Is Your Company in Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free service for business owners that allows you to see and control your internet business profile in one place. You can sign up for Google email, create a website, conduct search engine marketing and manage a host of other business services that Google provides, many of them free of charge.
You’ve done the hard part. You’ve started a small business and your company is ready for clients. One of the most efficient ways to attract potential customers is employing some kind of internet advertising. But you don’t need to be a digital marketing whiz to find your clients online. Now, with Google My Business, you can put together simple info about your business for an online presence that will work for you 24 hours a day.
To get started with Google My Business, you first need to create a Google My Business listing, which is similar to an old-school phone book listing. Starting a Google.com/business will take you to the GMB homepage, where you will click on “get started” to enter your business name, physical location, and other relevant information like business hours and business category These details will allow potential customers to search for you when and where they’re looking for your type of company.
Once you’ve entered the relevant data, you will need to verify that you own and operate your business, which is a simple process: GMB will send a postcard to your business address with a verification code that you must enter on your dashboard to set up your account. Once you get the postcard and finish the process, potential customers will be able to see your business profile in overall Google search results, and in local search results.
Be sure to complete your business listing with the full range of your products and services, as this information is used in Google’s search algorithm (the process that serves up relevant results to all searches). Google will use your business listing information in their keyword search process, and in local SEO. Basically, Google will use the terms that you use to describe your business, as well as the business address you entered in the GMB dashboard, to create a local listing that appears when a potential customer near you is looking for your kind of business. In addition, your information will be inputted into Google search and maps, so that future customers can see your location on a local map within search results.
Your next step in the Google My Business dashboard should be creating a website. This service is also free and, if you don’t already have a web presence, your Google-created website will serve as a host for the other GMB services in your account. Simply click on the “Website” section on your GMB sidebar, which will take you to a website builder that lets you customize the look and content of your new site. You can also purchase a new URL right from the website builder, or use the free Google-generated web address provided by the Website Builder. Like other independent web design services, Google Website Builder lets you upload posts, photos, and updates about your business. You can also use your new site when building Google search ads.
With an account on Google My Business, you can also connect to Google Ads (formerly AdWords), an easy way to attract additional attention from your prospects. Paid advertising appears at the top of Google search results, and is marked as advertising, so they give you more exposure than just a business listing. These ads are different than the map and local listings that are free with your GMB account, but they give you more control of your advertising message.
Google Ads is a paid service, but because Google is so good at targeting customers online, you only pay when a relevant customer clicks on your ad. You can also set your spending limit in the set-up process to make it easier to manage your advertising budget. Google Ads step-by-step process lets you add a tagline (“The Best in the Northwest!”) or a call to action (“Mention this ad for 15% off your first order”) to your ad, so you can use the language that is most motivating for your customers.
Once you link Google Ads with your GMB account, you will be able to see all the information about your ads, costs, clicks, etc from your Google My Business dashboard. If you are a new business, and you aren’t sure which terms your prospects use in Google search, Google can help you. With keyword planner, you can research how popular and relevant a search term is for your category, your market, and your business location. You can then use these keywords in your ads to take advantage of the most recent activity.
If you wish, you can take the next step in developing your business’ online presence by using Google My Business to promote specific products and services. The “Posts” section in the GMB sidebar allows you to go one step further than advertising. You can create posts that describe specific goods and services, offer longer sales messages, and more promotions than a three line ad. These posts live on your Google website, and can serve as a simple blog that will connect to the rest of Google’s local search and keyword processes.
Now that you have a business listing, and your customers can find you online, you can use Google My Business tools to learn more about your customers. The great thing about GMB, other than the free services, is the data and analytics that Google provides to its business customers.