch. But if you were claiming it, you will have to wait for a verification code that you will then enter into your Google business dashboard.
Once you get your business listed, you will be in a position to view and manage it from a website or mobile app. Google recently switched to a more consolidated and minimalistic dashboard where you have full control of all the activities and functions related to your GMB listing.
Google’s dashboard allows you to make edits to your business profile. It’s a consolidated place where you can make updates to your business information on search and Maps, making it easy for you to give your customers relevant up to date details.
It is also on this dashboard where you will have access to your Google insights. That includes engagement, visibility and audience data. You will also be able to see and manage reviews from across the web.
Basically the seven areas you will most useful on your dashboard include:
Begin by doing a search of your business on the maps. If your name shows up, that means your Google listing already exists. It might have been added by a customer, a google local guide or other google map users. In this case, all you have to do is claim the listing.
If a name fails to come up, you’ll have to sign up first for a Google account (for those who lack one). If you do, just go straight to Google My Business (GMB) and sign in. You’ll come across instructions that will guide you through the entire process.
Some of the information you’ll be required to provide include your service area and address, category, website, opening and closing hours, specific offerings and contacts. Note that this is what will be displayed on the map and search engine results when someone searches for your business, say ‘Digital Hub Australia’ or anything related to it like ‘SEO agency in Sydney’.
There’s also the option to pick and claim a short URL and name for your Google listing.
In the case where you claimed the listing, you’ll have to verify that the business is yours before you proceed to make any further changes on your profile. This is done to ensure that your profile content is accurate and only you have access to it.
Once you activate this process, Google can send a postcard containing the verification code to your business address. Note that this package could take weeks to arrive. But once you have received and retrieved the code, you can go ahead and claim your business.
Alternatively, you could verify it via phone, email, or Google’s search console. You will know which options are available to you when you opt to verify the listing.
Your GMB listing will only bring you greater results when it’s complete, accurate and optimised. Remember, many prospective customers tend to be sceptical of businesses that have little or no information on their Google listings and other online platforms.
That aside, when ranking business on the SERP, Google usually looks at several factors. That includes what we’ve just mentioned plus reviews, business category, geographical distance between your business and the person doing the search and so on. That qualifies maps as an important element in search engine optimisation.
Other things you will have to do to optimise your profile include:
Even better, you can keep track of your performance on the maps. This can be accomplished through the analytics present in the GMB account. The metrics will help you evaluate the performance of your account and identify areas that need improvement. A good SEO agency in Sydney can assist you to do this entire process right and even manage your GMB listing so that it stays active and constantly brings desired results.
Your GMB listing plays a huge role in the success of your online marketing campaigns. Getting it optimised doubles your chances of being discovered by prospective customers and dominating your competition. It also opens you to more business opportunities. So in addition to verifying your Google My Business Page and including all the relevant information required during setup, here’s what else you can do to improve google business ranking.
Your business description is the one chance you have at winning over a potential customer by telling them your story and how unique your business is. Therefore, it should not only be unique but also compelling enough to evoke action from searchers.
Make sure to check Google guidelines on what you can and can’t have as part of your description. You can have a digital marketing expert with experience in google maps SEO tips to help you in drafting one. Remember to include relevant keywords in order to rank higher on search engines.
Google loves visual content, majorly because consumers love it too. You have probably noticed in the search engine results, especially local ones.
Including photos and videos on your Google Map Listing not only makes you rank higher google places but also attracts more consumers to your profile. You will come across as trustworthy to them, especially if the photos and videos capture details that are of interest to them. So make sure they are good quality and compelling as well.
Google reviews count among the strongest rank signals not just on maps but also search engines. Positive reviews speak to your competency and reliability and will most definitely get you a higher ranking. They also help to build social proof, market your brand and manage customer expectations.
Negative reviews, on the other hand, will only drop your rankings. The question you are probably asking yourself is how does one get the positive reviews?
First of all, you have to keep your GMB listing active by posting content every so often. This will get you in front of customers who are ready to engage with you. Be proactive in requesting reviews from your customers as well and always respond to them on time and in the most civilised way.
Links remain one of the strongest ranking factors in both Google Maps and search engine results. To rank higher on Maps, you will have to build local links. Think about the local businesses you have partnerships or strong relationships. Offer to do something in exchange for a link. It could be a guest post or a testimonial. All these links will reinforce your business presence on Google maps and this will work to your advantage. Once the location is solidified, the gains will be continuous.
Google ranks higher business it trusts. One of the signals they watch out for in measuring your trustworthiness is consistency in your GMB profile information and across the web. Does your business name and location match the information on your website, social media pages and online business listings? The same goes for the rest of the information on your GMB profile.
For more tips on how to rank in google maps, speak to an experienced digital marketing agency in Sydney, particularly those familiar with this space and who have had success in it before.
Google maps have the potential to channel lots of potential customers towards your business. So, see to it that you have an active account on Google My Business then go ahead and get it verified and optimised. Be on the lookout for new features and make sure you’ve made great use of them so as to keep your listing optimised.