Why Must You Claim Your “Google My Business” Listing?
By: Chris Loynd, Digital Pizza CT Deliveryman
Have you claimed your Google My Business listing? If you’re not sure, open a new tab on your browser, Google your business name, then pop back to this blog post. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
If on your listing you see in blue, “Own this business?” you need to claim your listing and right away. Why should you care? Here are three immediate benefits.
1. Google Sometimes Gets it Wrong
If you don’t claim your listing, Google uses its army of web crawlers to put in as much information as it can. At Digital Pizza we’ve seen some disturbing results.
One Connecticut company’s Google business listing featured photos from a similarly-named company in the Czech Republic. Another Connecticut client’s listing showed a menu from a California restaurant with the same name. Another client had two Google business listings, one from an old location they left years ago listing them in a wrong business category. Another client changed its name years ago but Google was still listing the old name. Still another company was surprised to find the wrong website on its listing, so anyone searching came up with the right business location but was then sent to a competitor’s website.
Google can also list the wrong business category for your company. Choosing the correct category is critical. It is one of the first criteria used in search.
Most errors you can fix simply by claiming your listing and updating the info. Computer algorithms, not human beings, make most of these mistakes. Google puts the onus on you to correct or report the error. Hey, it’s your business, right?
Plus, Google doesn’t know everything. So without you, Google lists only the most basic information about your company. You can and should enhance your business listing with your hours, website and photos. You should also regularly update your listing with special offers and blog posts.
2. Google Owns Search
Yes, Bing and Yahoo are out there. But more than 70 percent of search goes through Google. (By the way, both Bing and Yahoo use business listings too and you should claim them as well.)
Google business listings are very, very, prominently listed in its search results. If someone is looking for your business specifically, they’ll see an information panel to the right of search results on desktop computers. On mobile devices, the panel appears first, very top of the search page.
Google does some really cool things with their business listings benefiting those who claim and update their listings.
Have you ever tried a “near me” search? You can type in, or ask Siri, Alexa, Google and the like, to find a business or service “near me.” This is increasingly popular for all sorts of things, not just restaurants or gas stations. You can search for lawyers, funeral parlors or even marketing agencies “near me” like Digital Pizza CT.
Google Maps lists some choices closest to your physical location. Click on any of the listings and a panel pops out (on desktop) or appears on top (on mobile) with your Google business listing.
Even if you do not ask for “near me,” in many searches Google assumes proximity is important nonetheless. It looks at your computer IP address or mobile phone location and orders search results accordingly.
Google also rewards verified and active business listings with higher search results. Claiming and updating your business listing boosts your search engine optimization (SEO). Links to your website and blog in your business listing are considered as coming from a trusted source and thereby help make your business easier to find.
Google also shares search metrics for your business listing with you. You can see how many views your listing gets, where searches come from and more.
3. Show You’re Serious
Credibility is important to any business concern. Prospective customers rely on internet searches to form their opinion of companies, services and products.
Your business listing appears right at the moment people are looking for your company specifically or trying to find goods or services your business provides. There is no better time to shine. As Google says, “Make it count every time someone finds you.”
A robust, Google-verified business listing with your correct phone number, current hours, photos, links to your website, special offers and a current story all boost your chances of winning a new customer. Google is considered a trusted source of current information. Conversely, insufficient, incomplete or wrong information hurts your business image.
Google prominently features reviews on your business listing. Google pushes businesses with more positive reviews higher up in search results. The search engine also pulls in ratings from other sites and shows them on your information panel. Pew Research Center found that 82 percent of American consumers consult online reviews as part of their purchase process. Responding to reviews, positive and negative, shows your business cares, is active and involved with its customers.
DIY or Digital Pizza?
Claiming your Google business listing is generally pretty easy. But there is more to it than just verifying your listing. Digital Pizza can help you with the process. In a business environment increasingly driven by content marketing, you want to make sure you provide good information, quality photos and position your business message for success. Your Google business listing is one of the most valuable bits of advertising your company can own.
Once claimed and verified, it is important to keep your listing current. There are some cases where you need a bit more work to rectify your listing. We will gladly review your listing and offer a free consultation on next steps. Give us a call: 203-209-4632.
To learn more about Digital Pizza, visit our website: www.DigitalPizzaCT.com or Facebook @DigitalPizzaCT or, hey, just Google “Digital Pizza Connecticut.” We look forward to helping your business find more customers.
Google My Business: https://www.google.com/business/
Pew Research Center online reviews: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/19/online-reviews/