- Google My Business Is The Most Important Tool You Can Use To Help New Customers Find You Online
- Three Ways Google My Business Can Help Your Business
- Track Your Rankings
- Spotlight on Success
- Why Google Changed It’s Business Products
- Google My Business
- Unchanged Google Features for Business
- Set-up Google My Business
- STEP 5: Edit Your Business Information
- DIY- Multiple-Location Business Set-up
- STEP 1: Create a Google Account
- STEP 2: Create a Business Account
- STEP 3: Enter Your Business Information in a Spreadsheet
- STEP 4: Import Your Spreadsheet
- STEP 5: Check Your Locations for Errors
- STEP 6: Request Bulk Upload Verification
- STEP 7: Manage and Upload Additional locations
- STEP 8: Edit Your Business Information
- Dominate Search with Some Help
Google My Business Is The Most Important Tool You Can Use To Help New Customers Find You Online
With 7.6 Billion Local Searches Per Month, Your Next Customer Could Be A Click Away
By using Google My Business, you are ensuring that potential customers receive your correct business information in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+, on whatever device they are using, starting your relationship out on the right foot.
Whether customers are looking up driving directions in Maps on a tablet, hours of operation in Search on a desktop computer, or a number to call you on a smartphone, Google My Business provides them with all the information they need about your business so they can easily act on their search.
Google My Business does more than efficiently provide information to searchers, though; it enables you to increase your business’s SEO ranking and take control of your online reputation.
Gone are the days when you could simply claim your page and post an update once a month. With 72% of consumers reporting that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from real people, your business can’t afford to not have a strong online presence.
Get started optimizing your business’s pages and watch your sales grow as you dominate local search.
Three Ways Google My Business Can Help Your Business
1. Be Found Quickly
When current or potential customers turn to the web or mobile device to search for a local business, Google My Business will ensure you come up and provide them with the correct information on Search, Maps, and Google+, eliminating confusion and starting your relationship out on the right foot.
2. Connect With Your Customers
Build lasting relationships with your fans on your Google My Business integrated Google+ page.
- Share regular updates.
- Post engaging videos.
- +1s let you learn about customers’ preferences.
- Respond to feedback.
- Host events via hangouts.
3. Easy to Manage
The Google My Business dashboard allows you to manage all of your business information in one central location.
You no longer have to log into multiple Google pages to make updates, respond to reviews, or receive insights because all activities can now be done from your dashboard.
87% of local mobile searches turn into a phone call or visit within 24 hours.
Track Your Rankings
Google My Business is one way that businesses up their rankings in Google’s proprietary search algorithm. However, to effectively use this powerful tool, you should be tracking how you rank on both Google Searches and Google Maps.
To know whether your local search strategy is effective, you must understand what keywords drive your business. Once you have identified the successful keywords, tracking them by every combination of zip code, neighborhood, town/city, county/metro, and state will help you to fine tune your search strategy and understand behaviors of different customers.
Google makes it very difficult to track organic search rankings, in part to encourage you to buy advertising. However, there are powerful tools available that can help you track your local search engine optimization progress. One affordable tool is LocalCast, a local online marketing software platform that costs just $99 per month.
- Displays rankings over time for trend analysis
- Visual before and after charts
- Shows improvements in top three, top 10, and top 30 rankings
- Shows changes in rankings compared to any time
- Tracks the ranking of:
- Google Search (organic) and Google Maps
- Google Maps searches
- Your keywords and all local keyword combination (zip, town, etc.)
- Your website, directories, social media profiles, blogs, and more
Knowing where you stand is the first step.
The second step is investing in an aggressive local search engine optimization strategy so your business generates new customers and sees a significant return on investment.
Spotlight on Success
The following case studies demonstrate how two local companies used Google My Business to dominate local search and increase sales.
101st Airborne Cab
101st Airborne Cab turned to Vivial for help after Google marked its page as spam and took it down.
After vigilantly working with both Google and 101st Airborne Cab’s marketing team, Vivial was able to get the page live and optimized.
- Uses Google Maps, Search, and Google+
- Embedded Google Maps into website
- Maintains active blog
- Profile completely filled out
- Shared business story and mission with fans
- Professional photography incorporated into profile
- Google-exclusive promotions
Results Before After
Google Maps Top 30 0 20
Google organic rankings 6 60
NearSay profile – +26 spots (#5)
Yelp listing – +7 spots (#7)
Page views – +30,000
Clarksville taxi cab search – #1
*Time frame: May – Nov. 2014
Diamond Head Plumbing
- Uses Google Maps, Search, and Google+
- Google+ linked on website
- Local phone number and address on profile
- Profile completely filled out
- Shared business story and mission with fans
- Professional photography on Google+
Results Before After
Google Maps rankings 41 58
Local searches – #1
Search baseline – +30
First page rankings – +21
*Time frame: Aug – Nov. 2014
Why Google Changed It’s Business Products
As Google’s library of business products grew, the company realized that each was operating as a separate individual entity, not sharing data with its other products. Not only did this burden businesses by requiring them to manage multiple products, it also did not provide analytics and insights across products.
