Adding your business to Google Maps is an important tool in any online marketing campaign. Google Maps makes it easier for customers to engage with your business, which can translate into real-life sales and increased revenue. Google Maps is free to use, and with most small businesses choosing to list themselves on the platform, you’ll want to make sure that your business gets in on the act. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about adding your small business to Google Maps to help boost your online visibility and increase sales.
What is Google Maps?
Google Maps used to be known as Google places. It is one feature of a wider service called Google My Business. Google My Business allows business owners to manage and monitor their company’s performance on all the platforms that it encompasses.
Google Maps is a mapping and navigation tool that allows users to view immersive photographs of their location or other locations, access real-time traffic information, get directions to different places and view aerial photographs. However, the most useful feature for small businesses is that Google Maps allows users to search for providers of particular products or services in the local area. If you rank highly in the list of results when someone searches for your business type in Google Maps, this will help drive local customers towards your website. Local traffic has a greater potential to translate into real sales. So, it is not hard to see why most small businesses choose to list themselves on Google Maps.
Why should I add my business to Google Maps?
As we mentioned above, being listed on Google Maps makes it easier for local customers to find you. Many people locate the products or services they are looking for by performing a Google Map search. If your business doesn’t appear, potential customers won’t know you exist, and you’ll be missing out on a major revenue stream.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that almost all reputable large and small businesses are listed on Google Maps. This helps to create an image of your business as legitimate. If you don’t appear on Google Maps, this could be a red flag to potential customers. In short, a good performance on Google Maps helps to create a professional image of your business.
How to add a small business to Google Maps
Hopefully, you now understand why adding your business to Google Maps is such a great idea. Fortunately, creating a Google Maps listing is quick and simple and doesn’t require any special technological know-how. Anyone can quickly and easily add a small business to Google Maps. So, read on for our guide on how to add your business to this platform.
1. Sign into Google My Business
First, navigate to the Google My Business homepage and sign in. Many people already have a Google account. If your business doesn’t have an account, click on ‘more options’ and select ‘create an account’. Once you’ve made a Google My Business account for your company, proceed to sign in.
2. Add your business
It is highly likely that your small business already exists on Google Maps, especially if you’ve been trading for some time. If it doesn’t already exist, you’ll need to add it yourself.
It is easy to check whether you are listed on Google Maps. You can find out by typing your business name into the search box to see if you appear. If your business comes up, you should find that your key business information is already entered for you in the form. Make sure that the information is current and correct. You can then claim the business like yours.
If your business doesn’t appear in a Google Maps search, you should add it now. You can do this by clicking on the link that says ‘add your business’.
3. Add your information
It is important to pay close attention when adding your business to Google Maps, as any mistakes could make it hard for customers to find you and damage your search rankings. So, take the time to make sure you’ve got everything just right. In particular, you should pay attention to the following:
- choose the correct category
It is very important to choose a category that accurately describes the service your business provides. Google uses the category as one of the key deciding factors when choosing how to rank search results for your business area. You’ll notice that you have the option to add more than one category. Many small business owners are tempted to add multiple categories in the hopes of improving their ranking. However, it is actually better to select just one category that best describes your business if possible.
- correctly enter your name, address, and phone number
Although it sounds obvious, make sure that your business name, physical address and telephone number are entered correctly and match the details used on other platforms such as Facebook. It is important to make sure that your business information is listed consistently across all platforms.
- include delivery information
You’ll notice that there is a checkbox that you can tick if you’re happy to deliver or provide services to customers in their own homes. Depending on your business area, this is important information for your customers to know. If your business delivers, you should also include the areas that you deliver to so the customers in those locations can find you.
4. Verify your business
Once you’re happy that all your information is entered correctly, you should click ‘continue’. Clicking continue acts as confirmation that you have the necessary permission to add your business to Google Maps and that you accept Google’s terms and conditions for using their service. Google has a legal obligation to make sure that only authorized persons add business information to Google my business.
For this reason, Google will want to verify that you are an authorized member of your business. So, you will have to go through the verification process. There are several ways in which to do this. However, the two simplest methods for many small business owners are:
- verification via phone call: this is probably the easiest option for most business owners and will get you verified much faster. If you choose this option, you’ll receive a phone call to your registered phone number from Google. During the phone call, they’ll give you a verification code. Write this down and keep it safe, as you’ll need to enter into Google My Business.
- verification via mail: although verifying a business by mail is simple, it takes much longer than verifying by phone. Google will mail a verification code to you, and this can take anywhere between one and two weeks. Once it arrives, you should use the code to verify your business on Google My Business as soon as possible. This is because the verification code will expire after a 30-day period. If you wait too long, you may have to go for the whole process again.
Once you have your code, log back into Google My Business. You’ll see a link saying ‘enter code’ on the top right-hand corner of the page. Click on it, enter your verification code and submit it.
5. Get to grips with Google My Business
Once your business is verified, you’ll have the option to take a virtual tour of Google My Business. This will explain how to effectively use your dashboard and make the most of the service. We recommend that all small business owners take this tour, as it will allow you to get the most benefit from using Google My Business.
