Google My Business (Google Maps) is one of the most underutilized tools on the internet. Properly listing your business with Google can instantly put you in front of potential customers that are ready to buy.
If you’re an established business, chances are your business already exists in the Google My Business directory and you’ll just need to claim it. New businesses or new locations will probably have to be added.
This is the gmail account through which you will manage your listing once it is live. Luckily this email won't be shown on your listing so it doesn't really matter if you use a business email or just your personal email. If you don't have a gmail account, you can create one using the "create account" link at the bottom.
It is critical to properly setup your listing to ensure the most optimal visibility on Google maps. While some of the steps may seem obvious, there are far too many local businesses that make silly mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars. Follow these steps to ensure your Google My Business listing is setup correctly:
This step is fairly simple, but it is important to remember the importance of consistency throughout the web.
Enter your business name as you want it to be displayed on Google maps. It is important that you use the exact same name and spelling across the web, including on your social media accounts. Any variation in the name can cause confusion for Google and can damage your ranking and map visibility.
Much like your business name, your address must remain consistent across the web. If your business doesn't have a physical location, that's not a problem! This physical address can be hidden on your listing once it's published. While a physical location isn't required, it greatly helps the visibility of your listing.
TIP: NAP (which means name, address, phone) is a common term used to express the importance of consistency among all of your business listings and citations. Make sure that these details remain the same on every listing, social account, and post. Too often businesses have slight variations in spelling of the address (St. vs. Street), forget to use the area code in their phone number, etc.
If your business services specific locations or geographic areas, you can add them individually. These locations will help your listing appear when prospects search for your type of business from these locations.
The category selection is very important as it is essentially the way Google will classify your business, and the type of search query for which it will display your listing.
Google has preset Categories, or keywords, for each industry. Start typing your keyword in to see if Google produces a match, then select the one that fits your business. If you find more than one category that fits your business, don't worry. You will get a chance to add more categories later on.
That being said, Google prefers that you choose the least amount of categories possible. It has been proven that using just 1-3 ultra specific categories will give you the best chance to get seen by the right audience.
TIP: If you are having a hard time finding the most accurate category, you can search your competitors on Google to see what categories they are using. It's always a good idea to model your listing after other listings that seem to get a lot of traffic.
Google will want to verify that your business is located where you say that it is. The way they accomplish this is by mailing a physical post card to the address that you have provided. This post card, which usually arrives in 3-5 days, contains a verification PIN that will activate your listing.
TIP: While waiting on your Google My Business postcard, remind anyone that handles the mail to be on the lookout for the postcard. Often times these postcards are mistaken for junk mail and thrown away.