At Akira, we spend a lot of time researching and reviewing all the amazing products and services you can access via a Google account. Most are free to use, including Gmail, Analytics and Calendar.
However, top of our list is Google My Business, a suite of little apps to help your business be found in Google better. Top of the list is the feature formally known as Google Places, which is the listing Google creates for your business.
Business listings in Google
When you type your business name into Google Maps, it'll show you your business marked with a red pin. Click on that and you get basic details, like the image above.
Click on 'more info' and you go to a web page that looks something like this.
It may look fancy, but in essence this is just like a database entry for your business, which Google can use across a whole range of search results.
This might be news to you that such a page even exists, but it's yours for the taking. Here's how (and in a minute, why) you should take 10 minutes and claim it.
Verified or not?
Look at the top left of the header. You'll see that at Akira we've got a pic with a small shield next to it with a tick in. This tick means the website has been Verified.
Verification is the process by which you can claim this page. If there isn't a shield and tick, you need to claim and verify your business page.
Let's look at an example of an unverified listing from our home town of Ingersoll - not a client, just a local restaurant, by the way.
You'll see there is no shield by the logo. This business has not verified their listing.
All the business needs to do to claim this listing is to click the “Manage this page” button at the bottom left of the page. To manage any page, you need a Google account, which is free and easy to set up.
In order to verify your claimed listing, Google will need to contact you directly either by phone or by sending a postcard with a code to be entered. Once this is done you can add other details to your page, and it'll look more like this one:
Why is this listing so important?
Seven sound business reasons.
- Having a Google My Business page will increase your profile in geographical searches.
- It's a verified link to your business from Google - that's worth a lot.
- It's linked in to their Maps application, used on millions of smartphones and mobile devices
- It's free.
- People can review your business, and the more reviews you have, the better.
- You can add all sorts of other details to it over time, including blogs.
- It's free.
If your website was built by Akira Studio, chances are, we've done all this for you already and your page is just waiting to be filled with posts, photos, images, etc.
If not, here's one more absolute clincher of a reason to do this.
When a person searches for a burger (or whatever) from a mobile phone or device on the street, their device software show them the nearest businesses to their current posiyion that can provide what they want.
But only if the businesses are open.
Probably the most important parts of your listing therefore are your opening hours. Even if your 'office' is a shed in the back yard and you only sit in it two hours a week and work from your iPad in the bath most of the time, add your normal working hours (and get an answerphone). If you don't enter opening hours, Google assumes you are shut and will not show you in search results. Ouch.
What do I do first?
Do a search and see if your business is listed, and if so, claim it as your own. ALWAYS check by searching in Google first, rather than going to the Google My Business signup page - most businesses already have a listing unless they are very new, and getting duplicate listings removed is an absolute nightmare!
Been Verified? Congratulations!
You're now on the Google radar, and there's plenty more you can do to make that free listing even better - more details coming soon!