Make sure that you don’t sign in to any other Google accounts you may own during your session working on Google My Business. If you do, you’ll find that the platform automatically logs you out.
6. Create your profile
It is important to take the time to make sure that your Google My Business profile creates a professional and inviting image of your business. This could well be your customers’ first impression of what you have to offer, so it’s important to make sure you get it right. In particular, bear in mind the following tips:
- add quality pictures
Choose a profile picture that you feel best promotes and sums up your business. You can then add more images to show what your company has to offer. While customers like to see plenty of photos, only use ones that create a good impression and reflect your company values. The pictures should be good quality. If you add metadata with geo-tags, you can prove that the photos were taken in a particular location and add legitimacy to your business listing.
- add your business hours
It is important that customers can see when you’re open. Make sure that your business opening hours are accurate, or this could be frustrating for potential clients.
- write a description of your business
Make sure that your description includes the products and services that you provide, explains why customers should choose you like a product or service provider and gives a professional overall impression of your business. Also, make sure it is reflective of your brand’s vision, values and culture. For example, if you run a warm family business, this should be reflected in your writing.
Before you publish your information, make sure that you have thoroughly proofread it to make sure it is grammatically accurate, there are no spelling errors and that you’ve achieved the right tone for your business. Many small business owners lack confidence in their copywriting skills. If you’re not sure, it is a good idea to get a friend or colleague to look over your profile information before you publish it. An objective view can be very helpful to help you improve your writing and optimize the impression that you give to new customers.
7. Keep your business information up to date
It goes without saying that it is important to make sure key information such as your business location and contact details are accurate. Some information, such as your phone number or business opening hours, may change over time. It is important to log back into Google My Business and update this key information if anything changes, or you could end up losing custom.
How do I improve my Google Maps ranking?
Simply adding your business to Google Maps is not enough to drive customers towards your website. This is especially true if you have a lot of local competitors. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you rank as highly as possible in the list of search results on Google Maps when customers search for your business area in your locality.
One of the biggest factors for ranking higher on Google maps is to consider your website’s SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It performs a couple of functions. For small businesses, it helps them rank more highly in search engine results by including features that search engines like. However, it also makes the website more user-friendly for people visiting your site. So, SEO includes any strategy that meets the requirements of search engine algorithms and provides a great browsing experience for customers.
Make sure that you include your website on your Google Maps listing. It is important to make sure that your whole site is SEO optimized, but the most important page when it comes to improving your Google Maps listing is your landing page. Make sure that the page includes a minimum of 1000 words and is informative. It is a good idea to include several geo-tagged images. Also, make sure that you have included keywords relative to your business at various points throughout your content. It is important to use keywords naturally. Don’t be tempted to cram too many keywords into your content. This is known as keyword stuffing. Search engines heavily penalized keyword stuffing because it makes your content difficult to read and less valuable to users. If you’re interested in finding out more about how great SEO can help your small business, check out our resources here.
It is important to make sure that the key information on your Google Maps listing such as your name and address is the same on your website. It is also a good idea to include a Google Maps embed.
How do I get reviews on Google Maps?
Getting reviews on Google Maps is important for a couple of reasons. First of all, good reviews help you to rank more highly on a list of Google Maps results. Also, lots of good reviews make a listing more attractive to potential customers so they’ll be more likely to click on your business instead of your competitors’.
Unfortunately, asking people to review you on Google Maps is in breach of their policy of use. However, you could include the link to your Google Maps reviews in various places such as on invoices so that customers know where to leave a review if they want to write one. If you decide to bend the rules and actually to ask customers to review you, make sure that you don’t ask too many people at once. A sudden flurry of reviews in a short timeframe could flag up to Google that you are actively asking people to review you.
Who can help me improve my Google Maps listing?
There is no reason that you can’t successfully market your small business on Google Maps yourself. However, there are various ways that you can optimize your listing and website to help you rank higher. These take a lot of technical know-how and expertise. Trying to optimize your company’s SEO yourself is possible, but it is highly time-consuming and requires consistent effort. If you attempt it without sufficient knowledge, you could accidentally use techniques banned by search engines. These are known as black hat SEO techniques and could actually hurt your business.
For this reason, you may decide to hire in a specialist company to handle your business’ SEO. While this will require financial outlay on your part, this route is most likely to get you the best results in the shortest possible timeframe without damaging your online presence. Many small business owners find that hiring in SEO specialists is the most cost-effective solution in the long run as it saves time and helps to significantly increase sales. It also means that you can hand over the complicated business of SEO to an expert, freeing you up to focus on providing a great level of customer care, which is also key in building a thriving business.
When you’re choosing a small business SEO service, it is important to check out reviews and choose a reputable company. Unfortunately, there are some disingenuous companies out there who will provide a shoddy service or even use black hat SEO techniques. However, you will also find that there are a wide range of genuine, expert companies that provide very affordable services.
The bottom line
Hopefully, you now feel confident to add your business to Google Maps and start using this great web marketing tool to grow your company and attract more customers.
Small Business SEO can help you optimize your Google Maps listing and improve all aspects of your online presence to allow you to rise up to the search engine result rankings and increase revenue. Get in touch today to find out more about our cost-effective packages for small business owners like you.