Google My Business – For Local Businesses
It has almost become the norm that any business will have a website whether it’s a simple landing page or a small and simple website to sell their services. Those that don’t have one who still believe that having ads in their local paper is still the only way to go probably doesn’t understand the impact of even having the most basic of websites to be found. Having said that, the next most important thing which many business owners are not aware of is Google My Business (GMB).
Why is Google My Business important?
Having a GMB listing is more important than you could imagine. A simple business listing here works on so many levels. We have come across many businesses who have not taken the time to complete this listing and have definitely suffered some loss of traffic.
Example Scenario: A business is not registered but someone either with a similar name or in the same industry has their listing known to google. While their sensis page and maybe a listing or two might show up in organic results, a big business listing appears on the right with competitors details along with ‘people also searched for…’ listing more competitors. The result is simple, unless this person has a very strong reputation, there’s a good chance that the searcher will go somewhere else. Alternatively, even if the searcher tries to call, they have just been given a heap of other businesses to consider or to call who may win the business if they are quick to respond. This scenario happens more often than not.
Tell Google Who You Are with Google My Business
Completing your GMB listing is literally telling Google who you are, where you are, what you do and what times you do it. People spend hours on SEO campaigns trying to get Google to recognise their website for all of this information and this is a gateway for you to simply tell the source.
Even better still, Google asks you in the process to enter as much details as possible asking for everything from your Logo to photos inside and outside your business. It will ask for your opening hours, some descriptions and even categories of where your business lives. There is no better place to tell Google than on Googles’ own platform.
Get Found on Maps – This is because of Google My Business
Ever wondered why businesses appear on the map and yours doesn’t. If you do not have a GMB listing, you wont even be considered for a map listing. As we said above, this is Googles database which you have direct access to give all of your details to.
If I had a dollar for everyone that said they want to get found in maps, I would have retired a long time ago. There are more activities and actions to take to have your listing rank well but just getting your details completed as much as possible and as honestly as possible lays the foundations.
Google is Smart and may have started listing you
Google is quite smart and on many occasions they may have already identified a business but do not know much about them. In some cases a customer may have reviewed or even noted the business down in maps. When this happens, there is the opportunity to show on maps but it is still best to claim and complete the listing. This not only best informs Google about your business but also gives you more control over the content that you want to share on this platform.
How to Set Up your Google My Business Listing
First thing is first, this is a Google product and as with any google product, you need to have a Google account. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! You can easily set up a gmail account and it’s free. Those that already use G-Suite or have any other google products, you can use your existing login credentials to sign into the Google My Business platform.
If you haven’t used gmail before, there have been some brilliant recent enhancements which has made it quite an impressive email program to use on a web browser. You can also download the app on iOS and android devices so it’s easy to access if you need. It’s also ok to set up a gmail account even if you don’t intend on using it much, just don’t forget that you have it and it makes sense to check once in a while in case an important message is delivered.
First thing’s first, google yourself. Type in your business name and even try a couple of variations such as your business name and the suburb your business is located at.
Why is this an important step? Because if Google has already identified the business but doesn’t know much about it, there may already be a listing there that you can claim. If that is the case, you can then claim your business and continue to fill in the details.
Google My Business
When you have a Google account, you can go to the Google My Business page found here: https://mybusiness.google.com
It doesn’t matter if you are already logged into your google account on your browser because you still have the option to sign in.
All you need to do from here is complete your details as best as you can. You don’t have to fill in every piece of information but the more you give the better to help Google understand what you are about.
If you don’t have the images you want to share or there is information that you want to spend some time on to get it right, you don’t have to complete all of the information at once when you’re getting yourself set up. This platform allows you to edit and update information anytime you want.
Google My Business Verification
The most common way for verification especially if you are informing Google of a business that it did not know about is via postcard. When you have completed your details, you will need to verify which a postcard will be forwarded to your physical business location. On that postcard will be a code which you will enter on the verification screen with Google My Business. There isn’t a way to speed up this process and unfortunately you are going to have to wait.
If Google has already identified that there is a business there and you are claiming it, you will still need to verify but there is a good chance that they can verify quickly with a phone call. If that is an option, google will call the number that it already knows and a computer will read a verification code to you for you to enter onto the screen so have your phone and computer handy if you are able to verify by phone.
Depending on your audience, bing generally captures circa 10-15% of the Australian audience. Similarly to Google, Bing is a search engine and has paid advertising and other similar product offerings with one of them being Bing Places. While not currently as advanced in its user interface as Google My Business, it’s still definitely worth getting registered here in Bing. Not only will you have a bing business listing similar to a
Is Bing Places Important?
Example Scenario: A similar scenario to the one described earlier with Bing places for one of our clients, when our client came on board for SEO, we instantly noticed that they did not have a Bing places listing. What rubbed salt in the wounds was in searching for their brand, a direct competitor located down the street showed up in the business panel with their logo and contact details in headlights. While we have a tendency along with most agencies to focus on Google simply because of its dominance, we still need to remember the competition. We quickly established a Bing places listing and once verified we secured our branded search on Bing stopping potential customers calling our direct competition.
You Need A Microsoft Account
It’s quite common knowledge that Bing and Google are competitors. Google is Google but Bing is a Microsoft product so in order to have a Bing Places listing, you need to have a Microsoft account. Once again there’s good news if you don’t have one already. You can easily set it up for free! Hotmail is a Microsoft account these days since the hotmail service was bought out a long time ago (I might be showing my age here). Alternatively, if you have an outlook.com email, that also counts. If you need to set up a Microsoft account, head over to outlook.com to set up your free account.
Register Your Bing Places Listing
To get yourself listed on Bing places, go to: https://www.bingplaces.com/ and follow the steps to complete your business listing. You will notice a couple of subtle differences between the two platforms but for the most it’s very similar. Get as many details in there as possible and get verified. The Bing verification process is quite similar to Google so have your postcard sent out and verify once you receive it in the mail.
If you are a local business and want to make sure people can find you whether by brand or for your location then get your Google My Business listing set up and complete as much information in there as you can. Go that extra step and at least set up Bing Places.
This is a fundamental and a basic requirement to get into google maps (and bing maps if you complete your bing listing) and especially important if people are trying to find you by brand or your location.
If done right and with some extra work, you may even rank for some keywords on your listing alone. If you want to push for keyword ranks then that’s a different story. In some cases you may find yourself ranking quite easily for different keywords but in areas with competition, you may not even be seen. That’s the importance of SEO.