To simplify their use, the company created Google My Business, a one-stop-shop with an easy-to-use dashboard.
Google My Business
61% of searchers consider local results to be more relevant than standard results.
When you enter your business information into the dashboard, Google My Business automatically pushes it out to Search, Maps, and Google + pages, ensuring your business shows up on any of the services a customer is searching on.
Integrates Google Places and Google+
You no longer have to manage two different pages! Google My Business saves you time, makes it easy to update pages, and helps you ensure all information is accurate.
Has an Easy-to-use and Comprehensive Dashboard
Insights: Track views, clicks, and driving directions over time to understand more about your customers.
Reviews: Manage, track, and respond all from a single location.
Analytics: For businesses that have Google Analytics installed on their websites, the dashboard will provide information on new visits, unique visitors, and page view numbers for the last 30 days. For a deeper dive, you can easily visit your account via a link.
AdWords Express: Start or end your campaigns to increase traffic.
Allows You to Include Icon Images and Virtual Tours with Business View: Complete your Google+ page with icon photos and take your customers on a virtual tour inside your business. The more info you provide the better you will rank on search.
Has a Mobile App that Enables You to Manage Your Account On-the-go
- Update info
- Post content
- Track insights
- Reviews are pushed to your smartphone in real-time, letting you respond quickly
79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so your reputation is important.
33% of reviews turn positive when you respond, giving you control over your image.
“As consumers leave new reviews online, the [Google My Business app will send owners] push notifications on their devices, alerting them to the added review. They can then launch the app to respond to the review instantly.
Though a minor change from a technical perspective, this could be a very big deal for businesses where owners are often too busy running their operations to be sitting behind a PC to see what customers are saying online. And is often the case, a single bad review that’s allowed to sit out there, ignored, can have a big impact on prospective new customers or clients.”
– Sarah Perez, TechCrunch Reporter @sarahintampa
Unchanged Google Features for Business
- Customers can still show their support clicking the +1 button. Similar to the Facebook Like button, Google’s +1 indicates an endorsement of your business
- +1 buttons are located on Maps, Search, Google +, and Google ads
- Google’s algorithm does incorporate +1s. +1s prove that your business provides credible content to users
- Regularly posting content is an easy way to continually interact with your customers as well as increase your ranking.
- Google My Business still allows you to post, use “#”, and “+” to tag fans.
- About, Posts, Photos, YouTube, and Reviews tabs will still appear at the top of your Google + page.
- You can change each tab’s visibility in your Google + settings.
- Your YouTube channel should already be linked to your Google + profile.
- The way you post videos will not change.
Set-up Google My Business
Ready To Start Dominating Local Search? Let’s Get Started.
Follow these easy steps and your business will quickly be on its way to becoming a Google My Business pro.
STEP 1: Do You Have a Google+ or Places Account?
You don’t need to create a new account because Google has automatically upgraded you to Google My Business.
Click here to create a Google My Business account.
STEP 2: What is Your Business Type?
A local brick and mortar business that serves customers at a business location. Examples: restaurant, retail store, hotel.
A local business that provides services to customers in a specific service area. Examples: plumber, pizza delivery, taxi service, lawyer.
Online businesses or products. Examples: artist, product, sports team, music band, cause.
* If your business has multiple locations, Google My Business allows you to bulk upload the information so that you can manage everything in one place.
STEP 3: Enter the Name or Address of Your Business
If your business appears in the drop-down menu, select it.
If your business name does not appear in the drop-down menu, click “No, these are not my businesses” or “I’ve correctly entered the business.”
- Google will prompt you to enter some details for your business
- Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number that reaches your business directly
- Make sure your name, address and phone number exactly match what’s on your website and other online directories
- After you complete your business information, click Submit
STEP 4: Verify Your Business
To make sure all of your business information is correct, Google will ask you to verify it. There are three different methods that Google uses to verify: postcard, or phone, or instant (if using Google Webmaster Tools).
One thing to note: Google chooses the verification method so make sure you provide them with all the correct information in order to avoid delays.
- On the postcard request screen, verify that your address is correct on the postcard. If you would like to add an optional contact name, do so here
- When you have finished, click “Send”
- You will receive a verification code that needs to be entered into your dashboard
- Make sure you can directly answer your business phone number to get your verification code
- Click “Verify by Phone” to have the code sent to your phone via automated message
- Enter the code from the message into your dashboard
- You may be able to instantly verify if you have already verified your business’s website with Google Webmaster Tools
- To instantly verify, make sure you are signed in to Google My Business with the same account that you used to verify your site with Webmaster Tools
- If you are verifying multiple locations, please visit page 10 for directions on how to manage your Google My Business account
STEP 5: Edit Your Business Information
After you have verified your Google My Business information, you can now add, delete, or edit your business description, hours of operation, contact information, and photos.
