What’s your preferred search engine when surfing the web? If you’re like 90% of the people browsing online, it is probably Google. This means that most of your target audience is using Google too!

Even if you prefer Bing, there’s no avoiding the fact that your business needs to play ball with Google. You can’t build a successful online presence for your company without investing in this search engine.

Sure there are literally hundreds of ways that your prospective clients can find your business online. However, we guarantee that Google will act as an important touch point no matter what route these people end up taking.

Here’s an example:

Say you own a bicycle repair shop and you’ve just opened up a new location that caters to a new area. One day, a person is riding their bike and notices your store. They think to themselves, “That place looks like a good one to remember!”

Unfortunately, a few weeks later when they need to get their bike repaired, they can’t seem to recall the name of your business. So they turn to Google to do some research on bike repair shops in the local area.

Here’s what they may find:

Snapshot showing local business search results in Google

(Please note: This is just a sample from near where our office is located.)

With a Google Local Listing page properly set up, that prospective customer will be able to find your name, phone number and directions to your business in mere seconds. This listing will appear here, even if you haven’t been able to set up a website yet.

It’s a worthwhile time investment and it’s free!

Incredibly, there are still many local businesses that aren’t taking advantage of this free form of self promotion.

There are several reasons why this can happen, including:

  • They can’t find the time
  • They don’t understand how this can help their business
  • They find the process of setting up a Google My Business page too complicated

Don’t feel bad if you’ve found the process a little daunting. Our team does this type of thing for a living and we still think the process could be simplified. On top of that, Google rolls out major upgrades to their local search algorithm every few months, so you need to make sure your business information is up to date!

In all seriousness, you need to find the time to verify your local business listing with Google this week and we’re going to walk you through everything step by step. Accomplishing this will provide a significant boost to your local SEO and remember that it is FREE to do!

Getting Started with Google Local Listings

Google has worked hard to make the process of search as simple as possible for users. Unfortunately, they haven’t done the same thing for business owners. Their Google My Business policy seems to be changing all the time.

Google Places used to be the route you’d take to get your business verified and listed. But Google Places pages have been retired.

You’re going to get your business verified with Google My Business. It’s an all-in-one platform that allows you to manage a brick and mortar location or larger brand.

Unfortunately, this new platform really hasn’t made things any simpler because there are now:

  • Google Business Listings
  • Google Brands
  • Google+ Pages

Which one are you supposed to create for your business?

On top of all that, Google has made it clear that they would “unverify” any accounts that have remained inactive for at least 6 months. This means that you need to login to your account once in awhile (even if all your contact info is up to date) to keep your Google My Business page active.

If you maintain a blog for your business website, you can share content through your Google+ page.

All things considered, the whole process of getting verified can be rather frustrating. Some even suspect that this is a deliberate decision to make Google Ad campaigns seem more appealing.

But if you follow these directions, you’ll get your Google My Business page set up in no time!

(Our agency will take care of this whole process for you as a part of our basic local SEO package. So please contact us if you don’t want to mess with all of this.)

Let’s get started by heading over to https://www.google.com/business.

1) Click the “Get on Google” Button

You’ve made your way over to Google My Business and the first thing you need to do is click on the blue button that says “Get on Google”:

Homepage screenshot for Google My Business setup process

2) Find Your Business

The next thing you’ll see is a map of the United States. Here Google will ask you to search for your business by name or by address. There is a chance that your business may already be listed with Google. If this is the case, you’ll want to claim that listing and not create a whole new one.

Business owner gets his Google My Business account verified in North Carolina

We recommend that you search for your listing by name and by address. If you see your business in the drop down, click on it and claim the listing as your own.

If you don’t see your listing after entering the appropriate information, then click enter anyways. You should see something like this:

Business owner can't find his business listing on Google

Click on that second option so you can create your new listing and enter the full details for your business.

3) Get Your Business Listing Verified

Now it’s time to get your business listing verified on Google. This process is used to ensure that you have provided accurate information and that only the real business owner or manager can access the listing.

Depending on the type of business you have, there are different ways to get your listing verified:

  • By postcard – Google will send a postcard to the business address you provided for your listing. This postcard will have a verification code that you can enter once it arrives (usually in 5 days). Be sure to login into your account and enter the verification code within 30 days of receiving the postcard!
  • By phone – This isn’t available for all business types, but it’s quicker if you can do it. Be sure that someone is available at your listed business number when Google calls and enter the verification code they provide.

If you’re a business owner that manages more than 10 locations, you may be eligible for bulk verification which you can learn more about here.

4) Check on Your Local Listing Regularly

Congrats! Now you have verified you business on Google, but remember that you can’t just forget about your listing. Be sure to keep your login handy so you can check back in on your business profile every few months and ensure that everything is up to date.

Conclusion

With everything laid out for you in this post, we hope that it’s made this whole process a little less complicated. Yes it does take some time, but it is so worth it to have your business properly listed in Google local search results.

The ROI on your Google My Business page will be stellar! You can further the reach of your online brand and improve the SEO for your own website. So let us repeat that it is very much worth the effort!

If you run into any issues setting up your Google My Business listing, please feel free to contact us! We’d be happy to help.

Getting your business verified is a part of our Local SEO Essentials package. Want to get a quote for your business? Click on the button below!

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