Your Google My Business listing ensures that your business contact details (name, address, phone number, website, customer reviews and photos) will appear when people search Google for your business and, hopefully, broader searches for similar products and services offered in your city.
Plan to allow 7-to 10-days for Google to send you a postcard that will allow you to verify your business information and make it publicly searchable on Google.
Here’s how to set-up your Google listing in 30 minutes or less:
Search your business name in the Google My Business search bar.
If your business information is already in Google’s system, it will appear on your screen with a request to verify the contact email on file for the account.
If you find someone else has claimed your business listing, Google will walk you through a series of steps to reclaim it as your own.*
If Google has no information on your business, follow the series of prompts to add your listing to the site. To make the most of your free Google My Business listing, you will want to upload photos, videos and company logos into your Google My Business Dashboard.
Once you have completed your Google business profile, you will need to follow the steps Google to get your business verified by postcard.If you are lucky, Google will offer you the option to verify your business with a simple phone call.If this option is offered, be sure to take it — as it will give you instant verification and avoid the long wait to receive your verification postcard in the mail.
Remember — your business contact details and other business information won’t appear in Google Search Results until you’ve completed theGoogle verification process.
Once your listing is claimed or added, verified and published, you should begin to notice an increase in phone calls and visits by customers who find your company through Google Maps and Google search!
When people research local businesses online, one of the first things they’ll do before making a purchase decision is check out that business’ online reviews. If they are doing their search on Google (and more than 80% of local business searches are done on Google) then the first reviews they’ll see for your business are the ones submitted through Google.
All things being equal, which of the 3 plumbers displayed in this local Google search would you choose to call first?
Which plumber looks like the best choice here?
Good Reviews= More Business
One way you can leverage the power of the internet to attract more customers is to get more of your happy and satisfied customers to review you on Google. When new potential customers read those reviews, it helps to pre-sell them on your company.
But how do you get your customers to review you on Google?
Click the image below to access and download our Google Reviews Instruction Sheet.
You can have your own graphic designer recreate something similar with your own business details …
Or you can order your own customized version of this Google Review Instruction Sheet from us for just $25.00.
Just click the Buy Now button below to order a customized Google Review Instruction Sheet for your business. We’ll contact you once we receive your payment to obtain your business details. You’ll receive your customized review sheet within three business days of placing your order.
Did you know that your Google My Business page determines what people see when they search for your business in Google?
Did you know that you need a Google business page to get listed in Google’s local search results?
When is the last time you checked your Google business page to see if it was set up properly and showcases your company in a friendly, welcoming and professional way?
Does your Google business page look like the example below? If it does … is this the first impression you want to make on potential customers?
A professional Google business cover photo and a complete Google business page will help you get into the coveted Google 3-pack listings, attract more perfect customers and get more cash flowing into your business.
Below are examples of Google business page covers that portray each business as real, friendly, professional and trustworthy.
If you need a professional Google business page set up with a professionally-designed business cover image and don’t know how to start, we can help. Send your email request to firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom quote.
Every business owner’s goal is to make money — and one way to increase cash flow is to make it easy for your your perfect prospects to find you fast on Google.
When your business shows up as one of the top 3 businesses displayed in the “Google 3-pack”, you will likely get more calls, more visits and make more sales to people who find you online — and save money on advertising as well.
The key to making more money with Google Local Search is to set your business listings up in ways that will help people who don’t already know about you find you easily online.
Your existing customers and friends will likely search for you by business name. What you want is to be found in the top 3 results when people type in a business type or business category together with the name of the town in which you are located (for example, bed and breakfast Woodstock NY, or chiropractor Riverside CA.)
People are more likely to read the front page articles in a newspaper and overlook the stories buried deep inside the newspaper pages. You want to position your business as “front page news” in the local search results — and not be relegated to the op-ed page at the back of the newspaper.
