The platform called ‘Google My Business’ provides not only a way to control how Google presents your business to the world but also a way to keep on-going communication with your existing and prospective clients and customers.
Google My Business has a very rich interface and includes many features that are typically needed by businesses that rely on local traffic for their sales. You can create posts with your featured and promotional offers, include pictures and videos of your products and services, respond to reviews, post your hours of operation, etc, etc.
How to check the status of your listing
Go to google.com and enter the name of your business and the city. If that’s not specific enough, enter the city area and the actual address.
Google will usually display several results in the main column, and a special sidebar, called ‘knowledge panel’, to the right. See the included image. Click on it to zoom in.
(If you don’t see a knowledge panel in the sidebar, this may mean that Google doesn’t know anything about your business, even though it will display search results in the main column. It may also mean that Google doesn’t ‘think’ that your business has a physical location, but is entirely Web-based.)
This means that your business’s listing has not been claimed and verified by Google. It also means that anyone can click on it and at least attempt to claim it.
If instead of “Own this business?” or “Claim this Business” the link says anything else, it means that your business has been successfully claimed.
If it wasn’t you (or you just forgot about it), it could have been an employee, a co-worker – or just about anyone else, and it is worth looking into. You may need to start a process to reclaim your listing.
If you see “Own this business?” link, click on it and follow the instructions provided by Google.
You will need to log into your Google (Gmail) account or create it if you don’t have one. This account will be used by Google – as the main contact for the listing.
During the initial setup, you will provide the information about your business, such as the business name, address, etc.
This will initiate the verification process, which consists of Google sending you what they call a post-card (it’s actually an envelope), with a special code that you will then use to verify your listing within Google My Business platform.
The 3 most important pieces of information related to your business that you provide to Google during the setup are:
1. Your Business Name (N)
2. Address (A)
3. Phone Number (P)
Collectively, they are often called NAP Citation (Name/Address/Phone).
This is very important to be done right – from the beginning. This information can be difficult to change afterwards and even the little things, like typing ‘St.’ instead of ‘Street’ can trip Google up – so it may not recognize your business’s overall internet presence properly.
Also, you need to pick the Business Category that your business will be filed under carefully. This too can be difficult to change later. The names of categories are pre-defined by Google and there may be a particular category that describes your business best – which may not be the one that Google would assign to your business automatically.
If you need help setting up, configuring and populating the listing and to receive training from an experienced Google My Business partner Agency, get in touch with us. We have affordable plans that will get your listing up and running fast. They can be found HERE
In other words, make sure that you are in control of your listing, and that you know who has access to it. Google My Business is your (very important) internet property, that effectively controls how your business is presented to the world. Treat it as such and you will reap long-term benefits.