It’s almost 5 on a Friday night and your friends are asking, “where are we going for Happy Hour Tonight”. This was your week to pick the place, but between meetings at work and the Basketball Finals on TV at home, it might have slipped your mind. So you jump on Google and quickly type in Portland Happy Hour.
The first search result is a map of Portland. Looking at the map you see a couple of bars listed with their location, hours, reviews and a bit about the bar. You see that Bartini is open, has good reviews, small plates and most importantly is walking distance from the office. Two hours later your friends our raving about how great of a Happy Hour option that was and you are the Hero for the night. Little do they know you made your decision based on a quick 5-minute search with the help of Google My Business.
So, what is Google My Business and why is it so important?
In Google’s own words, ‘Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, 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.’. In the simplest form, Google My Business is an online directory of businesses listed in an area.
In the story above, Bartini has created a Google My Business account and filled out all of the needed information, including address, hours of operation and a description of their restaurant. This allowed Google to grab the information quickly and send these results for Portland Happy Hour. Going one step further and typing Bartini into the search bar, we get a full picture of what Google My Business looks like.
As you can see in the photo, Google My Business provides a one stop shop for all of your company’s information. As a consumer we all love simplicity and we want it fast. Having a Google My Business account filled out completely provides consumers information fast, with little, to no effort.
My business information already shows up, what’s the point of creating an account?
Google does a great job of gathering information from your website, blogs, etc. to source Google My Business. However, sometimes information is outdated or was a one-time event. If you don’t claim your business, then you have zero control in altering the information provided by Google. Another benefit to claiming your business is that you can add as much information about the company as you feel necessary. This is important because Google My Business tends to rank businesses that have the most useful information on their account. Lastly, Google My Business provides a dashboard to view different analytics and manage your reviews. At this point, we are all in agreement that Google My Business sounds great, but let’s be honest, we are really busy.
How long will it take to sign up? Will I need a Google+ account as well?
This is ultimate question. Just how long is signing up going to take? The initial set up doesn’t take but 15-20 minutes and a Google+ Business page will be created during the setup. The longest part will be waiting for Google to send a postcard so you can verify that indeed the business belongs to you. Wait times for the postcard can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks for arrival.
Below is a step by step guide on how to get your business listed and set up on Google My Business.
Step 1: Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click the Start Now button in the upper right corner. You will need a Google Account to sign up.
Step 2: Search for your business by name and address. If your listing shows up, choose it and you can make edits once it is verified. If your business doesn’t show up click the button that says, “I’ve correctly entered the name and address”, and then fill out the form with all of your correct business information.
At the end of the form you will be asked if you deliver goods/services to customers at their location. This option is for businesses that don’t have a storefront, operate from a home address, etc.
Step 3: After you complete the form, Google will need to verify that you are the Business Owner of the location (they will send a postcard with a verification address) and a Google+ account will be created for your business.
Step 4: Add information to your Google+ Business page, including: website url, hours of operation, profile and background pictures as well as photos of your business.
Step 5: Once you receive the postcard with the verification code, log back into your Google My Business account and click on manage locations. Then click the ENTER CODE button and submit code. At this point you should be all set up on Google My Business
Hopefully much like Bartini from the example above, you have officially signed your business up for a Google My Business account and are making it that much easier for customers to find you online. It’s hard to say no to this amazing service provided by Google, especially when they also throw in a dashboard with free Listing insights, YouTube analytics, a place to manage reviews and more.
If you run into any problems setting up Google My Business or are interested in other options to drive more traffic to your website and business, contact Opt-e-Web today.