A Mobile-Optimized Website is Also Essential
As important as it is to position your business on the first page of Google, it is also important to be able to direct your visitors to a property you own and control — your own website.
In today’s business world, a website is as essential as a working phone number and a mailbox. A business without a website appears less trustworthy and less credible, especially when compared with competing businesses that have websites.
One advantage a website offers is control over the message. Your website provides ample space to speak to your perfect prospects, showcase your products and services, and educate your visitors about the benefits you offer them, convert those visitors to warm leads and then follow up with those leads to cultivate a profitable ongoing customer relationship.
If you don’t have a website and the only information people can find about your business is basic contact information on your Google My Business page, you’re giving people just two choices: to call you immediately or move on to another online business listing with more complete and credible information. 90% of potential customers who leave your website will never return. A good website is the best way to turn more casual browsers or “maybes” into real clients.
Profit Building Tip: Concentrate on getting your business found online in YOUR immediate area before attempting to make it visible in other locations that are further away.
Explanation: It will be easier for you to outrank your competitors in your own town or city than in towns and cities where you have no physical presence. While it is possible to get visible in other cities, it will be harder to compete with businesses that are physically located there — especially if you have many competitors in the other locations.
Generally, businesses can’t get visible in the Google 3-pack results more than 5-10 miles away from their location. If your business is the only one of its kind within 20 miles, you’ll probably have good local rankings in many nearby towns. But if there are 3 other services like yours right on your street, then the you are operating on a much more competitive field. Focus on your home base first.
Confused? Need Help With Your Online Marketing?
Call or email us today to schedule an introductory 15-minute consultation. We’ll review your specific situation and identify the best ways to leverage the power of the internet to bring you more business.
Are you one of the thousands of local businesses that no longer show up in Google’s local search results for similar businesses in your area?
As you probably know by now, Google replaced the 7-pack Google Local business listings with what’s now called the 3-pack as of August 2015. (See illustration, right.) If you no longer show up here and customers aren’t finding you fast online, here are 4 action steps you can take to improve your chances to getting found on Google.
1) Check Your Name Address Phone (NAP) Data
Most local business owners don’t realize the critical role that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data plays in your local search visibility. It is vital that these three key pieces of information about your business are submitted in a consistent format to the key business data aggregators and business directories. Even if you are a home services contractor who does not serve customers at your home or physical location, Google checks your NAP data to ensure that the information is correct and to determine if your business is legitimate and credible.
2) Check the Accuracy of All Online Business Directory Listings for Your Company
Start by checking that your information is complete and correct on your Google My Business listing, including your business categories, hours of operation, website URL, and photos. If you are a Herbst Marketing client, we can take care of this for you.
If you have a storefront or show room, be sure to post photos of your place of business on your Google My Business Page, and make sure as well that you have set your Google My Business address to display. In order to be considered a storefront business in Google Maps you must have pictures of your storefront with clear signage.
Next, make sure that your business information is correct in every directory listing/website your company appears on. If you have ever moved locations, change phone numbers etc. any listing you may have created with the old information can now hurt you. All of these should be correct. Herbst Marketing can provide you with a report that will show you where your business data is accurate, where it is inconsistent or wrong, and where it is nonexistent and should be submitted.
3) Ask Your Customers to Review You Online
Many business owners are hesitant to ask their customers to review them online. But the fact is, the more 5-Star Google Reviews you get, the more you will stand out in the local search results. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by how many of your customers will cheerfully do you the favor of reviewing you online — provided they are happy with your company’s products and services.
Note: It is never OK to pay or provide your customers with an incentive to review you online. All reviews should be authentic and genuine and not motivated by any kind of reward or financial compensation.
The more reviews your customers submit through your Google My Business page, the more likely you are to be displayed in the new 3-pack. Make it a standard practice to follow up with every customer you serve and ask for them to provide feedback about their experience with your company. Herbst Marketing can set up a private feedback page where customers can submit their comments before you direct them to your Google page. This way you can ensure that their comments are positive before you ask them to review you on Google.
