Is Google My Business Free?
Spoiler alert: YES.
Free advertising on Google? What? It’s true. Google My Business is a free listing you can create so as to get found in online searches, and the profile associated with it is one you can optimize so as to rank higher than competitors, show up at the top of results, and get chosen by more customers. Read on for more commonly asked questions (and answers) about getting free (and paid) exposure on Google.
Is My Google Business Listing Free?
Yes, completely free. Just like how the Google Maps app is free (this is the platform on which Google My Business listings appear). Anyone can add a place to Google Maps at no cost. However, not anyone can add and edit details such as hours, offerings, and categories. To gain command over that listing, you need to claim your business. You do this through a Google My Business account, which is also free.
Google is trying to bring the physical world online. Your listing enables Google to help its users find what they’re looking for more easily. Google helps you by giving you free online visibility. It’s a win-win.
To create a Google My Business listing, head to How to Create and Claim Your Google Business Listing.
Does Google Charge For Business Listings?
Google does not charge for business listings. You can have multiple listings under one account at no charge. The important thing to focus on is the accuracy and value of your listing. Google’s goal with Google My Business is to bring the physical world online so consumers can more easily discover and compare businesses relevant to their needs, and make educated decisions on the products and services they are seeking.
So, while your listing is free, you are not exactly free to publish whatever you please on your profile. Google does regulate the type of content you include in your listing and Google posts to ensure you are in line with their mission.
Can You Pay Google to Rank Higher?
You can use paid ads (Google Ads) to get a particular page on your website or landing page to show up at the top of search results. The broad terms for this type of online advertising include paid search ads, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), and search engine marketing (SEM). The term specific for Google is called Google Ads.
Google Ads works like an online auction. First, you choose the keywords for which you want your particular page (which is, in this case, your ad) to show up at the top of results. You also establish your budget. Once you have your Google Ads campaign set up, you are now entered into the auction.
When someone types in those keywords, Google’s algorithm goes through all of the ads bidding for that query, and takes several factors into account (not just bid) including the quality of the ad and the experience as it relates to the page to which it is pointing (which should be a landing page).
Through Google Ads you can also set your preferences to have your listing appear on Google Maps, as with the example below:
How Can I Advertise My Business on Google for Free?
There are ways to get your business to show up on Google for free.
Second, you can get your website pages to show up in organic search results through SEO practices such as creating quality content, properly placing keywords, and getting quality backlinks to those pages.
Another way to indirectly advertise your business for free on Google is to create listings on popular directories such as Yelp, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, etc. These directories have high domain authority and are trusted by Google, so there is a chance that your profile page for any of these sites could show up high (or even on page one) of search results, granting you free visibility and exposure.
How Much Does it Cost to be at the Top of a Google Search?
As mentioned above, you can pay to have your listing or page show up in the top (ads section) of Google search results. However, exactly how much it costs varies depending on the volume and competition of the keywords you’re targeting, what your budget is, who you’re competing against, and more.
Rather than thinking about the cheapest ads you can run, think about the minimum amount you’ll need to spend in order to get a return on your investment. Working with an expert who can choose the right settings and set you up to succeed with your Google Ads campaigns is highly recommended.
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