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  • Writer's pictureSusan de Leeuw

FREE Advertising? Yes, it's Possible!

So what is this Free advertising you ask?

It's called Google My Business and for business owners who are looking to leverage a location - based strategy, this is the tool for you.

And for good reason.

Google My Business (formerly Google Places) is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engines and for business owners looking for greater local exposure, this tool offers the greatest impact for your brand. If you are a business that relies on local search - chiropractors, auto garages, restaurants, gift stores etc - this free tool will allow your target audience to find you and the information that is relevant to them: things like address, business hours, category, reviews, and contact information.

Google's knowledge graph also uses verified Google My Business information to help create details for its database about businesses and related information that is relevant to the audience's specific searches. Once a new listing is created, a Google Maps location is created that syncs with traditional google search for easy access and searchability.

And, since 90% of worldwide searches come from Google, this is a tool to definitely consider using.

So how do you start?

First, there are some things you need to know:

  1. Yes, using Google My Business is free.

  2. It will not replace your website but rather, it complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence with a listing on Google.

  3. The information you provide about your business can appear in Google Search and Google Maps.

  4. Chances are your business is already listed on Google My Business so you would need to claim the business in order to enhance and optimize your listing.

Starting your Google My Business Listing

First step is to run a Google search to ensure your business doesn't already have a listing. Chances are good it does in which case you need to go through the steps to claim your listing.

If someone else has claimed your listing (it happens), then follow these steps.

Once you have created your listing or gone through the steps of claiming your business and having it verified, then you can go through the process of completing the listing including adding your physical address, your website, a listing and description of your services, any videos that are relevant along with photos that represent your business, your hours of operation and the area that your business services.

Include relevant keywords.

Similar to when you are optimizing your website for keywords that you want to be found for (that also have mid to low search volume on them), be sure to include the relevant keywords into your description of your business along with the service or product descriptions. This will increase your listings visibility in the search engine for those looking for those keyword phrases.

Be sure to add photos.

According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive up to 42 percent more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to websites than without. I'd say that's a pretty good reason to ensure you are adding video and photographs!

Customer Reviews

Once your listing is complete and verified live by Google, you can start the process of asking your clients to leave you a review. Positive reviews not only have a positive impact on your business, it also increases your business's visibility in search results. Encourage your customers to leave feedback by creating a link that they can click to write the review.

Lastly, monitor your business listing using Google's built in insights tool.

By regularly checking your insights on your listing, you will be able to discover:

  • How customers find your listing

  • Where customers find you on Google

  • Customer actions

  • Direct requests

  • Phone calls

  • Photos

If you'd like to learn more about how to maximize your own Business listing in Google My Business, give us a call or email. We'd love to help!

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