Getting feedback from your customers is important for your overall marketing, not just for purposes of enhancing your Google visibility.
The best solution is to simply direct your customers to a page on your own website where they can provide feedback, then direct your happy and satisfied customers to your Google My Business Reviews link and ask if they would mind copying and pasting their feedback there for you as well.
Herbst Marketing can provide you with a Google Reviews Instruction flyer that you can hand out to every customer. (See example below.)
To create the link to your Google Reviews page, follow these steps:
If you go to your Google My Business listing, the URL in your browser should look something like this:
https://plus.google.com/+HerbstMarketing/ (notice the + sign with company name)
Then all you have to do is simply add the following code to the end of that link:
/posts?hl=en&review=1 which will then look like:
As you see (if you click the link above), this URL automatically loads the form for the client to input their review of Herbst Marketing. This increases the likelihood that your customers will take a quick minute or two to write a review about your company on your Google My Business page.
Note: Unfortunately, only customers who already have a Google account (gmail address) can review you on Google, so you will want to limit your requests to your customers who already have gmail addresses.
4) Your Website Should Link to Your Google My Business Listing & Map
Your website should have a link in the footer which links directly to your Google My Business page and/or a “Write Review” link with a Google logo. Besides that you should also have a MAP on your Contact page. Clicking that link will take your customer to your listing to leave a review within Google. Remember: customers must have a valid Google connected login to leave a review. It’s good practice to have your businesses Google My Business listing embedded on your contact page. This way Google can be certain you are located at the address you have listed by confirming that with your Google My Business listing.
Once you have completed all of the information above and ensured that your NAP is accurate, consistent and complete, then your business should start to move higher in the Google local map listings. Google My Business updates can take weeks or even months to “go live” depending on the extent of corrections done throughout the internet.
Actions That Will Negatively Impact Your Google My Business Rankings
Using a 1-800 phone number. Google wants to see local area codes that match your location address.
Having multiple addresses on the contact page. Don’t confuse Google. Make sure that your contact page information is consistent with your Google Maps information.
Negative customer ratings on your reviews. You can’t remove these, but you can minimize their impact by increasing the number of positive reviews obtained. You should also respond directly to every review submitted, whether negative or positive. This shows readers that you are paying attention and increases your perceived trustworthiness and credibility.
Multiple listings with the same business name. If you are a franchise or have more than one location, identify it with a city, ex: One Hour Heating & Air Fairfax instead of naming it one Hour Heating & Air.
Multiple listings with the same address or phone number. Please read the NAP section and link above again to better understand how non-uniform information can hurt your rankings. Google will remove listings that contain duplicate phone or address information.
Confused? Need Help With Your Google Visibility?
Call or email us today to schedule an introductory 15-minute consultation. We’ll review your specific situation and identify ways we can help.
If you own a local business, getting it listed in the coveted “Google 3 Pack” search results can add $1,000’s to your bottom line. That’s because the companies displayed in the 3-Pack get many more phone calls and visits than companies that don’t show up in the 3-Pack .. and more calls and more visits lead to more customer engagement, more sales and more revenue.
This article is written for business owners who are wondering:
(1) why their business isn’t showing up in Google search results, and
(2) what they can do to get their business listed in the Google 3-pack.
Before beginning, it’s important to understand that Google’s algorithm (the rules and guidelines that determine which business listings they display at any given time to any given individual) is in constant flux. So there is no guarantee that the steps outlined below will get you into the 3-Pack, especially if the 3-Pack is already filled with competing companies in the same town that have been proactive, thorough and consistent in keeping their Google business profiles accurate and up to date.
On the other hand, if you follow the steps outlined below you will improve your chances of getting your business listed in the Google 3-Pack .. especially where your competitors are not actively managing their Google business listings and actively encouraging their best customers to review them online.
Step 1: Claim and Verify Google Business Page.
