Not many people realise that Google provides their business with a free listing. Completely free of charge, and relatively easy to complete.

The best way to quickly understand this is to search for a business in Google, let’s say a pub called The Miners Arms in a village called in Eyam in Derbyshire. I made a small website for them a few years ago, and therefore if you search for the phrase “The Miners Arms Eyam” you see their website at the top of the normal Google search results.

miners-arms-eyam-screenshot-the-website-waiter

 

These are the normal, what they call ‘organic’ results, where the website comes out at the top of Google – this is the area of Google that everybody wants to see happen for them through the process of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

But there is also another way which most people don’t realise, and that’s the separate box of information on the right. This is a nice little snap shot of information on that particular business including the address, contact details, photos, and even reviews.

This separate information is also linked to the map you often see with red flags on, so if you type in, say, “pub eyam” you don’t actually get this particular pub anymore but a red flag with other alternatives at the top and a list of options. If you click on one of these you find similar information which is linked with Google’s version of social media called Google Plus.

pub-eyam-the-website-waiter

 

They’re Two Separate Things

Whichever form you see, these are separate “Google Business” listings that are completely separate to your website and search results. It’s basically Google’s version of a directory listing like Yell.com.

It’s an official mention of your business even though you may not even have a website yet, on the basis that Google do want to provide genuinely helpful information to people and mention your business even though you may not be online yet.

Practically, Google has already spent years locating general business information from all kinds of databases, and so more established businesses may automatically be noted on here with whatever information Google has found for them. The main focus is therefore for any newer businesses to also get mentioned, but it’s also worth existing businesses making sure they are correctly referred to with up-to-date information. Either way, you may as well get your business correctly mentioned on Google for free.

Three Advantages to Your Google Business Listing

Here are 3 specific ways that you will benefit from a correct Google Business listing:

1. People Will Find You Better When Searching on Google

This is for more specific searches, so as above if people already know about The Miners Arms pub in Eyam and type it straight into Google, then they get immediate information on that business, and with technology like smart phones they can then easily email or call that business straight away armed with this right information.

2. You Get in the Map Results

So if you have a more general search like “pubs eyam” with a few options, you can still get mentioned on the Google Map with a red flag, and then in the list of options below. This is still a totally separate reference to your website which will always be above the main organic search results, and therefore some good exposure.

Although your Business listing does need to sharpen up in order to get mentioned straight away in this list, this can still be an easy win.

3. It Helps You With Longer Term Website SEO

So for your main website in the normal results, Google likes to see that you’re a real business and linked with your real business listing with them, which will give you brownie points with your SEO and therefore popularity in the organic search results.

How to Get Your Business Listing Sorted

If you head to this link and first search for your business, Google will first check to see if it has a version of this for you to officially claim and then amend, or whether you need to create a new one – www.google.com/business. The steps are pretty self explanatory to then fill in details and progress with.

You will then reach a stage where Google needs to validate that you are a real business, which based upon the fact that you are claiming to be at a real postal address, means they will then send you a postcard to this address. Once you receive this, you will need to log back in and type their code in to finally authorise and then complete any information.

In terms of what details you need to then update in your Business listing, these boil down to:

1. Add The Right Written Detail

This may sound obvious, but make sure everything you can do is added, and it is technically correct, even down to abbreviations like ‘Street’ or ‘St’. It doesn’t necessarily matter what these actually are, but the important aspect is that this exact description matches references elsewhere on the internet and your website so that Google can clearly see they are the same business.

2. Add Any Images

You will naturally have a Street View picture from Google of your address, but you have the opportunity to add other images like your logo and any promotional pictures and offers.

3. Add Social Media Links

An opportunity to get connected online, with reference to your own website and other profiles like Facebook and Twitter. Google also has a direct link with their own Google Plus social media profile to provide updates and posts to keep things fresh.

4. Add Reviews

An opportunity for individuals to place a review through their Google account, which can help give more credibility to your Business account and online presence.

Use Your Free Opportunity

With Google being such a dominant force on the internet, here is a golden opportunity to have your free business listing up and running within a short space of time. At the very least your business will clearly appear when people do a search for you, but in addition provide an opportunity to improve general visibility and an important foundation to any longer term SEO strategy.

Click here to find out how we can help you with this.