How to Claim Your Listing in Google My Business and Why You Should Do Right It Now
What is “Google My Business”?
Google My Business is a free service that allows companies to provide accurate and useful information about their businesses to website users searching for them online. These business listings appear alongside search results and include company information such as addresses, phone numbers, websites, driving directions, reviews, photos and more.
Why Should I Care?
I know, I know; you’re busy doing actual business, so why should you take the time to claim your My Business listing? It’s harder to do business when customers can’t get in touch with you. Claiming your listing will grant you the ability to edit your business’ information and ensure that it is accurate. This means more calls, website views and storefront visits. Accurate listing information is particularly important for mobile users, who can click to call and might be looking for driving directions.
Your company’s reviews and a one- to five-star rating are shown in your My Business listing whether you claim it or not. While you can’t remove negative reviews, claiming your listing will allow you to interact with customers by responding to reviews and reframing the conversation.
Complement your business’ branding by adding photos to your listing. Google gives you the option of adding photos in several categories: identity and branding (e.g. logos), interior and exterior, at work and your team.
Google also provides insights into what types of web users are viewing your listing and how they are using it, so you can get analytics on user demographics, listing views and clicks, phone calls, website visits, interaction with your business and more.
How Do I Claim My Listing?
- Visit google.com/mybusiness and click the “Start Now” button.
- Sign in using your Google credentials
- Search for your business name or address.
- Click on the correct business listing, or choose to add a listing if your business does not appear or has an incorrect address.
- If no one has claimed ownership of your listing, you can proceed to verifying your listing. If someone has claimed your listing in the past, you can request ownership. The owner will be contacted by Google. If the owner cannot be reached, you will be given the option to verify your listing.
- Choose to verify your listing by phone, text, email or mail.
- Once you receive your verification code, enter it into your account and claim your business listing. Be sure to enter the code as soon as you receive it as it will expire.
Tips for Success
At Fiore Communications, we have run into issues in the past when a client’s previous marketing company or former employee claimed a My Business listing and the Gmail accounts the listings were claimed under were no longer used, or the individual who set it up couldn’t be reached.
Always set up your Google My Business listing under a general Gmail account for your business, not a personal account or one belonging to another employee or business, to ensure you always have access. You can later grant your employees or marketing company manager permissions to edit and add information. If the listing was already set up under a personal account that you still have access to, you can easily transfer ownership to your company’s Gmail.
We’ve also seen the verification process take a lot longer than it had to because the postcard was overlooked or thrown away. Google sends these postcards typically within five days. They arrive in a plain, white envelope and are easy to mistake for junk mail. Alert your staff to be on the lookout to make sure you don’t have to start the verification process all over again.
If your company doesn’t have a storefront, or your work from home, you can choose not to include an address with your listing. This is great for companies that primarily do business online, don’t see customers at their actual location or are home-based.
If your company has multiple locations, you can manage them all under the same account by verifying them one at a time. Verifying all of your locations will allow you to see customer interaction and satisfaction in your different markets.
The key to making Google My Business work for you is accurate information and customization. Encourage happy customers to leave you a Google review and check your listing periodically for new reviews that may need responses. Add your logo, storefront and team member photos to personalize your listing. Exterior photos are most important for companies that expect customers to visit them at their location(s).
No matter what type of business you own or how much marketing you do online, claiming your Google My Business listing is a good idea. It helps ensure customers looking for you online get accurate contact, location and hours of operation information for your company, and helps potential customers searching for your products and services discover your business.