If you have not already created a Google Business Page for your business, the first step is to visit the link below and select your business type, and then follow Google’s instructions to set up your Google Business Page.
For local businesses, you should select either Storefront (if customers come to you) or Service Area if you provide services at the customer’s home or business location.
Step 2: Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Your Google business profile has two components: Your Google+ page (which is what most people will see) and your Google Maps Listing.
New Google business pages set up through the Google My Business platform are automatically linked to their Google Maps listing. However, older G+ Pages or G+ Local Profiles may not be linked to their Google maps listing.
To see if your Google Business Page & Map Listing are linked, login to your Google My Business Dashboard, click on the page you want to manage, and click on the Gear Icon at the top right side of your Google Business Page. (See illustration below).
A new page will open where you can customize the settings for your Google Business Page.
Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and look for the Profile section. If your Google Maps listing is connected to your Google Business page, you will see the message, “This page is connected to Google Maps.” (See illustration below.)
If your Google Business page is not connected to your Google Maps Listing, you will need to go to go to Google Maps and type in your business address in the search bar. Your business name should show up at the address you have typed in.
Click on your business name and then click on the small gear icon in the lower right side of the page to access the Google Maps link. A new screen will pop up with the link to your Google Maps listing. Copy that link and go back to your Google+ page and paste the maps listing into the space provided at the bottom of the Google+ page edit screen. (See illustration below.)
Once your Google Map is linked to your Google Business Page you can start optimizing them. Go to Google Map Maker, position your map pin at your front door, edit your map categories, edit your business NAP (Name, Address Phone) data, and remove or edit inaccurate information.
When you are satisfied with the accuracy and completeness of your Google Maps listing, return to your Google+ listing. Make sure that your Google Map categories are identical to your Google Business Profile categories, and be sure to populate the “About” section of your Google Business page with good, keyword rich content.
Make sure your website URL is linked in your Google Business Page, and that your business hours and other optional information is populated.
Google Maps Incubation Period
Google may impose a 2-month waiting period for new Google Business listings before they begin to rank in the Google 7 Pack. If you have recently made substantial edits or changes to your website, Google+ Page, or Map Listing, you might find yourself stuck in the 2-month incubation period. If you’ve followed the steps above, and you can’t get into the Map rankings, you may be in an incubation period, or you may be competing with other businesses that are jockeying for position on the Google 3-Pack.
Step 3: Local Directory Listings
Google’s July 24, 2014 “Pigeon Update” placed increased importance on local directory listings as a factor in local search results. The best place to begin your local directory submissions process is with the top four “data aggregator” companies (Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup and Neustar Localeze). These companies disseminate business listing data to more than 300 other business directories all around the web.
Because accurate local business directory listings are an essential component of your Local SEO efforts, this task should be delegated to an experienced professional Local SEO expert. This is not the place to save money by doing it yourself. It is a time consuming process and it’s essential that your business name, address, and phone number be consistent and accurately submitted to each directory.
You should also create and manually submit your business directory information to popular business directories like Yelp, Yellowpages, Yahoo! Local, Manta, and Superpages.
Make sure that your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) is consistently listed in every directory. The more Google sees your accurate NAP information, the more credible you are as an established business in Google’s eyes.
Step 4: Update and Maintain Your Google+ Page
Google has confirmed that the frequency, engagement, and quality of Google+ posts is a ranking factor for Map Listings, and can help you get in — and stay in — the 3-Pack.
You can improve your chances of getting into — and staying in — the Google 3-Pack listings by regularly posting new content and photos to your Google+ page.
Any content you post on your Facebook page can be shared on your Google+ page as well.
Step 5: Seek and Monitor Citations in Other Websites.
When other websites mention your business name in its entirety, this is known as a “citation. Google assigns “points” for each citation it finds for your business. The more points you acquire, the more prominent you become in Google search results.
