People are actively looking for local businesses and services online. Be found.

Look at these trends together:

1. 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day – Bright Local

2. Over 90% of all searches are conducted via Google Feb 2018 – SparkToro and Jumpshot

3. The rise of ‘Near Me’ in search. “Near Me” searches grew more than 130% year over year (2014-2015) and continue to grow. With 88% of searches from mobile devices.

Detail as of June 15, 2018 – Canada

4. Google is the review site of choice. 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site. Over half of a business location’s reviews were on Google and Facebook in 2017. – ReviewTrackers

Give it a try for yourself. Open your phone and search for ‘something’ near me.

Dentist near me

Sushi near me

Landscaping company near me

Soccer shoes near me

Click or tap on a result and you will see the Google Business Page for each business including contact info, hours, reviews, posts and more. Did I mention reviews?

If your business is not set up in Google Business then your business may not appear.

Your Google Business Page is a very valuable marketing item.

Google Business verified results are those detailed business listings you see on the right side of Google search results and map search results.

Google Business Pages are location based and the information is utilized when someone searches for your business name or your offerings in your area.

Your Google Business Page does not replace your existing website. It is an additional directory and links to your website. It is also free.

If your business has been around for some time there may already be a Google Business Page for your business so the first step is to Google your business name to see if one already exists.

If you haven’t set up your Google Business Page but one exists anyway, you can claim it to begin to manage the details and reviews.

Claim your Google Business Page

Set Up Your Google Business Page.

If a Google Business Page doesn’t exist then create one. The set up process isn’t immediate. You will first enter all of your information and then Google will set up your validation method before your listing goes live.

https://www.google.com/business/

The first step is to enter your Company Name and then your address.

The issue of address can be a challenge for those that do not want to display a business address that is a home residence. This applies to virtual companies as well as to plumbers, home cleaners, photographers, and other service providers that provide services to clients but do not keep a physical storefront. You can enter your address and hide it, but the address is used as one validation method so use a legitimate address.

If you are a virtual business or service based business select ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ and then ‘Hide my address (it’s not a store). You can then define a service area that you serve rather than displaying the address of a physical location.

After defining address and service areas, the next important section is “What kind of business do you run?” Choose as specific a category as appropriate that fits your business. As well, the options related to listings for different categories changes so it is important to distinguish a restaurant from a hotel or from a service feature vs a product feature or menu option. A service business will have options for an ‘add a booking button’ while a restaurant will have menu options.

Next you must provide a website or phone number before you can verify your listing.

Some listings will have multiple options but many new businesses require a postcard by mail. Now we wait. You must be a verified business to view business information and insights, add photos, add reviews, and posts and other updates and promotions won’t yet appear in search results.

At this point your listing is only 30% complete. Go to the “Info” link in the left nav to view all the information that can be added.

Add Hours – be detailed in your hours of operation. You will be notified to also update for holidays in the future.

Add phone – add your business phone details

Add website – add your business website

Add attributes – Some limited options here

Add business description – Before just typing away take a few minutes to pause and consider keywords, business features or other details you may wish to include here. Detail your business here, not current promotions. Gimmicks and such won’t work here and will be rejected. Use quality content to clearly outline your business offering. No links allowed.

Add Opening Date – Add as you wish

Add photos –

Profile Photo is shown when you post or reply to reviews.
Cover Photo is considered the listings preferred photos.
Videos can be initially uploaded to tell your business story.
Additional photos and videos can be added to showcase your business.

Take Advantage of the features and options on your Google Business Page such as Posts

Google Posts are free and display with your Google Business Page results. They only last for 7 days but that’s a free 7 days. If you have new products, a menu item, a sale, events, a new post or a call to action then test out a Google Post.

Monitor your Google Business Page

Google Business Pages are ever evolving. If you created your Page last year you may be missing a business description as this is a new feature. As well, there is a ‘suggest an edit’ feature on listings which allow anyone to suggest a change.

If someone were to change your business category without your knowledge it could impact your search results. There are various opinions as to whether or not the business receives notification if a change is made so it is best practice to check in and just make sure.

As well the “Know this place? Answer quick questions” feature asks various questions about an establishment so you just never know what someone may enter.

I have been asked everything from menu items, to accessibility to whether I thought a place was cozy or attracted a trendy crowd. You just never know.

And lastly, one of the most important things on your page are reviews. Encourage your customers to provide reviews. Should you receive a negative review put a plan in place to respond. Learn to say ‘thank you’, ‘that’s wrong’, ‘let me fix it’ and ‘how can we help you’ in vocabulary and tone consistent with your business and your brand.

One note: Google Business Listings are free and they do not expire. From time to time there are a series of scams regarding Google Business and they try to bait you into paying for a service to keep your listing active. Just ignore and delete.

Need some help figuring out how to set up your online presence? Get in touch.

Does your business need a website?

When potential clients are looking for you online, or talking about you on social media, are you there to greet them?

Are you optimizing your online presence and maximizing your ROI?

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