Editing your business information is one of the most important steps in the Google My Business setup. Make sure your information is as complete and as accurate as possible in order to ensure your pages are being fully optimized. Below is a helpful checklist of information you can include in your profile.
Information to include:
- Business name
- Physical address
- Phone number(s) (avoid 800 numbers; use local area codes)
- Pin marker
- Make sure it is in the correct location on map.
- Website URL (Google integrates information from your website to help improve their local search results_
- Email address(es)
- Category (What your business is, not what it does)
- Hours of operation
- Introduction to your business
- Photos (Pick well-lit professional photos in landscape format for the Google Carousel, best practice can be found here
- Driving and parking directions
- Neighborhood key words
- Other information (such as menus, specials and promotions, etc.)
STEP 6: View Your Live Pages
- Log into your account and select the page you would like to view
- Click “Edit” in the upper right hand corner
- At the bottom of the dashboard you will see Search, Maps, and Google + links
- Click on one of these links to view your business as it appears on each site
- To view your live pages, log into your account and select the page you would like to view
- Click “Edit” in the upper right hand corner
- Scroll to the bottom of the dashboard and you will see links to Search, Maps, and Google+
Keep in mind that Google looks at your entire web presence (such as link backs, mentions, shares, etc.) when deciding how you will bedisplayed in search. To grow your business’s web presence, consistency is key; you should be regularly blogging, engaging your fans on social media, interacting with other businesses, and be listed on other local sites. Not doing these things? Now is a great time to get started!
DIY- Multiple-Location Business Set-up
If your business has 10 or more locations, Google My Business makes it easy to track and optimize all your locations in one place
Before you begin setting up your multi-location Google My Business account, make sure review Google’s quality control guidelines for multi-location businesses. These guidelines will help you ensure that your business is eligible and your information appears correctly on Google Maps.
Once you have reviewed the quality control guidelines and agree that your business complies, you can go ahead and setup your business on Google My Business using the steps outlined below.
STEP 1: Create a Google Account
- You can use your existing Google account, but Google recommends creating an account with an email address that contains your business domain in order to avoid verification delays.
- Example of business domain email address: if your business website is http://.localvox.com, your email address would be email@example.com.
STEP 2: Create a Business Account
- By creating a business account, you are allowing the shared management of a set of business locations by different Google users.
- Google recommends that you create a new business account and use it to add, verify, and manage your locations. By creating a new account, you have the ability to share management with other Google users now or down the road.
STEP 3: Enter Your Business Information in a Spreadsheet
- Before you upload and complete your information, you will need to start editing the spreadsheet locally
- The spreadsheet is available for download in Google My Business Locations. Click the “Download the template” link on the “Import locations from a file” screen
- Don’t forget to create a header row for your document. You can copy the header from this example
- Don’t worry about having the additional fields perfectly complete before importing, since you will be able to fill in any missing information after the initial import. Once you are finished, import the spreadsheet in any of the following formats: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .txt, and .ts
STEP 4: Import Your Spreadsheet
- After you have formatted your spreadsheet, click “Import locations” to upload your file
- Click “Import file” to select your file, and then click “Upload”
- Common import questions are answered here
STEP 5: Check Your Locations for Errors
- After you have uploaded your spreadsheet file, your locations will appear in your dashboard
- Before your locations are published, you will be prompted to correct any errors
- Common location questions are answered here
STEP 6: Request Bulk Upload Verification
- Google requires you to verify your locations
- To request verification for your bulk upload, click the “Verify your locations” link and submit the form
- Check your email for updates on the status of your verification request
- Common bulk upload verification questions are answered here
STEP 7: Manage and Upload Additional locations
- Once you have been verified, you can upload additional locations using new spreadsheets, or add them individually with the Locations tool.
- Duplicate uploads will be merged with your existing locations.
- More information about editing your locations is available here
STEP 8: Edit Your Business Information
Once all your information has been uploaded and is correct, you can go in and edit each location
Tips for optimizing multi-location pages:
- We highly recommend putting location terms (neighborhood, city) in each business description (i.e.: New York City’s best ____)
- Upload different content to each page (no duplicate info!)
- Each location should have an individual webpage (each with Google Maps embedded)
- Avoid using 800 numbers. Each location phone number should have a local area code
- Link to each location’s social media pages
- Use consistent naming conventions on all pages
- Conduct on-page local SEO for each location
- Configure Google Webmaster Tools for each page
- Setup separate Google Analytics filters so you can view traffic correctly
Dominate Search with Some Help
With billions of local searches per month, your business can’t afford to not have a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy.
Not everybody has the time to dedicate to becoming a SEO expert…after all you do have a business to manage. The good news is Vivial can help. We have software and services that will help your business dominate search and bring new customers in the door, providing you with an immediate return on investment.
Through LocalCast we can help grow your business! We can take your business’ challenges and create a search optimization strategy that allows you to meet your goals.