Google changes more often than you change socks. Remember Google+, which was created to compete with Facebook? They quickly had a billion users. The problem was, far less than a billion realized they even had a Google+ account; it was just tied to their Gmail address. Google+ was having an impact on ranking potential, to a certain degree. We at Optima Automotive feel it still does, but not a ton. Last year, however, Google launched “Google My Business,” and it’s time for you to understand it and maximize your participation in it.
What Is Google My Business?
Let’s start with what it is. Google My Business (GMB) is a free way to show the world that your business is open for business. It helps you get your business name, address, phone, hours of operation and map point accurate and consistent. This then shows up when people search for you by name, or click on your listing if you’re fortunate enough to show up in the local “3-Pack.” Much like Google+, you must claim your listing to prove that you actually are who you say you are. If you have previously set up a Google Places for Business or Google+ page, you’re in luck … because Google will have automatically upgraded you to GMB.
Adding/Claiming Your GMB Listing
It’s easy, and free, to set up your GMB listing. Follow these steps:
- Visit http://business.google.com.
- Click on “Start Now” at the upper right corner of your screen.
- Sign in to your Google account, or create one if you don’t use Google already.
- Next, you’ll see a map of the USA. Enter your company name and address in the search box on the top left.
Once you have searched for your business, you’ll choose the best option below:
- Your business has been found. If so, click on your business listing in the search results. You should see an option to confirm that you’re the person authorized to manage this listing. Click “Continue”.
- Someone else has already verified your business. If this has happened, Google will give you the option to “Request Ownership,” then follow the instructions from there.
- You don’t see your business. If your business isn’t found, you likely have virtually no visibility online and this needs to be addressed. Come on, it’s 2017! At the bottom of your search results, below “None of these match”, click “Add Your Business” and complete the form that will appear, then click continue. This is also where you might find the steps to take if you have purchased another shop that went by another name; you’ll need to claim this as the new business at this address and report that the previous business is out of business.
Whichever result comes up, be sure to double-check that your business information is accurate. If anything is incorrect, click “Verify Later,” go back and edit it, then click “Done Editing” at the bottom of the page.
When everything is correct, click on “Mail” on the top left of the screen. Enter the name of the person that Google should send a verification postcard to, then click on “Send Postcard”. Wait for the postcard to arrive within a few weeks. The postcard will have a code on it; sign in, enter the code and follow the instructions on the screen from there. Question? Google can help: http://bit.ly/2iG60ik.
Your business will show up on Google on the right side of the screen when people search for you by name. You’ll be able to feature your logo, photos of your business, hours of operation and reviews. If your competition doesn’t claim their listing, Google will create one for them, but it may be incomplete. It won’t be branded in any way. It likely won’t have their hours of operation and, if the shop has received Google reviews, there will be no responses from the business. Google says that verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
You’ll be able to respond to your Google reviews once you claim your GMB listing, have a link to your website and be able to verify your map point location. This will then help people ask for directions to your shop, which increases your chances of being found and having an opportunity to get more cars to fix. And Google has made it possible to manage multiple locations as well. Your listing is also easy to update on the fly; you can even do it with the GMB app from your phone or tablet.
With GMB Insights, you can measure your results, too. For example, the number of impressions your GMB receives. You’ll be able to see how many people requested driving directions, and, if they’re using a mobile device, how many times someone called you from your GMB and how many people clicked on your website link from this page.
Follow my instructions and you’ll increase your chances of getting more cars to fix!