One of your the most important business listings you can focus on is Google Business Profile. Here you can manage business data, location, open and closed dates and hours of operation all in one place. To control your business information appearing on Google it's important to claim your listing. Make sure to claim it using an email address that you intend to keep for a long time, ideally one that others in your business can access if necessary (not your personal email address if you can avoid it). You can also assign additional users to manage the account with different permission levels.
What is Google Business Profile? From Google:
"Google Business Profile is an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information."
What does Google Business Profile do for you? Helps put your company on the map. Literally.
How do you gain control over what and how Google delivers information about your business? Go to https://www.google.com/business/, log in (or create a new account) then navigate to your business listing. If your business is not yet listed on Google Business Profile you can enter it. One caveat - you'll need to wait for a postcard containing a verification code to be delivered via USPS (hello Y2K) to confirm and verify your business location. Waiting on a flimsy postcard makes for some trouble if your business is located in a business center or campus shared with other businesses, but if you have a problem it can be resolved with Google's help. Once the verification process is complete you'll find important business tools like the ability to change your official business name or location (important if your business moves!); add or edit your bbusiness description; assign product or service categories; add a portfolio of business images (interior, exterior and products), change business hours and add holiday hours; reply to Google reviews and more.
Once you gain access to your business Google Business Profile account you'll be able to add and update many of the details your customers are looking for and want to know about your business. What does the outside of your building look like? Interior? What are your normal hours of operation? Are there updated holiday hours? Here's an example of One Web Source's Google My Business info so you can have a visual of what you'll be working on (laptop view):
And here's an example of how your Google Business Profile listing appears on a mobile device when a mobile users search a location-specific query and your company is the most relevant result:
I strongly recommend every business with a physical location (and even a business that has no physical location but sells online or within a "service area") claims their Google My Business listing and starts updating it pronto. And, like your social media accounts, make sure there's more than one trusted resource who can access the account in case of emergency.
SEO BLOG POST AUTHOR: Doreen Fleming is founder and Digital Marketing Strategist at One Web Source in Newtown CT. Doreen researches and reports on changes in search technology, new marketing communications tools and current trends in user behavior online to help businesses reach and engage with their customers.