One of the best ways to grow your business is to reach new customers online. But if there is a message like, “claim this business,” next to your Google listing; it could not be clearer that you don’t have the necessary hold on your business or its reputation.
If you don’t take the time to claim your listing and provide the right information about your business, Google will try to do it for you. Unfortunately, Google won’t always provide the best information or even correct up to date information. Taking the time to update your listing allows you to make sure that the people looking for you can find you and see all the most relevant information to help them decide to visit your website or contact you. It also provides the opportunity to secure your listing so that only you can change or update information. Here are three things you can do today to improve your listing:
Update address and contact Information
Prospects can’t find you if they don’t know where you are or how to contact you. Adding or updating your address and contact information should be the first thing you do with your Google listing. If you don’t have a physical location, that’s okay. You can have up to 20 service areas within your Google listing. A service area is an outlined geographic area based on cities or even zip codes. According to Google, a service area should not be further than a 2-hour drive from your headquarters.
Updating your information and using service areas makes it easier for your business to gain local traffic, even if you don’t have a front door for customers to walk through. With more than 80% of people using Google to search for businesses near them, updating your address and claiming your local service area helps your listing come up in local search results.
Verify your business with Google
Once your address and local service areas are up to date, the next important step in completing your listing is to verify your business with Google. This helps Google confirm that you are who you say you are and that your business is at the address or service area in your listing.
Verify by mail
Most businesses are verified by mail. If you opt for this, Google will send a postcard with a verification code to the address in your Google My Business listing. Most postcards arrive within 14 days. Once your postcard arrives, you can log into your account and click on the “Verify Now” link in your listing, then enter the code and complete your verification.
Verify by email or phone
Some businesses have the opportunity to verify by email or phone. If your business is eligible for these options, you will see them available to you when you request verification.
You can find detailed information about how to request and complete verification by Google here.
Complete your listing
You’ve claimed your business, updated your contact information, and verified it. Now it’s time to complete your listing. Making your listing as complete as possible helps improve your rating with Google, and businesses with complete listings are twice as likely to gain customer trust than businesses with incomplete listings. Providing as much information as possible in your listing helps you educate and communicate with potential customers. They know where to find you, how to contact you, and what previous customers have thought about working with you. Here are a few things to include in your complete listing:
- Add in business information, including ways to contact you
- Update your hours
- Update your category, both primary and secondary
- Include keywords and search phrases that are relevant to your business
- Share photos of your business or the products & services you offer
- Answer questions
- Share reviews
- Post articles to your profile
- Ensure your customers are posting reviews (and make sure to answer any 1 to 3-star reviews)
An accurate Google My Business listing makes it easier for prospects to find your business without knowing your name and provides additional opportunities to learn about and connect with you. Taking the time to update and manage your listing regularly helps boost your local ranking and improve engagement, enabling you to convert more customers.
All the best,