Remember working to get your business on Google Maps? Google Local? Google has eased those under the umbrella of "Google My Business" as a place to manage all Google free business listings. To control your business information that appears on Google you should claim your own listing - and make sure to claim it using an email address that you intend to keep for a long time, and ideally one that others in your business can access if necessary (so not your personal email address if you can avoid it.)
It takes a bt of effort but it's well worth the time to claim your Google My Business account and add/update information on a regular basis.
What is Google My Business? From Google:
"Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business."
What does Google My Business 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 My Business 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 that 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 a business description, assign categories for the work you do, add a portfolio of business images (interior, exterior and products), change business hours and add holiday hours.
Once you gain access to your business Google My Business 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 My Business 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 the Founder and Chief Digital Marketing Strategist at One Web Source. Doreen has been a digital marketing consultant for 18 years, she reports on changes in technology, new marketing communications tools and current trends in user behavior online to help businesses reach and engage with their customers.