Have you ever searched for a local business, such as a hairdressers, on Google and seen results for local businesses with a cool map next to it? Take a look at the example below:
In this example I was looking for a hairdressers in Bexley, Kent, so I searched for “hairdressers Bexley”. It’s immediately obvious that Google has presented me with the best results possible giving me information such as:
- The top result for “hairdressers Bexley”
- The name, website, Google+ page, address and phone number of local hairdressers
- A map showing where the hairdressers are
Tip: You can see markers next to the top results addresses such as A, B C etc. These markers are also on the map next to it to show you exactly where that business is located.
This cool feature in the search results benefits from local SEO and is called local listings or local search results.
If you want to benefit from this brilliant feature from Google then you need Google My Business (formerly Google Places).
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is essentially free advertising from Google in which potential customers can get the essential information about you they need by searching on Google Search, Maps or Google+.
If you want a better idea of what it is then use my hairdressers example but search in your home town instead, for example:
“hairdressers Shoreditch” – We will not be held responsible for the types of businesses you will find in Shoreditch where funky beard trends are all the rage!
Now see what happens when you search this term on Google Maps from your phone:
This is where the magic of Google My Business comes alive!
The value of this information is just brilliant in that you get stupidly simple yet effective features such as:
- Name, location and reviews (yes, you can leave/receive reviews here too)
- Directions – One button will get you turn-by-turn directions to the location. Great for the in-built sat-nav or even for walking to the business
- Opening times – Well you don’t want to show up and it’s closed do you?
- Call/Save/Share – One tap and you can call the business. You can save it for later and even share with your friends
- Street View – Know what the place looks like before you even get there
- Photos – Again, know what you’re looking for and browse photos that others have added
All this on one screen, without scrolling, for free.
How can I get Google My Business?
Easy. Get on over to https://www.google.com/business/ and click the “Get on Google” button.
Before we look at setting this up, you should be aware of a couple of things:
- Don’t panic, this is free remember?
- Google My Business is linked to your Google account. If you’re already logged in to a personal account then you should log out. Either log in using the account you have for your business or create a new account specifically for your business
- You may already have a listing that was made previously. If so you can amend it using the account you used to set it up before
OK, let’s get started!
Setting up your Google My Business listing
Step 1 – Go to Google
Head to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “Get on Google”. Accept the agreements and follow the prompts.
Step 2 – Search for your business
You will need to search to see if your business already exists. If it does then select it. If not, select “None of these match”.
If you’ve selected “None of these match” then you will be asked to put in your business address. Be sure to fill this out. However if you don’t have a shop front as such and maybe work from home or just deliver good to customers then tick the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location”. This will allow you to set an area that you serve or are located near. For example, if you only serve your town or are based in an area but don’t want to reveal your address.
Continue and confirm your details then move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Verify your ownership
Google requires that you verify yourself and they will send a postcard to your address. Seems a bit old fashioned right? A global technology giant sending you a piece of paper to verify you own your company? The reason for this is because anyone can register the business on Google and so to prevent fraud and mis-information they will send you a physical card with a verification code on so that Google KNOWS it’s you.
Step 4 – Setup your My Business page
You don’t have to wait until the card arrives. You can start setting up immediately! Your listing won’t appear in results until you’re verified but at least you now have time to get the page setup correctly. Google will walk you through the steps needed to fill out all the relevant information about your business. Including website, opening times, phone number, address, photos etc.
Do you already have a Google My Business page? How did you find the setup process? If you have used this guide to setup your page then please share it to help others and put a link to your page in the comments. We’d love to connect with you!