How to use Google for local businesses to find more clientsPosted by Ryan Jones on Sep 18, 2019. Reading time: 8 mins
When is the last time you didn’t use Google Maps to get to a new location? We’re all guilty of typing in a business name or something precarious like “nearest coffee shop,” and using Google Maps to get us there.
Businesses that appear in these searches have a Google My Business account which has been strategically set up to bring potential customers to them. This platforms helps millions of customers all around the world access local businesses.
By getting yourself ranked first in Google’s search results, you make it more likely that a customer will pick your business over competitors who may be ranked lower.
If you’re looking to attract more local people to your store, you need to add your business to Google Maps. Learn how to use Google for local businesses. Create a Google business listing, as well as some of the great benefits you’ll enjoy.
Google My Business
If you’re not already on Google, a great way to get started is by setting up a Google My Business account. This is a super easy way to get your profile up and running in a matter of minutes.
This ‘Grow with Google’ program allows you to set up a free easy profile that is searchable through the Google search engine and Google Maps. You don’t want to be that guy whos business info is only available on a third party site like TripAdvisor. That guy sucks.
Effective listings can include the following important areas of information:
- Hours of operation
- Phone number
- Business Address
- Customer reviews
- Other relevant information
You’ll also find all kinds of information that can help you improve your site, like how customers found your business and common related search terms.
Claiming Your Business
As you begin to set up your business profile on Google My Business, you may be surprised to find out that Google Maps already has some basic information about your business. If someone has already created a listing for your business, you’ll need to claim your business.
Claiming is much easier than it sounds and gives you many benefits as a business owner. Once you’ve claimed your business, you’ll have access to your business's online profile, which you can update and optimise to bring in more customers.
Thanks to updates in Google’s processes, you may be able to claim your business through a simple phone call. Google can call the phone number on the current Google My Business listing and approve your claim instantly. It’s really as simple as that to make your business available on the world’s largest search engine.
In some rare cases, you may need to use Google’s old process, where they mail you a postcard. If this is you, be patient. Sometimes the first postcard might be lost in the mail, but allow 2-3 weeks for it to be delivered, and request a new postcard if it hasn’t arrived.
Updating Business Details
Once you’ve created or verified your business profile, it’s time to update your business details. You can add all the relevant information your customers need; you can even add a little description about your business in the review section. Relevant information can vary from business to business, but usually includes the same general key points.
Of course, you’ll want to include information that is accurate, and update your details as often as possible when your business changes. Inaccurate opening hours or addresses can cause your customers unwanted confusion and frustration.
Pay special attention to holiday hours, respond immediately to customer feedback, continue to update your menu or terms of service and details of any special offers in order to attract new customers and keep your loyal customers coming back.
If you install the Google My Business app on your mobile phone, you will get push notifications to remind you to update your opening hours for public holidays, and when you get reviews. This helps prompt you to stay on top of your profile management.
Keeping Google My Business Up to Date
Keeping your business details updated is one thing, but you also need to post regularly. Just like Facebook, Instagram and other social media, you can post updates and special offers to your Google My Business profile. For example, a restaurant owner might upload a photo of their menu along with photos of the dishes; visual aids are extremely helpful for enticing customers.
Current posts and offers on your Google My Business profile helps visitors see that you’re open and in business. They are reassured by current updates, which can show on the right hand side of Google searches, in the ‘knowledge panel’.
The Google My Business app allows you to conveniently publish new posts, photos, videos and offers from your mobile phone. Some social media management tools, such as Social Report, allow you to schedule these updates with your other social media posts.
Google My Business For Larger Organisations
Does your organisation have more than one office? You can import your offices or stores to Google My Business via spreadsheet, adding all sites at once. You’ll still need to verify each office, but Google have simplified processes for larger businesses, such as taking a photo of each shopfront.
A central contact in the organisation, such as the marketing or IT department can then manage all of these locations, and access can be provided to a contact in each location for posts and local updates.
Managing Your Business Profile
All this profile managing takes time. Many small business owners need the additional traffic provided by local search results, but can’t commit valuable time to constantly updating their Google My Business page. That’s where Refuel comes in. Our dynamic team is capable of assisting you with a wide range of sales, marketing and web design services.
While you, as a business owner, need to claim your business or create your business location with Google My Business, Refuel can take over from there. We’ll keep your profile up to date and use the latest SEO and content marketing strategies to draw in a local crowd. Whether you’re the only business in town or facing stiff competition, you need a winning website and accurate Google details to draw in your customers relying on Google Maps for navigation.
Thankfully, all your business details and complete profile will also appear on mobile for users of Google and Google Maps. At Refuel, we can ensure your data is optimised for mobile experiences.
Due to the overwhelming amount of mobile viewers on many websites, it’s important to create a profile that is convenient to view on both desktops and mobile devices.
Take the opportunity to make sure your website is mobile friendly too. Linking to a desktop-only website from a Google My Business listing doesn’t provide mobile viewers with the best experience, and you’ll likely lose these potential customers.
Just because your business is local doesn’t mean you can skip SEO strategies. In fact, Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a crucial step in any online page or listing.
There are tools available to help you create dynamic listings that are easy to search and that will draw in more traffic. Here at Refuel we create unique websites and Google My Business listings that are tailored to your specific audience, whether local, national or international.
As your business increases in online popularity, Google’s algorithm can also help increase the prominence of your business on Google search and maps.
Some businesses resort to paid advertisements in place of SEO. While a paid advertisement may give you short-term success, a long-term business marketing strategy should also include a strong SEO foundation in order to keep up your traffic even after you stop paying for it.
Manage It All With Refuel
A strong Google business profile can mean the difference between a customer finding you and not. Many customers in your area are looking to Google to help them find a local, highly rated service.
Whether you’re selling produce or working as a plumber, your business could use professional management.
Contact us today to learn how Refuel can create genuine growth, both in the short term and long term. Our SEO experts can craft content that is able to add credibility to your business, both for your customers and search engine ranking. With a few tips and some patience, you’ll enjoy a prominent, professional profile for your business.
Ryan is the Founder & CEO of Refuel Creative. He's a HubSpot certified marketer and SEO expert.