Apart from being a search engine giant, Google is also one of the most important business discovery platforms and review websites today, thanks in major part to Google My Business.
Simply put: your customers use Google in order to find great local businesses.
It goes without saying that you should claim your business on Google My Business and make sure that your business information, as displayed on Google products and services, is always up to date and accurate.
- According to Search Engine Land: 50 percent of mobile users visit stores within one day of performing a local search. And 92 percent of users choose a business that appears on page 1 of local search results.
- According to the Local Search and Online Reviews Survey 2017, 67.7 percent of consumers say that at least half of their searches result in a visit to a local business. These visits then eventually translate into sales, with at least half of local searches eventually leading to a purchase for 57.7 percent of consumers.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an online dashboard designed to streamline the management of business information across multiple Google services. This is used to create and manage your Google business listings.
(Important note: If you previously used Google Places for Business, Google Local, or Google+ Pages Dashboard to manage your business information, your account has automatically been upgraded to Google My Business.)
If you have not claimed your business on Google, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get your business on Google:
How to Claim Your Business on Google
Step 1. Visit https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in or create a Google business account.
Step 2. Once logged in, you can search by business name and address by typing in the given search box.
Search results will appear in a list as well as on the map, and from those choices you can choose the business you’re trying to claim.
If none of these results match your business, you can simply click “Add Your Business.” You will then be prompted to choose your business type: storefront (restaurants, hotels, etc.), service area (taxi service, delivery, etc.), or brand (products, brands, causes, etc.).
Step 3. The next step is verification.
You will have to verify to Google that the business you’re claiming ownership of is really yours. The verification code will be mailed to you – this takes one to two weeks – and once you’ve entered the code into your account, then you’ll finally be able to start managing your local business information on Google. Congrats!
Frequently Asked Questions about Google My Business
What if I am trying to claim and manage multiple business locations?
If your business has ten or more locations, you can sign into your Google business account and add them all at once using the bulk location upload feature. Read the complete guide to uploading multiple Google My Business locations.
How can I create a link for customers to write a review of my business on Google?
One of the most effective ways to improve your search ranking on Google — as well as build your business reputation online and attract more potential customers to your business locations — is to get more and better online reviews. Creating a link and sharing it to your customers encourages them to review your business on Google.
All my Google reviews are 5-star reviews. Why do I have a 4.7 overall rating?
Here’s our short answer to the question: Google doesn’t calculate your overall rating by adding all your stars and dividing the sum by the number of reviews you have. It’s not actually the average rating.
Google has its own unique algorithm for calculating overall ratings. Some believe that the search engine giant uses the Bayesian method for averaging, which means that, in situations where you have a limited sample size with only 6 or 7 reviews, Google’s algorithm is designed to extrapolate or estimate what your overall rating might look like if you had more reviews.
How do I improve my business’ local search ranking on Google?
Whether you’re managing a small- or medium-sized business or running an enterprise-level organization with hundreds of business locations, you can’t deny the importance of your local search ranking on Google. Higher local search rankings = more store visits and sales = increased traffic and revenue.
Here are some tips to help you achieve better local search rankings for your Google business listing:
- Perfect your Google My Business listing: A well-managed listing on Google My Business fosters significant improvements in local search performance, with particular emphasis on the “relevance” factor of local search. Business listings that have been claimed and updated on Google My Business — and which also boasts of strong reviews and ratings — are the ones most likely to rank at the top of local search, or even be featured in the “local pack”: a set of three highlighted Maps-based results featuring the most highly ranked businesses based on the factors that determine local ranking.
- Ensure NAP (name, address, phone) and local data consistency: When creating or claiming your business listing on GoogleMyBusiness as well as on other online review websites, local search services, and data aggregators (think Yelp, Facebook, Citysearch, etc.), ensure that you provide consistent local business data across the Web. Consistency in entering your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is particularly important. It’s easy to make the mistake of having variations in your business information. For example, if your business location is at “22 Fort Worth Street,” then stick to that way of spelling it, instead of a variation like “22 Ft. Worth St.” If your local data appears to be unstable, inconsistent, or outdated, Google is less likely to reward your business with a high local ranking.
- Manage your online reviews: Google has made it clear that online reviews have a major impact on your search rankings. More (and better) reviews and ratings of your business on Google as well as on other third-party review sites can lead to greater online “prominence” — one of the three primary factors influencing Google local search. Managing and responding to reviews also drives engagement with your existing and potential customers. It shows that your business values customer feedback, helping boost shopper confidence and foster consumer trust.