Google My Business experts say set up or refine your Google business account to see what your customers are seeing
You’ve invested time and money in building your business, your staff and your physical location. Now, it’s time to put your business on the map — the Google Map, that is, say Google My Business Experts — and get found by potential customers to drive them to your physical address.
Formerly known as “Google Places,” Google Maps hosts many advanced features unique from its predecessor such as geolocation functions, a street map view, sharable directions, a navigation search feature and 3D city maps. And the good news is, they’re all free.
So, if you haven’t set up your Google Maps listing yet, here’s how and why you should drop your “pin” on the map right now and claim your business listing today.
‘Find a chiropractor near me’
As you likely utilize yourself, geolocation and mobile devices have made searching for a product or service so sophisticated that you can now find whatever you need within proximity of wherever you are. That means when potential customers search for a service you offer, they are most likely going to buy it from the closest result nearby.
Google My Business experts point out that if your nearby competitor has a pin on the map and you don’t, guess who is most likely going to get the business? Additionally, if your competitor’s business is listed on the map, they also are likely to have a Google Business Profile, which means they are appearing higher on the search results page and outranking your business, regardless of whether it’s better.
Claim your business on Google
You may already have a business listing on Google Maps by default, just by having an operating business. But unless you claim the listing as your own, you won’t be able to control the information your potential customers are seeing.
This includes ratings and reviews, hours of operation, special services you offer, a link to your website, photos, and how your business generally displays on the search results page when it appears. Claiming and filling out your business profile tells the world you’re open for business, what you offer, and where and when to find you.
Setting up your Google Business Page
- First, go onto your computer and log into your Google account with the Google email address you want associated with your business (if you don’t already have a Google account you can create one at google.com).
- Open Google Maps and enter your business address into the search bar at the top. If your business comes up and you have not claimed it, open the menu to the left, select “Claim this business” and then follow the prompts.
- If your business doesn’t come up, you’ll want to officially add it to Google Maps. Open the menu on the left, click “Add your business” and then follow the prompts.
Once you’ve added or claimed your business on your Google Business Profile, you can begin managing the information that will publicly appear by customizing the details in the fields provided. The more robust your profile, the fewer questions your customers will have.
Plus, by incorporating a link to your website, along with using strategic words in your profile — words customers are likely to use when searching for your services (think “chiropractor,” “medical center,” “back pain,” etc.), you will vastly improve your search engine rankings, making your business show up before those of your competitors. For example, you may show up on page one of the search results, instead of page 100.
Verify your business to make it official
Your customers want to know the integrity level of your business, your online response time, and whether Google deems it an “official” business.
Once you’ve claimed or added your business to Google Maps, say Google My Business experts, you’ll need to verify it through one of several ways to make it official: by postcard, phone, text, video recording, live video call or email. While all businesses can verify by postcard (which usually takes about five days), not all can verify through the other formats — it depends on things like business category, public information, region, support hours and volumes. If your business is eligible for all verification options, you will see them listed on your profile page when you start this process.
Begin verification by going to your new “Google Business Profile” page. This is the page you’ll be prompted to set up after adding or claiming your business. Here, you can begin managing your profile at any time by clicking “Manage Now,” or by opening the menu to the left. Start by filling out your information, including all location details, products, services, hours, website and photos you’d like to include. Note: It may take a while for your updated business information to show up across Google.
Unlock a host of business-boosting Google features
In addition to having the ability to share in-depth information on-demand with your customers, you’ll have access to many more indispensable tools to help grow your business. If you’d like to connect with customers, turn on the chat feature and connect in real time through messaging.
Tip: It’s a great way to begin asking for reviews. Also, try out the “Call” feature from Google Assistant. You can set it up to start receiving and managing appointments. Remember, the more you engage with people online, the more it shows that your business cares about your customers — and that speaks volumes.
Try Google Ads or create an online offer
Once your Google Business profile is up and running, your business can benefit in more ways than just driving customers to your physical location.
Explore your profile menu to the left, where you can select from options to create an offer or ad, and begin monitoring performance by tracking traffic and engagement on your website. Simply enter the offer or discount you’d like to extend, the dates it’s good through, and any terms and conditions that may apply. Try a few variations and monitor which offers get the best responses.
Improve your website to optimize search performance
The best way to improve your website for Google Search is to first understand how Google “sees” your site. A free service called Google Search Console helps you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site’s presence in Google Search results.
While you don’t have to sign up for Search Console to appear in Google Search results, it does help you understand and improve your website’s performance by implementing key findings through free tools and reports.
Here are just a few ways Google Search Console can help:
- Confirms Google can find and crawl your website
- Finds and fixes indexing problems based on content
- Tracks traffic to your website, frequency of appearance in Google Search, where traffic is coming from and click-through rates
- Alerts you to spam or other website issues
- Shows which websites link to your website
Increase your website SEO and drive traffic to your business
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool to help your company’s website appear as the optimal result for those searching for a particular word. Google Console can help you determine the best search terms most relevant to your business to make it easier to get found.
You’ll want to choose words that are not only relevant to your business, but a bit more unique, as generic category words will pull up potentially hundreds of thousands of other similar businesses too.
Google My Business experts point to another advantage to creating your Google Business profile: backlinks. You can add links to other directories where you’ll want your business to appear such as Bing, Yahoo and Yelp. Also, know that when other sites refer to your business by linking to your website, Google considers it “quality linking” and it improves your SEO. If you’d like to give your business a boost in online exposure, try it out, and watch the numbers of your website increase under the “Insights” section. Every little bit counts.
If you do nothing else, set it up
There’s a wealth of information here, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Digital marketing dives deep into the wells of complexity, giving you the option to make your online business plan as extensive or minimal as you see fit.
You can later add keywords, posts, offers, ads, photos, encourage reviews and take advantage of Google’s free marketing kit and personalized tips based on your location. Be sure to keep your Google Business Profile up to date with current information. Given the price tag for setting up your business profile and the plethora of tools that come with it (all free), why not set aside an hour or two today to get it going?
It’s exciting to learn something new, and if you’re into numbers, you’ll be amazed to watch the traffic begin to flow into your business, both online and in-person.
RUSSELL GREENSEID, DC, is a chiropractor, major shareholder and chief of staff at Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a trusted advocate and respected voice in the chiropractic field with a doctor of chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, N.Y. He resides in Short Hills, N.J., with his wife and two sons. Visit metrohealthnyc.com for more information on Greenseid and his multidisciplinary team of professionals.