As all local businesses know, having your business listed on Google is very important. Millions of consumers use Google to find and make trusted decisions about local businesses. Having an updated Google My Business listing with updated information, photos, hours and description is very critical.
If you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages dashboard to manage your business information, you’ve likely noticed that your account has been automatically upgraded to Google My Business dashboard. Google My Business makes it simpler than ever to make sure your local business information can be easily found across Google, including on Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+.
1 Verify your business
To add your local business to Google My Business, you must have a mailing address and meet their quality guidelines.
Local Google+ pages are designed for businesses that serve a particular locale. Local restaurants, hotels, dentists,
hardware stores, plumbers, QSRs or repair shops, for example, are eligible to create a local page.
To make sure the basic information you submit is accurate, Google will ask you to verify it first by entering a verification code that will be sent to either your business address or phone number
You will have one or two verification options. You can also choose to skip verification and return to the Google My Business dashboard to complete the process later.
• Verification by postcard
• Verification by phone
Once you’ve verified, you may see a banner asking you to review your information and make any final changes.
2 Optimize your business information
After you’ve signed up for Google My Business, you’ll be able to add a description for your business, hours of operation, contact information, and photos.
Make sure the business information is complete and accurate.
• Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so users can find you easily. You can drag the
map marker to your exact business location.
• List your authoritative and official business website on the local Google+ page, since Google uses information from your website to help improve search results.
• Add information such as opening hours and payment types to help users choose among search results.
• Of course, be sure that your business name, physical address, and phone number(s) are correct.
Choose the most appropriate, specific categories for your business.
• Pick a category from the list of suggestions to help Google to show your business for the right searches.
• Don’t be afraid to choose specific categories instead of broad ones. The important thing is that the categoriesare accurate and describe your business well. Google’s search algorithm makes sure that users looking for “Book Stores” will see businesses in more specific categories like “Used Book Stores,” “Comic Book Stores,” and
“Rare Book Stores” too.
Establish a strong, accurate presence on the web.
• Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make
sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.
• Encourage customers to review your business by clicking Write a review on the local Google+ page.
Reviews in Google My Business give business owners a way to see how customers are reviewing their business
across the web. As a business owner of a verified business, you can:
• Read reviews for your business from around the web.
• Respond to reviews from Google users.
• Check analytics to get an overview on how and where your customers are evaluating your business.
• Sign in to Google My Business dashboard.
• Scroll to “Reviews” and click Manage Reviews. Note that your business needs to be verified in order to respond to
You’ll see a Review inbox listing any reviews Google users have left for your business as well as a compilation of snippets of reviews written about your business.
The Reviews analytics tab includes information detailing where users have evaluated your business, and the average
score of reviews of your business.
Tips for responding to reviews
Engaging with the people who give you feedback can be a good way to get to know your customers and what they think about your business. Note that you’ll be posting as the page for your business when you reply to reviews, and that your reply will be posted publicly. Replies to reviews may not appear immediately on the page.
Business owner responses allow you to build relationships with customers, but
they’re also public.
Business owners can also use the Sociallybuzz app [http://www. sociallybuzz.com/app ] to receive and respond to reviews directly from their mobile phone. The ultimate goal is to have the best Google My Business listing by keeping your listing up to date and providing important information to potential consumers.
Andre Kay is CEO and chief marketing officer of Sociallybuzz, which exists to help franchise owners grow their business using social media. By helping them reach relevant customers, build customer loyalty, mange reputation and increase revenue. We protect relationship with their customer, create effective campaigns, manage their social channels and online reputation 24/7. Read the company’s blog: (http://sociallybuzz.wordpress.com/), follow it on Twitter and “like” its Facebook page.