So you’ve launched a small business, and now you want to take advantage of online resources that help potential customers find your products or services. Whether your start-up has a storefront or you’re running it from your home, one of the first important steps is to make sure you have a complete, accurate and up-to-date Google business listing.
Today’s customers live in a digital world. Your online presence is how many of them find you and get more information about what you can provide.
Did you know:
- After conducting a local online search, 72% of consumers visited a store within 5 miles, according to HubSpot Marketing Statistics.
- Local online searches result in purchases 28% of the time, and after searching for a local business on a mobile device, 88% of consumers interact with that business within 24 hours, according to Joel House Search Media.
- Four in five consumers use search engines to find local information, according to Think with Google.
Showing up on Google
There are many online options and social channels where you can promote your business. A great place to start is to create a Google My Business listing, which allows your company to show up in a Google search. This tool is free, as long as you have some face-to-face interaction with customers and aren’t strictly an online-only business.
With Google My Business, you can manage how your business appears and what information shows up in Google Search and Google Maps. Information you can add and edit in your Google My Business listing includes:
- Your business name and type
- Location and hours
- Photos of your business
- Responses to customer reviews
- Tracking how people are searching for your business
Even though this tool is free — and relatively simple to set up — 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, according to the Local Search Association. But data suggests that digital marketing is worth the effort to drive local traffic. Google says that verified businesses on the search engine are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
Getting started with a Google business listing
Luckily, Google has a handy guide to help you get started in setting up a business listing. The guide walks you through the steps to create an account and claim and verify your business, to help ensure the information users see is current and accurate. Google also lets you note if you have a delivery-only business or a home-based business for which you don’t want an address publicly shown.
The tool lets you manage the information people see about your company in searches, interact with customers, and better understand and expand your online presence. A good listing helps customers find what they’re looking for — and learn more about what you offer.
To optimize your Google My Business listing, it’s recommended to upload and share photos of your business. According to Google, businesses with photos get 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos, and they get 42% more requests for driving directions to their location. Google offers some tips on sizing and adding photos to your listing, including:
- Add a logo to help customers recognize your business profile.
- Set a profile cover photo that best represents your business.
- Add photos of products or events to highlight various aspects of your business.
Keep it up to date
It’s also important to check your listing periodically to see if there are new customer questions or reviews, and to keep all information up to date. Users can suggest edits to your listing, so you’ll want to stay on top of those.
You can edit your listing at any time by logging into the Google My Business dashboard. Google also offers a mobile app, so you can manage your business profile easily from anywhere.
Local search results can help get your start-up off the ground. Setting up and optimizing your Google My Business profile is a great first step in creating your critical online presence.
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