Google Local Search: Get on the Map

If your business relies on local customers, creating and updating your “Google My Business” listing will ensure that your business appears on a map along with your competitors.

When you search for a service or activity based business on a mobile phone, Google picks up your location automatically and shows you a map with businesses closest to you. On a desktop, you can add a location to your search to get similar results.

The google map comes up at the top of local search results before any websites are listed. The map listing shows your business address and other details (assuming those details have been added by you).

Is your Business on the Map?

To check, simply enter your business name into a Google search box.  A map should appear showing your business on a map and also listing your address and other details.

To create a map listing for the first time, you will need to login to Google My Business using a google account and verify that you are the business owner. It seems crazy but this involves Google actually sending a postcard to your business address. You then enter the code from the postcard into your Google My Business account.

To add to or edit your listing for the first time, you will need to login using a google account and verify that you are the business owner. As long as your main phone number hasn’t changed, this involves a Google robot calling you. You then enter the code the robot gives you into your Google My Business account.

Checklist: Optimise your Listing

Think of your Google My Business listing like a very well-optimised mini website.

Here are a few of the basics you will want to tick off once you have control of your  account…

  • Your logo and a cover photo
  • Some photos of your products or services
  • A photo of yourself and your team
  • The main category your business fits into & subcategories
  • Open hours (change these for holidays so they are always correct)
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Website address

Google My Business App

Download the Google My Business App to your phone so you can manage your listing from anywhere.

  • Posts: Add to the minute posts (‘just out of the oven’ OR ‘Just in today. Only 2 in stock’)
  • Photos: Add more photos of products, services, projects, happy customers
  • Reviews: Get notified immediately about questions and reviews so you can answer
  • Insights: Check your stats on who’s seen your listing and what they did. Eg. Clicked on phone, got directions etc

Add Posts to your Listing

This is a relatively new feature on Google My Business but has huge potential for bringing you more business. Give everyone searching for your business a reason to come in or give you a call by posting updates and special offers directly to your local listing on Google.

These posts include photos and links too so can be used to promote new products and drive traffic to your website and your physical business. You can turn your update into an event and have this promoted on google local search based on the location of the event.

Answer Questions on your listing

Another new feature with huge potential. Anyone viewing your business in google maps can ask a question about your business.

It is a good idea to answer these as soon as possible as customers visiting your business may also be asked to answer the questions if they are logged in to google on their phone.

If others answer your questions and you like the answer, you can give it a thumbs up to send it to the top of the list. More about this feature…

TIP: If you really want to be pro-active, add some of your frequently asked questions to your listing yourself.

Your Listing is a Public Space so Check Regularly

Don’t forget that your listing is a public space where others can share their experience of your business.

Your visitors and customers (and sometimes your competitors) can…

  • Add a review of your business
  • Add photos of your business and products and services purchased there
  • Ask and answer questions about your business
  • Make suggestions about changes to your business category, hours, location etc

Make sure you check your listing regularly to make sure someone hasn’t suggested or added something which doesn’t accurately reflect your business. For more on which aspects of your listing you can and can’t control, read this great MOZ article…

For help setting up, claiming or customising your Google My Business Listing, please give us a call or email Jo.

About Jo Lees

I have been designing websites and email newsletters for the past 15 years, specialising in WordPress and Mailchimp. I can also help you with ideas and marketing strategies to grow your business online. More about Jo...