Updated: Nov 18, 2019
One of the first steps I advise any business to do is claim and verify their "Google My Business" (GMB) listing. This is a free service and is excellent for local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and you stand a good chance of being highlighted by Google when somebody in your local area searches for your type of business, or your business name. It also ensures you are found on Google Maps, and as most drivers use some kind of GPS system - it should lead them directly to your door.
If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Google My Business allows you to provide basic information about your business, for example:
Business Description - a brief overview of your business
You also have the facility to add:
Posts - similar to Facebook posts promoting what's new, products, offers and events
Messaging - allowing customers who are viewing your listing to message your direct
Additionally, this is the place where customers can leave reviews on your business, and you can respond.
I see many businesses who claim and verify their listing but then do nothing with it.
Beware, changes can be made to your listing without your knowledge:
They can suggest an edit, so if somebody believes the information is incorrect, they can submit to Google to get it changed. I once had somebody suggest that my web address was incorrect - it wasn't!
They can ask questions (if messaging is turned on)
They can write a review
And, they can add photos
Google claim that you are advised when any changes are made, but I'm not too sure - so I advise that you check your listing at least on a monthly basis - particularly if you are in a very competitive niche, and certainly to keep track of and respond to any Google Reviews - positive or negative.
Never, under estimate the power of Google. When ranking your website - they look across the whole of your online presence. So ensure that your business name is consistent across all your platforms - for example it doesn't matter if you use Ltd or Limited, or St or Street - but use them consistently.
The more credible your online presence the more authoritative your ranking.
They also crawl your website, so quite often even if you've not listed a service on your GMB they will highlight it anyway, as they will have found the service listed on your website - spooky we know! So for example on this search for "waxing" in Manchester, it also highlighted snippets of reviews and web content.
Finally, GMB offers a fabulous "insights" reporting system. Where you are able to see for example:
How many times your business has come up in searches
How many have called
How many have clicked through to your website
How many have asked for directions
How many have messaged you
How many times your photographs have been viewed (it's a well known fact that businesses with recent photos get more clicks through to their website).
The above is a bit of a whistle stop tour of Google My Business, but one, I hope, that gives some insights into why every business should claim their listing, and what a great support it can be to your website and online presence and therefore your business overall.
In fact, we feel it's that important that as a matter of course we include the optimisation of a Google My Business listing within all our website design and support packages.
If we can help you with any aspect of your GMB listing please don't hesitate to get in touch.