Nowadays no matter what they are looking for, the internet has become the first port of call for many people. People have become so dependent on the web for discovering all kinds of information that a business’ online discoverability can actually play a very significant role in determining how well it is doing. Having an online presence has therefore become very important for businesses of all types and sizes.
Since search engines are most peoples’ gateways onto the internet, many of the business owners who can appreciate the impact that the web could have on their bottom lines are often concerned with how best they can make their businesses even more visible on these. Luckily for them and us, Google—the most used search engine in the world—provides a couple of tools which can make it even easier for your customers to discover your business online.
Google Business Profiles
Google allows businesses to create business listings (officially known as Business Profiles) which appear in Google Maps and the local results of Google Search. Unfortunately, such listings do not provide anyways for the business owners to edit or otherwise manage them. To manage and edit your Google Business Profile, you must also create a separate Google My Business account for that profile.
Benefits of a Google My Business account
A Google My Business account allows you to claim ownership of your Business Profile and it also happens to be the only way of doing so. In addition to the ownership and management rights to your business’ profile, a Google My Business account also gives you access to additional features which you can use to increase your visibility on Google search results.
There are a lot of ways in which customers can interact with your Business Profile. Google My Business allows you to engage and respond to them. For instance, you can use your account to respond to reviews, answer questions, enable direct messaging and set up alerts. Google My Business can also be used to publish posts to your Business Profile in a way similar to how one can publish to social media platforms.
While a Business Profile only contains a limited amount of information about your business, with Google My Business you can provide your opening hours, a link to your website, your products, pricing and various other details. Google My Business can also be used to edit and update this information when necessary.
Setting up your Google My Business account
Step #1: Sign in
Visit www.google.com/business and sign in. A Google account is needed to sign in—this is usually the same account you use to login into your Gmail. You can either use your existing Google account or create a new one. After signing in or if you are already signed in, proceed to the next step.
Step #2: Add your business
Enter the name of your business into the text field. If it does not appear in the suggestions, this means that no Business Profile exists for your business yet so you will have to create a new one. To do this click Add your business to Google and then choose a category that best fits your business from the list of provided options.
Step #3: Provide your location
If your business has a physical location which your customers can visit, provide its address. You may also be asked to mark this location on a map. If your business does not have a location (or does not have one which you want to be known to customers) you can also just list the areas which it serves.
Step #4: Provide your contact information
Enter your business’ phone number and its website’s address. You can also provide a link to the Facebook page of the business instead of a website.
After providing the contact information, you will then be asked whether or not you would like to receive updates and notifications. After making your choice, click the Finish button. After this, all that you are left with to do is to verify ownership of the business.
Verifying ownership of your business
After your Google My Business Account is set up, you need to verify your Google business. Here is how you go about this.
Step #1: Sign in
Go to www.google.com/business to sign in.
After you are signed in, click Verify now to get started on the verification process.
Step #2: Choose a verification method
A postcard sent via postal mail is the default verification option but if you are allowed to choose any other methods such as phone or email which are much faster, by all means, opt for them instead. Enter the required details and then submit the form.
If you chose the postcard as your verification method, you will need to be very patient as you may be in for a very long wait.