Google is the world’s biggest search engine, with 1.2 trillion searches made every year across the world. While many local businesses understand the importance of Google’s search engine rankings, not everyone knows of another useful way to stay ‘friendly’ with the internet giant: Google My Business.
Google My Business is a way for local businesses to ‘claim’ their business name, location and other information on Google. This means when local customers search for words associated with your business, Google is likely to show them your business – along with important things like contact details, directions, a clear link to your website and a ‘click to call’ button.
You can read more about click to call buttons here.
Why claim your business?
The benefits to using Google My Business include:
Online users can find your business information more easily
Your business will appear when customers search using Google Maps
Google has more of your business information on record, which means it’s more likely to show you as a search result
You can control what information is shown about your business
No other business can ‘claim’ your business address or name
Claiming your business name and address on Google is simple. The first part of the process takes a few minutes, and Google have included an offline verification system which ensures only you can claim your business.
After you’ve claimed your business on Google, you can use the free tools and the profile Google provides to improve your appearance in search results.
A step-by-step guide to claiming your business on Google
Click ‘Start Now’ (you might need to sign in with your business email if you haven’t already)
Search for your business name and full address
You’ll be given a few different options:
If your business name and address appears, it’s already on Google – check to see whether you already have the login details for the account
If your business name appears but the details are wrong, click ‘Add your business’ to edit the details
If nothing appears, you can add your business by clicking ‘Let me enter the full business details'.
If you click ‘Let me enter the full business details’, you’ll be shown a form – fill in all the relevant details for your business
Make sure to include a category for your business: enter the type of business you have and select one of the options Google gives you
If your business provides a service (rather than being a shop), tick the box which says ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location’ and follow the steps which will ask you to enter a service area in miles or kilometres
Next, agree to the terms and conditions to claim your business on Google
Click ‘verify’ when Google asks you to verify your address by post or phone
Your business is now officially on Google!
If you select to verify your business by post, you’ll receive a postcard from Google which will contain details on how you can complete the process. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to access all elements of your business’s profile on Google, including statistics about how many people are viewing your information.
Using Google+ to improve search results Claiming your business on Google means you now have a profile on Google’s social media channel, Google+ too. Here you can post updates about your business similar to other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. By keeping this feed regularly updated you send good signals to Google that you’re an active business, which again helps you to get found more easily in their search results. You can find out more about the benefits of social media here.
So, if you wish you were driving more people to your website, or were appearing higher in Google search results, then claiming your business on Google is a great first step to take. Using the instructions above, you’ll have complete control over your Google My Business page and start to see results in no time at all.