How To Make My Business Appear On Google Search First – So you’ve decided to start your own business. Extreme. You know that the ‘internet’ plays a huge role in your success or failure and Google plays a big part of that role.
How can you leverage Google’s capabilities to support your business and increase discoverability? If possible, get ahead of all other businesses like yours in Cambridge and beyond. What is the correct way to set up a Google My Business listing?
How To Make My Business Appear On Google Search First
Google My Business is a way to tell Google everything about your business – who you are, where you are and what you’re doing. This helps customers looking for what you do in your location or area find you.
How To Create Your Google My Business Listing: The Step By Step Guide
As always, Google will change the name of Google My Business to ‘Google Business Profile’ in early 2022. People still refer to Google My Business (or GMB) instead of Google Business Profile (or GBP) as old habits die out. Don’t get confused. They are the same.
It’s easy to think of Google as a ‘man’ or this faceless machine that will destroy your business and favor ‘the Mog’. No they just fire up a search engine (sure there are search engines available in most markets) and want to help people find what they are looking for quickly and easily. When you stop doing what people want and expect, people stop using your service, just like any other business.
Business matters on Google My Business (or GMB). It’s also important to do it early because it can take time (at least a few days) to get yourself set up and showing up in all the Google searches you want.
It will take 3-4 days (including setup time) for your new Google My Business listing to appear.
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Before starting any of the following, make sure you’re not already there. Go to Google Maps and search for your business. Scroll through the map of your current location and make sure there are no pins in the office.
I have seen and still do many businesses with many Google My Business listings. This is a recipe for SEO suicide and search engine confusion. In most cases, Google doesn’t know which page, website or topic to display.
Also find out who is doing it. We’ve also seen dozens of examples of businesses that have set up GMB properties. But the details change (or you find a mistake) and you don’t know how to login and change the details. A former employee or agent/contractor has lost or no longer has their login details.
You can claim a GMB listing, but it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot longer than doing it right the first time. You can do this yourself, or better yet, use a central access account that trusted colleagues can access. So even if someone logs out (changes password!), they still have access.
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First you need to go to Google My Business. You will see a page like this:
You can still open that page and this page at the same time by setting that link to open in a new window. When you hit the big green “Start Now” button, you’ll see something like this:
Just like Gmail uses) or set up. So, if you already have a Google account (Google Analytics, YouTube, etc.) that you want to associate with your business, you’ll need those login details as well.
Hopefully this part is pretty straightforward. Enter your company name, address and contact information here. Google will help you by entering the company name and trying to match it to a listing in the company records.
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If your company is listed here, alarm bells should be ringing. Before going any further, go back to step 0 and thoroughly check if you already have an established list for your business.
It should look the same, in the same order, and in the same format every time.
If your Google My Business (GMB) listing is listed as ‘The House’ or ‘Rd’. It’s not the same, and you risk confusing search engines (or worse, customers). This is the same as sometimes referring to the town or suburb you live in (in this case ‘Optimseyville’) and other times simply saying ‘Cambridge’. We are talking consistently and the same.
If it helps, put it on a post-it note or piece of paper (or Slack or Trello or somewhere everyone can see it) and make sure everyone always marks your mailing address the same way. Yell.com, directory sites, everywhere.
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Google is better at recognizing and understanding “road” and “Rd”. It means the same, but why leave it to the machines? If you are consistent, do it.
Again, this might be obvious if you’re a baker (as shown here) or a plumber or whatever. However, there are many categories to choose from. Are you a “Marketing Agency” or a “Marketing Consultant”? “Floor Contractor” or “Floor Refinishing Service” or “Floor Sanding and Polishing Service”?
Anything that fits any or multiple of these categories is fine. However, whatever you choose here will be set as your ‘Default Category’. You can change this later, but choose carefully.
Customers and potential customers will see this information in their listings, so if you’re looking for a professional floor sanding company, you’re more likely to choose one that specializes in it. Think about where the majority of your business will come from (or where it will come from).
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You can add secondary categories later (and thus add them to other floor categories), but choosing a primary category is important.
If you’re a plumber or some type of business that goes to customers, you’ll want to check “yes” here as well.
In short, unless you want people to visit the location you’ve listed (eg, if you’re a retailer or sell items in a brick-and-mortar store), you can say “yes.”
If you select “Yes”, then you will be given the option to select your ‘Service Area’ (the range and radius of the places you want to visit, sell or work).
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If you are familiar with Google Maps, this part should be pretty straightforward. Again, to help Google, we display a pin on the map based on the address you provide. If it doesn’t fit, you can drag and drop the pin to the correct position (see image above).
You can choose whether to service or deliver within a certain distance from a range of towns or areas or settlements.
For example, if you answered “no” to the question about shipping your goods, you can set your scope of delivery/service here. You can choose a city or region (eg Cambridge or Cambridgeshire) or the distance from your primary location (eg 50 miles from my office).
If your store sells and ships products, you can also check the box to add (and display) your business location.
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Final step: Double check all the details, especially the postal address. Your verification code will be sent here, so you must have access to that address.
When you’re done with everything, the final ‘Are you sure?’ The screen will appear. Checkbox must be selected for confirmation.
The address listed here is important because Google will send a postcard to this address so we can verify the ownership of this business in the next step. The postcard must have a verification code entered on GMB, so if you list an address you don’t have access to (or don’t own)
Go back to GMB and change your mailing address to the new office. You will need to wait for the new postcard and verification code for this list change to take effect.
How To Create & Verify Your Google My Business Account
Short answer: During the setup process, in step 2 above, answer “yes” to the question that asks:
However, if you’ve already set up your list and accidentally get it wrong, you can still remove your address from the list (and prevent unwanted visitors from showing up at your door!).
In the “About” section, click the pencil/edit icon next to the address. Scroll down to the right and below the current address and map image is the “Clear Address” option. Tap on it and hit “Apply”. This removes the address from the list.
Then you’ll want to add your “Coverage Area” to the list (if it doesn’t already exist). If you don’t see your physical address, Google needs to know when to show it in local search results.
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Don’t be fooled into thinking that removing your address is a smart way to rank in a city or place far from where you live. It is not so. Google still knows where you are (gotta send a verification postcard somewhere, right?).