What is Google My Business?
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”
The days of the Yellow Pages and paper directories are long gone. Online business directories are crucial for brick and mortar store owners and even some online shop owners. If you haven’t claimed your business on Google, then here’s your chance and I’ll tell you why you should do it sooner than later!
Here’s a list of “Do you know” questions…
…you can claim your own business listing?
And you should! Who else can create a more accurate listing for your business than you? There are MANY online directories but today I’m going to focus on the most popular – Google My Business. In order to “claim” it, Google My Business has a verification process. They will send you a postcard in the mail with a verification code. Just follow the directions they provide, it’s easy or click here to learn more about getting verified.
Note: You’ll need a regular Google account to claim your listing. Don’t have one? Click here to set one up. It’s easy!
…you can edit your listing’s information?
Once you’re verified you can edit your address, add your store’s hours, specify special hours and closings for holidays, add labels (like home decor store for example), add a link to your website and more.
…if you claim your listing you can ensure that your business will appear on Google maps and that it will appear accurately?
Here’s the location on a Google Map for our store, The Salvaged Boutique.
…listings are also for service-based businesses and online shop owners?
Yep, you can utilize this free tool with or without an address! But you must provide a service within a certain geographic area. Google lets you select a geographic area and “hide” your personal address if you fall within their guidelines of a service-based business.
…you can even build a simple free website to go with your listing?
You sure can! It’s another free service provided by Google My Business. I personally have never used this so I’m not sure how robust it is or if it’s as effective as building your own site but it might be a great start for someone with little to no budget for a website.
…that Google My Business is the next “Facebook”?
This article talks about how Google is making its search engine more “social”. Okay so maybe this statement is a little dramatic. It might take years for Google My Business to actually compete with Mark Zuckerberg but the point here is that you can now post photos, updates, event information and more on your Google listing – just like other social media platforms!
Oh and you can add a virtual tour of your business too!
…you can get insights for your listing and posts?
Yep, just like Facebook and Instagram, Google reports insights on how people are finding your business, where they are coming from, how many people viewed your post(s), etc. If you have been following me and reading my articles, you know I’m a huge fan of analytics! Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
…customers can message your phone through Google?
I know, more technology here. I personally haven’t received any messages yet for our business, but it could potentially be very convenient for our customers.
…you can optimize your listing with these SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips:
- Add keywords to the photos you upload – good keywords for local businesses are the city you are located in, and words describing the products or services you offer
- Select categories that are relevant to your business or how your customers would find you – like for us, we chose “home decor”, “furniture store”.
- Get as many Google reviews as you can AND reply to all of them!
- Get other websites to mention your business on the web
Here is the best part of all this Google stuff…
…this is all FREE!
Yes, the listing, the map location, the posting, adding images, viewing insights, providing valuable and accurate information to your customers. It’s ALL FREE.
And here’s a bonus! Do you know you can turn your 5-star Google reviews into posters for your store and images for your social media?
Now, this is a Social Media Manager’s dream!
It’s called “Small Thanks with Google” and this is one of my favorite services that Google offers business owners. You can even personalize it for your brand! I chose turquoise for our store’s reviews since it matches our logo. Click here to create your own!
Now go claim your listing and optimize it as much as you can! You’ll get more business from it and your customers will thank you for it.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Google or Google My Business. I have not been paid to share this information, I simply think it’s an extremely valuable FREE tool and I strongly feel that business owners should take advantage of it.
If you are looking to be a savvy business owner, this is the place for you.
Want to engage with fellow shopkeepers? Join the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group. (A free group for women who own an online shop or brick & mortar store and would like to learn from each other.)
I look forward to sharing how I’ve been able to help build, market and manage a retail store with my sister—all on a budget. ~ Kathy