We’ve talked a lot elsewhere about the importance of building your business a Google+ page. A Google+ page for your business makes sure the current and accurate contact information is appearing on Google Maps, and also gives your business the opportunity to show up in the group of local results on the first page of search results. It’s so important, we’ve even started creating Google+ pages for some of our customers, just to make sure they have one! Our process isn’t secret, so we’re happy to share it here so that your business can benefit from it too.
Do you use Gmail? If so, simply make sure you’re logged into your Google account before you get started. Don’t have a Google account? Now is a great time to create one. Either way, head on over to Google My Business and click Get On Google. If you have any kind of account with Google, you can sign in and continue. If not, click the Create An Account link. Once you’re in, click Get My Page to get started.
The first thing you’ll do is select the type of business you have- a storefront, service area, or a brand. The one you choose comes down to where you serve your customers. If you serve customers at your own location like a store or restaurant, then choose Storefront. If you come to you customers like pizza delivery or a plumber, then choose Service Area. If neither of these is true, then a Brand might be the best choice. It should be noted, most local businesses will fall under one of the first two.
Next you’ll be asked to enter the name and address of your business (PO boxes will not be accepted) into a search box to see if Google already has your business on file. Google can get your business info from other sources, so it’s important to see if they already have some info on you. If they do, you’ll be able to claim the listing and continue with the rest of these instructions. If your business is not already listed, you’ll be asked to fill in the name address and phone number of your business. Next, choose a category that best describes your business. They might not have a category that matches exactly, so you may have to keep it general. If you offer services in a consultative role, you may be stuck choosing simply “Consultant.”
Finally, you’ll be asked to verify your listing with a mailing, but click the option to skip this for now.
Now that you have your basic information in place, it’s time to flesh your page out a little more. For starters, you should upload your company logo as the profile picture for your business. Simply click on the round image at the top of your listing and upload your logo. Keep in mind that square images work best, otherwise it’s likely to have a lot cropped out.
Next, click the big red Edit button to fill in some more detail about your business such as your website, business hours, etc. We recommend leaving the email address blank so that people are pushed to your phone number or website which allows you to track where these leads came from.
Lastly, the introduction section is arguably the most important part of the listing. This should be a compelling description of your business and why someone would want to do business with you. The best part is that links included in this section actually have SEO value. This means that you should create a link to your website in this section. To do this, select some text from your description that is close to what someone might search for in Google if they were looking for you. Are you a plumber? The text you select might be “plumbing services” or something like that. Next click the little chain icon in the editor and type in your website address. Voila! You just made an optimized link.
Ok, you’ve created your listing, added pictures and useful details, you even did a little SEO. Now is time to click the Verify button at the top. The verification process involves Google sending a postcard to your business address with a special on it. When you receive this postcard, simply log back into www.google.com/mybusiness and enter the code. This verifies that the business owner is actually the one that set up the listing. It can take a couple weeks for the postcard to come, so be patient.
That’s it. The whole process should take you a half hour or so to complete, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to help your business show up prominently in Google’s search results. Your My Business account also has a number of other helpful resources to help you get the most out of Google. Do it now, and start enjoying the benefits.