Congratulations! You’ve verified your business on Google for free and on your way to dominating your city’s search results for your business. You’re among about 5% of business owners who actually take this step themselves or even know it exist.
Why go through this? Simple. Google wants to provide relevant search results. Since doing this is mostly free, it’s difficult for them to weed out the noise and spam and make Google useful to people.
That’s where your role is. Make sure Google knows you’re a relevant business doing business in your city.
Now that you’ve got those steps down, here’s what to do with it.
Optimizing the profile
From now on, when you go to google.com/business, you’ll be taken to your Google My Business dashboard. At this point, you’ll only see a Google+ interface (Google’s social network), Insights, Reviews, an ad to get you started with Google’s AdWords, and Start a Hangout.
When you click the red box with “Edit” in the upper right, you’re taken to where you can update the following things:
- Business name
- Contact Info
- Maps & Search photos
Most of that is self explanatory, but I’ll send you on your happy editing way with some pro tips.
If there was a “NAP” (name, address, phone) monster, this would be the head. You’ll hear me say over and over the importance of NAP consistency. Whatever you put in here needs to be the exact same as your website and every other mention of your business online. This includes your state filings and your account with your phone company. EVERYWHERE.
If there’s currently some inconsistencies, I recommend going with what you’ve filed with the state since that one is probably the most difficult to change. And it costs money.
But NO means should you change here what you think will help you rank better in search results. For example, adding keywords that are not truly part of your business name.
Same here as above. DO NOT use a PO Box or any other rental mail box. It’s against Google’s guidelines, and for good reason. If you operate your business from home, put that address and check that you meet customers at their location. When you do that, it will not display your street address.
If you feel this violates your privacy, it’s likely your name and address is already public records easily found online, either from your business, your phone, or your home.
Phone number, website address, email address. Pretty simple here. Use your primary phone number with a local area code. If you have your own domain and are using a Gmail, Hotmail, etc email address for your business, please consider hosting your email with your domain. It’s more secure and you own the information in that account instead of the owner of the free service.
This one gets tricky. Best advice in this ‘category’ is… it depends. The best practice here changes often. Right now, your best bet is utilizing the one best category that describes the business line you want to do the most business in. If it’s not easily found, you can use these to tools to narrow it down:
Your hours of operations. Consistency with what’s on your website here is best to alleviate confusion.
Maps & Search photos
Put 10+ high quality photos here and name them before you upload them. Utilize keywords and your city. If you know how to add location metadata to the photos, definitely do that as well.
Give 1-3 paragraphs about your business here. Use the link option to link to some pages on your website when you describe those services.
Most of your edits here will go live instantly. Depending on the age of your page, it may need to be reviewed by a Google employee first. You’ll notice if there’s anything pending or errors in horizontal bars at the top.
Don’t stop now, you’re on a role! Sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already and I’ll send weekly tips to your inbox to increase your relevancy to Google and its users.