Getting Local With Google My Business
What is Google My Business?
Many local business owners who look into online marketing have heard the terms “directory” or “citation,” yet have no idea what that means. Online citations/directories are the internet version of the Yellow Pages; these are websites that solely exist to house important information about your business, like your NAP (Name Address Phone), your website, company description, and so on. Most sites have a little bit more information, like reviews or photos, but those are less important.
Online citations are valuable for two reasons:
- Sometimes users will come across a citations website and search for businesses near them. If you are listed on their site, they might come to you!
- They provide a hyperlink to your website. Getting hyperlinks, AKA backlinks, from reputable sites will improve your site’s ranking in search engines.
By far the most important citation is Google My Business (at least, if you’re trying to rank in Google). When you search for your business on Google, you should see a box on the right containing your NAP and other information. I’ve screenshotted an example of the GMB listing for one of our clients, Pope Dental, below.
Once your site goes live and Google indexes it, usually a GMB listing is automatically generated. If you want to edit it, there are two ways:
- When you see the GMB listing, click the “Suggest an Edit” link. This will allow you to edit basic information like the address or phone number. However, those edits won’t necessarily go live, and they definitely won’t go live immediately.
- Claim your GMB listing. This process is pretty easy, Log into a Google account and visit business.google.com/create. Look at the top right of your screen and click on the green button that says “Start Now.” If nobody has ever claimed this GMB listing before, you’ll have to get a postcard mailed to the address in the GMB listing. The postcard will contain special instructions on how to verify your ownership. If someone has claimed it before, you’ll need to send an automated call that contains a verification code to the phone number in the GMB listing.
Why You Need to Verify
Once you have verified your listing, you can do all sorts of things, like upload pictures and choose which ones you want displayed, respond to reviews, and make instant edits to your NAP and critical information like business hours. You can also link your Google Adwords account so that your ads will show in Google Maps, rather than only showing in text-only Google results.
While GMB is the most important citation, you’ll also want to update your Bing and Yahoo citations as well. And if you’re looking for more guidance, feel free to shoot us an email at info at practiceaffiliate.com!