Most search engines offer a free listing service in which a business owner can claim a listing and add pertinent information about the business, such as location, hours of operation, contact information, and even a link to their website. The key to keeping a successful relationship between business owner and search engines alive is in the hands of the business owner. Search engines rely on business owners to help keep their information up to date, thereby making the search engine itself more credible. It is your responsibility to take advantage of this free service to help increase your online presence.
Google is an integrated network that provides access to many different features all with a free Google account. With access to the Google network, you can not only improve your listing but also create a Google+ page for your business. Google+ looks and feels like some of the other online social media accounts. It is a great advantage to have when building up your online presence because individuals are able to see all of your business information as well as comment on or review your services and products. All of this online interaction between you and your customers helps your Google ranking in a search.
One of the most popular aspects of Google listings is the map feature. From the map feature, you are able to access most of the pertinent business information. In most cases, Google will have already created a basic listing for your business. In order to fully take advantage of this free service, it is best to claim the basic listing and then add your specific business information. You will be able to find this information by doing a simple search on Google for “Google My Business.” Once you have located this webpage you can select the option to “Get on Google.” Do a simple search for your business and see what Google already has listed. If your company is already listed as a place you can then claim that particular listing. If nothing appears feel free to “Add a New Business.”
Once you have asked to claim your business listing, Google will then send you a postcard to the address listed to make sure they have the right information. This postcard usually has a pin number that you can enter into your Google accounts page. This verifies the account and you will now have access to make updates and changes to your listing.
Now you can take this listing to the next step by using Google Ads for Maps. This is a newer feature offered by Google that allows you to pay for prime result real-estate on a Google maps search. These ad types include promoted pins, in-store promotions, customizable business pages, and local inventory searches. Google research shows that 50% of users who search for local businesses on their smartphones go on to visit a store within a day. This is traffic that you do not want to miss out on.
If you have questions about how to improve your organic search results or you are interested in upgrading to paid advertising on Google, visit the ASU Small Business Development Center to learn more.
“Business Tips” was written by Dezaray Johnson, Certified Business Advisor, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact her at Dezaray.Johnson@angelo.edu.