Step 6: Consider Hiring an Expert to Do It For You
As you can see, there are many steps to getting your business listed properly in Google and other business directories to expand your company’s digital footprint and maximize the likelihood that your customers will find you online, call you, visit you and buy from you.
If you are looking for expert help to make sure it’s done right, we can help:
Are you losing business because your business contact or other information is incorrect in Google search results?
I recently helped the Paint Your Own Pottery shop in Fairfax, Virginia fix their Google Business Listing. The pottery shop was under new ownership and the new owner did not know now to log in and access her Google My Business page to update the website URL and other information about her business.
The original Google My Business page had been set up by a previous webmaster. The new owner had tried contacting the previous webmaster to get the information she needed to take ownership of the Google listing that rightfully belonged to her, but was not able to reach the webmaster to get the help she needed. She was referred to me for help to resolve this problem.
If you own a local business, it’s important to claim and set up your Google My Business page so that your business can show up and be found in local search results for your business category.
If you have ever searched online for a local business, you will recognize what a Google Business Listing looks like (see example above):
Your Google Business Page also enables customers to review you on Google.
As you can see from the Google My Business example shown here, positive reviews and star ratings on Google help your business stand out from similar businesses in your area. Star ratings like the ones you see in this example attract the eye and can help bring in more customers who are searching online for businesses like yours.
How to Get a Google Rep on the Phone to Help You
If you do not have login access to a Google Business Page that has already been created for your business, the only way to resolve it is to get Google’s help. But it’s not obvious how to get a Google rep on the phone to resolve this problem.
First I tried calling the Google Support Phone number listed in search results, but after going through their voice mail instructions to connect with a Google My Business support agent, my call kept getting disconnected.
Finally, after much searching, I stumbled across the magic link that you can use to get a Google support agent on the phone to assist with your Google Business Listing. When you fill out the form and click the Call Mebutton in the form on this page, you will get a near-immediate call back from a Google support rep.
When you click the image above, you will be taken to a new screen that looks like the page you see here. Fill in the required fields to request Google assistance in correcting your Google Listing. For faster service, select the “Call Me” option. In my experience, Google reps will call back within a few minutes once you submit your “call me back” request.
If you are not in a hurry to talk to a Google rep, you can simply select the option to have Google email you instead of call you. Once you complete submit this form with your conact information, Google will review the information you’ve submitted and either reply via email or call you at the number you provided on the form to discuss your situation and resolve your concerns.
Once we got the Google support agent on the phone, they were very helpful in assisting us with assuming ownership of the client’s Google My Business page. To verify that the new business owner was legitimate, Google placed a call to the business phone number and provided a PIN number which had to be entered into the Google Business Page before the page could be edited and updated.
(Update October 2015: Since writing this article, the Google rep tells me they can no longer make immediate changes on their end to update or correct your Google Business Listing. If you do not know how to login to your own Google My Business account, you need to wait 1-2 weeks to receive a Google postcard in the mail with a PIN Number.)
Once you have received the Google postcard and verified that you are the legitimate owner of the business by entering the PIN Code found on the Google verification postcard, you will need to login to your Google My Business page and update the information that is incorrect. You can update and edit any of your Google My Business information through this Google Business Page dashboard; you can edit any content that is on that page to correct any mistakes.
Once that task was completed, I was able to login on the owner’s behalf and update the Google page with the business’ current information, including an updated website link, business description, current hours of operation, a new cover image and photos of the business.
The updated Google Business Page quickly rose to the top of search results for the phrase “Paint Your Own Pottery Fairfax VA.” This is a benefit to the business because it makes it easier for local customers to find the business online and click to call for directions or additional information right from their mobile phones.
The problem began when the church created a new website for itself with a new domain name. The church website’s original domain name (middleburgvaumc.com) was never redirected to the new domain name (middleburgunitedmethodistchurch.org).
When the church failed to renew the original domain name (assuming they no longer needed it because they had a new website) someone else purchased their original domain name.
