Staking Your Digital Claim: Using Google My Business Page
British comedian/actor Eddie Izzard has a fantastically funny routine about countries and their flags.
“We stole countries with the cunning use of flags. Just sail around the world and stick a flag in,” he says in front of a laughing audience.
“’I claim India for Britain!’
They’re going ‘You can’t claim us, we live here! Five hundred million of us!’
‘Do you have a flag …?’
‘We don’t need a bloody flag, we live here!’
‘Well, no flag, no country. Those are the rules… that I just made up!’”
Interestingly enough, staking claims isn’t just limited to British empires, prospectors, and dogs on walks. If you own a business, and people are searching for that business on Google, you need to claim it. And this is done through a free service called Google My Business.
What IS Google My Business?
You’re more than likely familiar with the product already. Google a restaurant near you, a nearby boutique, hotel, etc, and the majority of the time you not only get a search result but a map to the location, a phone number, a website link, and customer reviews. But those results aren’t automatic… someone at those businesses had to claim that Google My Business account and add the content, and if you want the same level of results for your business, there’s a little work to be done.
Fortunately, the process is fairly simple and the account is free. Just go to business.google.com and click Start Now. (You’ll need a Google account if you don’t already have one). Then, enter your business name, address, category, and contact information. You’ll be asked to “verify” yourself—as simple as retrieving a code from an email—and boom, you’re live!
“Dead” Business Pages Imply Unreliable Businesses
But don’t start celebrating yet. An unmaintained page is almost as bad (if not worse) than having no page at all. Now you need to make your page look inviting, accurate, and up-to-date. Add a profile picture, make sure all your contact info and business hours are accurate, and when reviews start coming in, reply to make it obvious that someone’s at the helm.
Go For The Gold
And there you go! You now have a verified Google business, and your search rankings just got a boost. You’ll also show up on Google maps during searches. But this is just the beginning. Ready to head down the rabbit hole? Take the red pill? Step into the wardrobe? Then just keep reading.
Here’s a couple more tips to help make the most of your Google My Business Page:
- Post Content – You can add a lot of things to your profile. 360 degree video, commercials, interior and exterior photos, photos of you on the job, the list goes on. But you can also post content like you do on your other social media accounts. It could be anything from a blog post to a current sale or promotion, and as an added benefit, it makes your page look alive and vibrant, and makes you stand out from the hundreds of business pages that never
- Watch Out For “Pending Edits” – Like Wikipedia, there’s always a ne’er-do-well or two who thinks it’s funny to add incorrect information to business pages. Heck, it might even be one of your competitors. Google usually sends an email alert when new information is added to a page but this isn’t fool-proof. So check your page information regularly and look for the bright orange text that indicates a pending edit.
- Call-To-Action Buttons – Google My Business knows you want customers to do more than just look at your business. You want customers to take action, which is why you can add options to your page such as “Call Us”, “Make A Reservation”, “Sign Up”, or “Learn More”. Take advantage of these!
- Claim the Free Money – Currently, Google offers Ad Word credits to businesses that sign up on Google My Business. As of the writing of this post, that offer is $100 in Ad Words credit if you spend $50 dollars on the service. So if you plan to invest in Google advertising to boost your results, then don’t leave this free money sitting on the table!
Next week we’ll explore a little deeper into Google Ad Words
As we wind down our Google anatomy lesson. And as always, I’m ready, willing, and able to get started helping you get everything you can out of your digital presence.
Questions? Ready to Get Started?
If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.