Local search results often unearth numerous business profiles in the local Map Pack that are unclaimed. This occurs across all industries, and makes me wonder why businesses leave money on the table by ignoring this simple yet profound marketing opportunity. I imagine that many business owners may be unaware of the existence of Google My Business, of it’s importance and potential, or feel intimidated because they may be unaware of how easy it is to claim or setup a Google My Business profile. As a follow-up to my previous post about 5 Reasons You Should Claim Your Google My Business Listing, my goal in this post is to provide simple clear directions on how you can successfully setup a Google My Business profile and get started in optimizing your presence in Google’s increasingly important local search results.
How Do I Claim A Google My Business Profile for My Local Business?
- Search for Your Business Profile
- Claim or Create Profile
- Add Information
- Monitor Insights
Go to Google Maps and search for your business, you can also use Google search. To see more accurate results you should include a local search term, for example, if your business is located in Oakland Park, Florida; your search query could take the form of: ‘Your Business Name’ Oakland Park Fl. If your business profile exists, whether it has been claimed or not, it should show up in the Map Pack search results.
Claim & Verify
If your Google My Business profile shows up in the Google Maps search results, Go ahead and claim it. It can be claimed if the text “Claim this business” is visible.
If this text is not present, then your Google My Business profile has been claimed by someone else and you will need to request ownership of the profile from Google. Look for the option “Request Ownership”, and the follow the guide provided by Google to walk you through the process. You can find the guide here. Do not create another profile before requesting ownership of the original profile from Google, or while the claims process is ongoing. Once you have been successfully able to claim your business profile, you should verify it.
If your Google My Business profile does not show up in Google Maps, then most likely your business has not yet been added to the Google My Business platform. In this case, you can go ahead and create a new business profile. A guide for creating your new Google My Business profile, can be found here.
Service Area Business
If your business requires you to serve your customers at their locations rather than yours, you can indicate this on your Google My Business profile. Under the address section, select “Yes” for the statement: “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.” Selecting this option will hide your address from public view, however, if you also use your business address as a service location, you should also select the option: “I also serve customers at my business address.”
Verification protects each Google My Business profile from anyone not authorized as a representative of the business so that unapproved changes cannot be made to profile information. Verification also helps to ensure the profile information is accurate across Google properties. You can verify your business by using one of several methods—the most popular being by mail. Depending on the type of business you have, other methods of verification that may be available are: by phone, email, or in special cases it may be possible to use instant verification.
- Verification by mail involves Google sending a postcard with a unique code to your physical business address. It may take 1 to 2 weeks for the postcard to arrive. On receiving the card you should enter the unique code in your Google My Business console. To verify by mail, follow the steps outlined in Google’s official guide found here.
- If your business is eligible for phone verification, an option titled “Verify by phone” will be visible in your Google My Business console. To have your verification code sent by an automated message, choose this option. To verify by phone, follow the steps outlined in Google’s official guide found here.
- If your business is eligible for email verification, this option will be visible in your Google My Business console. Ensure you have access to the email address that is shown on the verification screen before proceeding. To verify by email, follow the steps outlined in Google’s official guide found here.
- If you use Google Search Console and your business website has already been verified on that platform, you may be able to use instant verification in Google My Business. For this to be possible, you must log in to Google My Business with the same email address used for your website verification in Search Console.
- If you run a business that operates 10 or more physical locations, your business may be eligible for bulk verification. To manage listings in bulk, follow the guidelines outlined by Google found here.
Once you’ve completed verification of your Google My Business profile, you should provide as much information as possible to complete your profile listing. Some of the main components of your Google My Business profile that you’ll need to complete are:
Business Categories – This will directly affect how searchers find you as well as determine which other tools and listing options may be available to you, for example, a barber may have the option to accept reservations, while a convenience store will not.
Hours of Operation – Specify the hours in which you serve customers.
Phone – Enter your primary phone number, preferably a local number. Up to 2 phone numbers can be added.
Website URL – Enter the address of your website.
Photos – Use photos that you think best represent what potential customers will be looking for when they encounter your business, for example if your business is a custom fabrication facility, then photos of your machinery, tooling, material inventory, and employees at work (not compromising personal identity or competitive advantage); may be good photos to include in your Google My Business profile. Google’s photo guidelines state:
Format: JPG or PNG.
Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB.
Minimum resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide.
Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.
Posts – Create and publish short-form content in your business listing. This content can take the form of announcements or be calls-to-action. Either way, posts are a great method to engage users who visit your Google My Business profile.
Google provides statistical data that will help you to assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts through Google My Business. Insights focuses on how customers find your business profile on Search and Maps, and what they do subsequently. You be able to understand how searchers find you – whether directly (Branded search) or by discovery (Non-Branded search); where searchers find you – through Google search or Google Maps; and what actions searchers take after finding your business profile – visit your website, get directions, call the business, or view photos.
Google My Business provides a free and unique opportunity to establish and optimize the online presence of your business in Google’s local search results. With a little investment of your time and effort, you can be well on your way to reaching potential customers/ clients who otherwise would not have known about your business. Setting up a profile is free, and you don’t need to be a marketing expert to take advantage of all the benefits on offer. If you feel you don’t have the time or know-how, you can always employ a marketing expert to help you out. You can reach out to me here at Grwth Hack, I’ll be happy to provide professional assistance.
Whichever method you choose, if you understand the value of optimizing the online search visibility of your business, investing in your Google My Business profile should be a priority.