Subsequently, people searching online for the Methodist Church in Middleburg Virginia would find a local search listing that:
1. Linked to the outdated incorrect website.
2. Displayed a nonsensical spammy description (Emergency Food flappy bird cheats flappy bird free download flappy bird, etc.)
3. Displayed the wrong name for the church (Asbury Methodist Church).
While the correct church website link displayed further down the page, most people would click on the first listing and then be confused.
How We Fixed The Middleburg United Methodist Church’s Google Local Search Listing
1. The church did not have a gmail address, so we set up a gmail address for the church.
2. Using the new gmail address, we logged into plus.google.com and set up a Google+ profile page for the church pastor (a prerequisite for setting up the church’s Google+ Local page that is referenced in local search results for the church.)
Note: Since this article was published, Google+ has been replaced by Google My Business – business.google.com.
3. Using the church’s gmail address, we logged into plus.google.com, navigated to the Google+ Local page for the church, and clicked “Manage This Page” where prompted to do so.
4. Once logged into the Church’s Google+ Local page, we edited the business information for the church to:
replace the incorrect website URL with the correct website URL for the church
correct the church name (it was listed as Asbury Methodist Church; we corrected the name to Middleburg United Methodist Church);
added a cover photo to the Google+ Local page that depicts the church exterior,
added photos of the church exterior and interior into the photos section,
added church hours in the hours of operation section.
5. The church’s new website had a dead link to the church’s Facebook page. Since the church’s Facebook page provides another link to the church’s website which helps confirm and reinforce the correct website URL, we fixed the dead link to the church’s Facebook page in the website footer.
Verifying the Church Google+ Local Page
The final step in correcting the church’s Google+ Local listing was to get the listing verified by Google. Fortunately, Google allowed phone verification for this listing. (Often, Google does not offer the phone verification option and will only verify a listing by sending a postcard to the listed business address.) Phone verification is immediate and can save a week or more waiting for the Google postcard to arrive with the PIN number needed to verify the Google+ Local listing.
Although the Google+ Local listing was updated on a Saturday, we had to wait until the church secretary returned to the office on the following Tuesday to receive the phone call from Google with the Google verification PIN number.
Once the secretary was in the office, the verification process took just a couple of minutes. First, I logged into the Google+ Local page using the church’s gmail address. Next, I navigated to the Church’s Google+ Local page and clicked “manage this page.” At the top of the page was a message stating that the page needed to be verified. I clicked “Verify this page,” and then followed the prompt to have Google call the church office.
I called the church office from my cell phone and instructed the secretary to have a pen and paper ready to write down the PIN Number that would be provided by Google when they called. Then I clicked “call now”.
Google called the church office immediately, the secretary wrote down the PIN number, told me the PIN number, and I entered it into the designated box on the Google+ Local page, then clicked “verify”.
Once verified, the new and correct Google Local+ Page for the church appeared in search results within 24 hours. Here’s what the correct listing looks like:
Now people will find and be able to click through to the correct new church website when searching for “Middleburg United Methodist Church Virginia”. (Note: there is also a Middleburg Florida United Methodist Church; you have to specify “Virginia” to see the Middleburg Virginia United Methodist Church listing.)
Lessons Learned and Suggestions
1. When creating a new website for your business or organization, have a plan for moving the new website onto your original domain name or redirecting the original domain name to the new domain name.
2. Make sure your Google+ Local page is set up and all business information in that page is accurate and complete. 95% or more of all online searches for local businesses and organizations are conducted through Google, so it’s essential that all information about your organization in Google is accurate and complete.
3. Check your online listing score at Moz.com/local and follow the instructions there to complete and correct all other online citations / listings for your business or organization.
Did you know that your Google My Business page can help your local business gain a competitive advantage in your local marketplace?
If you have ever searched for a local business using your computer or your mobile phone with phrases like “pizza (my town)” or “shoe store (my town),” then you have seen a Google My Business profile. It looks like this: (more…)