With a 78.8% market share, Google is still the most popular search engine in the U.S. by far. Taking steps to ensure a high ranking in Google search results is now standard procedure for most businesses.
But, if you’ve just started to build your online presence and you’ve got a lot of competition, it can be difficult to get links on the first page, let alone land the top result. Luckily there are other options to help you achieve that all important visibility, so that when potential customers search for your business they’ll find you front and center.
Claiming your business listing on Google is one such option, that’s easy, effective, and—best of all—free!
What Is a Google Business Listing?
Have you ever Googled a business and found that, in addition to their website, all sorts of helpful information like location, hours of operation, and maybe even a few reviews or photos pop up alongside search results? That’s a Google business listing.
Similar to a traditional business listing in a dedicated directory, providing this kind of info at a glance is Google’s way of making things easier for consumers, who often don’t want to browse a company’s website just to find the address or phone number. And while the traffic would be nice, eliminating that extra step means more potential customers are likely to reach out or actually visit your brick and mortar location.
The same information that appears with a basic search will also display when a user searches other Google applications, like Maps.
How Are Google Business Listings Created?
Anyone can create a Google business listing, meaning as a business owner you can make one yourself.
However, much like with Facebook business pages, you may be surprised to find one already exists, especially if you’ve been around for awhile. If Google can determine your business is real and current based on other data it finds on the web, it will create a listing for you. After all, they’re trying to provide their customers with the most thorough, accurate information possible.
But just because your business listing already exists doesn’t mean it’s working as hard as it could for you. The best way to make the most of a Google business listing is to claim it.
How Do I Claim My Business Listing?
To claim your business, you’ll have to access it through Google My Business, an online dashboard that will allow you to manage information across all Google platforms at once.
We’ve already put together a handy guide for those who are completely unfamiliar with Google My Business, but the tl:dr is that it’s a tool that streamlines your access to Google so you can make sure your name, hours, contact information and more stay accurate and consistent on Google, Google Maps, Google+ and other potential applications.
You’ll also be able to add or update your website, a description of your products or services, and photos, plus you can respond to reviews, which is a great way to promote engagement.
Claiming your business listing gives you control over exactly what users see when they search for you on Google, allows you to ensure accuracy and consistency, and improves your online presence.
- Visit google.com/business.
- Search for your business by name.
- If your business does not yet exist on Google, add it! If it does exist, select it!
- Once you’ve added or selected your business, it’s time to verify – Google needs to make sure you’re actually who you say you are. They’ll mail a verification code to your business address, or you can choose to complete the process by phone.
- After the verification process is complete, the listing is claimed, and you’re free to manage it!