What is Google My Business and why should you claim your free listing?

There are many strategies you can implement when looking to improve your online presence and search engine listing, some complex and some simple. One of the most important things to do if you’re a local business, also happens to be one of the most straightforward (and free) – ensure that you have a Google My Business listing.

What is a Google My Business listing?

Your Google My Business listing is like your company’s entry in the phonebook of the World Wide Web’s most popular search engine. The entry shows your company name, address, phone number, trading hours and website.

Why is a Google My Business listing important?

The most obvious reason that it’s important is that people need to find your business, so that they can hire you, use your services and pay you. Folk don’t use phonebooks any more. If they want to find goods or services, they hit up the all-knowing Google and go from there.

Your Google My Business listing will tell people how to contact you and let them know what you offer, and once your SEO is on point, you’ll rank higher in Google’s search listings, which in turn means that you show up higher in the list and more people will see your business name – and your site link and the important “call” link.

How to set up a Google My Business listing

Setting up a Google My Business listing is free and very easy.

You need to have a Google account to set up your listing, so if you don’t have one, hit up Google Business and register, if you do have one, sign in.

Once you’re in, it will ask you the name of your business. Enter that and hit next to continue, you will then be prompted to enter your company’s address.

There is also a checkbox asking if you deliver goods and services to your customers, if you tick this box it will allow you to enter a service area based upon postcodes or cities that you’re willing/able to serve.

Next up, you’ll be asked to categorise your business, keep in mind that not every type of trade and business is specifically listed. In this situation you’ll have to find the umbrella term which best covers your area of expertise.

Once you’ve negotiated this step, you’ll be prompted to enter your contact details, so that you can verify your business with Google. Once you have verified your business, you can set about building your company’s business listing using the provided tools.

You’ll be able to enter such details as business hours, logos and photographs of your business, profile photographs, so that potential clients can associate your face with what you offer, and even such things as Virtual Tours of your premises, should you be so inclined.

What next?

Once your listing is done, there are other things that you can do to maximise your outreach, such as using some of the more advanced tools that Google offers, including Google Posts, to add live news-like bulletins to your listing and even direct messaging, which allows you to get in touch with your customers.

We’ll go into that in more detail in a future post.

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