Where are potential customers looking to find local businesses and organizations?
“Google searches (on Google.com and Maps) guide consumers to 1.5 billion destinations every year.”
... and that's just Google. Add Yahoo, Apple Maps, and others, and it's easy to see that online local searches are critical for any local business.
The obvious next question is how do you get your organization to show up in these searches?
Many search engines will automatically pick up the location and basic business information from other sources. However, there are additional benefits when you verify that you are the owner. You are then able to update the description, add your logo, set your hours of operation, and other info.
As we all know, Google has the majority of search market share today. This includes local searches. So we recommend starting by adding your Google listing first and then moving on to the others.
Google calls this service Google My Business.
To start the process, go to www.google.com/business/.
Follow the steps to search for your business (it may already have a generic listing). Once you find it, or start creating a new listing, the next step is to “claim” the location. This is done by requesting Google to mail a postcard with a verification code to the business address (yes, they send a physical postcard to your mailbox). Once you receive the postcard you enter the code printed on it into Google My Business. You now have a verified business listing and you can customize it by editing all the information.
The business listing is displayed on Google Maps. This includes both maps.google.com as well as mobile apps. Even more importantly though, it is now connected with location based searches on Google.
There are some keys to getting the most out of these services:
Completing these steps will help Google and other search engines make the connection between each of these sources. It will also help prevent duplicate listings.
Search engines are always trying to show the most relevant results. There are steps you can take to help your organization show up in local searches. This includes verifying and updating your organizations listings. This is one more way to improve your organization’s online presence and help customers and prospects find your business.
One last statistic to back up the importance of this:
“Three out of every four people who search for something nearby using their smartphone end up visiting a store within a day, and 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase.”
My business does not have a physical location. Does this still apply to us?
Yes, you are able to still create a business page with your information. You will just select the option that you do not have a store location and then select the local area that you serve.
Does this help my website rank higher in searches?
Well, search engines do not like to share their secrets. But, we are pretty sure that it does help. And if for some reason we’re wrong, we do know that it shows up on maps and in the sidebar… so you can’t go wrong with spending a few minutes to make sure.
How do I ask people to leave reviews on my Google My Business page?
Go to https://support.google.com/business/answer/7035772?hl=en to learn how to create a link for someone to leave your business a review.