We can all attest to the benefits of Google Maps. Even the most obscure search queries result in exhaustive lists of related businesses in your area. Is this something that could benefit your small business? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Google Maps is the most widely used app in the U.S. In 2020, it was downloaded by around 23 million people and ran on 54% of smartphones in 2021. (EnterpriseAppsToday) What does this mean for your business? There’s a host of qualified leads just a Google search away.
In order to make the most of those leads, however, you’ll need to transform your business from a pin on a map to a verified Google storefront. To accomplish this, you’ll use a Google Business Profile to personalize what customers see with photos, offers, posts, and more. This way, when your business shows up on Google search or maps, it won’t be just a generic listing, but a little taste of who you are.
Note, there’s more to this thing than just inputting your business information. There are a lot of businesses using Google Maps, around 5 million actually. Google sorts through those business listings and presents the best and most qualified of them before inquirers. The challenge, then, and what this resource will help you accomplish, is optimizing your business profile on Google to be sure it appears before those qualified leads.
First, let’s make sure we know how to establish a presence on Google Maps. Then, once we’re there, we’ll talk about optimizing your Google Business Profile.
Getting Your Business on Google Maps
Creating and maintaining a presence on Google Maps only benefits your small business. Not only will it increase brand awareness as it shows up in Google search results, but it will also increase website traffic. Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, an optimized Google Maps listing benefits your small business.
But how can you get one of those Google Maps listings? And how do you make sure it’s optimized once you have one? Don’t worry, it’s easy. Use these three simple steps to get it done:
Check to see if your business is already listed. This seems silly, but you’d be surprised how many businesses already have a listing they didn’t know about. Start by opening Google Maps and typing your business name in the search bar. If it’s not listed, you’ll need to add it (step #2). If it is, listed, then you’ll need to verify and optimize it (step #3).
If it’s missing, add your business to Google Maps. To add your business click the menu icon next to the search bar and select “add your business.” Fill out all of the information Google asks for, including name, address, and category. Take care in selecting your category, as this is how your business will show up for searches other than your business name. (think: coffee shop near me)
Verify and optimize your Google listing. Anyone can add a business to Google maps, which is why your business may have already been present. Regardless of how your business got onto Google maps, you’ll need to verify it to get the most benefit from your listing. Click “claim this business” and select your desired method of verification. Once you’ve verified your business, Google will walk you through creating the business profile that you’ll use to manage it.
Here are Google’s instructions for adding, claiming, and verifying your business. You’ll also find on this page, in the upper right corner, a link to set up your Google Business Profile. This process can take a little time, but will provide you with all the tools you need to get the most out of Google for your business.
Optimizing Your Business Profile to Get the Full Benefits of Google
Once you’ve established your Google Business Profile, you’ll need to make sure it’s set up and regularly updated (optimized). Google cares a lot about available and accurate information. Optimizing your Google Business Profile shows Google that you’re willing to play by their rules, and for that, you’ll be rewarded.
Consider the numbers. A regularly optimized Google Business Profile:
- is 2.7x more likely to be considered more reputable.
- receives 7x more clicks.
- is 70% more likely to attract location visits.
- is 50% more likely to lead to a purchase.
These statistics can be true for your small business, and we want to help it be so. We’ve put together a checklist you can use to make sure your Google Business Profile is completely up-to-date. Remember, optimizing your business profile is an ongoing process – Google prioritizes the most up-to-date profiles.
Click the link below to access your free optimization checklist. Save it. Print it. Keep it close. Reap the benefits of a regularly optimized Google Business Profile.