Any business with a website has one because they’d like people to find them! (Right? Right??) So what do your potential customers see when they search for your business listing? Is it something like this?
Or, is it something more like this? We’ve blurred the names to protect the innocent!
Go ahead and Google your own business to see what shows up. Is it a little bit of column A or a little bit more like column B? If it’s A, congratulations and good job! If it’s B, let’s have a little chat.
What is YOUR Business Listing?
Sometimes it can seem that you’ve done everything possible to get yourself visible on the web. Putting up your website is a monstrous task, probably involving way more writing than you expected. Now you just want to kick back, or at least just get back to…your BUSINESS. But, guess what? There’s still a little more to do. I promise it’s just a little.
Believe it or not, Google and Bing WANT you to succeed and even provide some great tools on getting you there. You, and your business, actually have your very own listing that you can CLAIM online. That means that, sure, your business exists but now you need to VERIFY that it exists for real, in reality, for the internet. Imagine if someone could just say they had a business, enter a random address (like an ex-girlfriend’s), and started sending people there. That would not be too cool.
So, Google has created a process where you claim it and they mail you a card with a special code to actually confirm it’s you. If you’re wondering if you really need it, I’ll let Google explain:
Google My Business complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and local visibility with a listing on Google. The business information you provide can appear on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.
Why Do You Need This?
Have you ever been in the car, on your way to a restaurant or a new store, and needed some quick info on the business without going to their website? This is how a business listing helps. It provides the basics: contact, website, address, hours, etc. To put it simply: it makes it easier for people. As a person, you understand how simple things are often easier to understand than complex, circuitous things.
First Steps to Your Business Listing
Literally: Google My Business
Google makes this easy for us by naming the very thing you need: Google My Business. Bing makes it a little more mysterious by calling theirs Bing Places but hey, they have a lot of competition so let’s not blame them. I’m just going to focus on the Google version but once you go through that, you can easily guide yourself through Bing Places.
- First thing, go to Google My Business. You will need a Google account to do this.
- Click on “Manage Now” and begin filling out information about your business. Google really does the heavy lifting here by stepping you through the process.
- Enter your name, address, categories, etc.
- Select “Finish,” Google will mail you a verification postcard.
- After receiving that postcard, you enter the code where they indicate you should, and congrats! You are now verified.
Search and Refine
Now you can try Googling (or Bing-ing) your business again to see what comes up. What I love about this part is how easy Google makes it for you to review and edit what is seen. Here, you can tweak and refine, almost infinitely!
Ready for More?
There can always be more! Now that your business listing is looking good, maybe it’s time to get some of your content optimized or to try an AdWords campaign to drive relevant customers to your site. Maybe you could even use an entire 6-month or 12-month plan on ALL the little ways your online presence can be altered and tweaked to bring more of the clients and customers you WANT to work with to your site. Fortunately, we can do just that!