Google My Business & Google Maps
Google My Business is a free listing service provided by Google.
When your business is properly claimed and verified by Google, it should qualify your business to appear among the listings for your business category in your local community.
Of course, getting listed is one thing. But getting to the top (at least the top three) is another matter.
That means your listings will appear on the first appearance of the map when Google shows just three listings. This is when Google Maps will really work for you.
But getting to the top of Google Maps listings has a lot of competition and is very challenging.
One listing per location
Every business is allowed one listing per location (an actual physical location). If you look up your business on Google, you should see your listing as it exists right now. If you have not yet claimed your listing, you should do so immediately.
Once claimed, you also need to verify your business with Google. This often requires submitting a form and then waiting for a postcard to come to you to proceed with the verification process.
Completing your GMB profile
While you’re waiting for verification, you can use your time to populate your GMB listing with all sorts of business details – product/services, history, hours, photos and more.
One key factor in this process is selecting the proper GMB categories for your business. You must select from a list of GMB categories which can be limiting. (Don’t be surprised it you can’t find the perfect category for your business.)
You will be asked to select one primary category, and then multiple second categories.
Know your NAP
As you fill out your profile, place close attention to your business name, address and phone number. Google refers to this as your NAP (Name, Address, Phone). Are you consistent in the way you fill out your NAP?
If you do a search for your business, you will find your business listed in many directories around the web – often with slightly different NAPs. Maybe there’s an suite number on some listings, but not on others. Maybe you use a shorter name for your company from time to time.
Build your positive reviews
One important factor that goes into your rankings is the number of positive customer reviews you have.
Google pays close attention to this, which is why you need to pay close attention to getting more reviews on a regular basis.
You need a process that asks customers for reviews with every job you do, then monitors your reviews to identify problems that occasionally occur.
You cannot control how customers comment on your work, but you can take steps to maximize the good reviews and minimize or moderate the poor reviews.
It still comes down to location
As hard as you might work to improve your ranking on Google Maps, it’s important to remember that your ranking is largely decided by your location – more specifically how close you are to the person doing the searching.
This can be frustrating for businesses that operate in multiple communities throughout a region. Even if you do most of your work in surrounding communities, Google only recognizes your office location.
If you can demonstrate a presence in these surrounding communities – by creating local community pages or posting work from job sites in those communities – you may be able to expand your presence beyond your single office.
Google My Business is a central marketing component for any business that sells products or services to local households.
We offer this service as part of our full-service Marketing Advisor program. You can learn more here.