Are you a business owner looking to get more customers and increase your online visibility? Getting your business on Google Maps can be a game-changer!
With over 3.5 billion searches conducted on Google every day, having a presence on Google Maps can lead potential customers right to your doorstep. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, using real-life examples. Plus, give you insights on how having a presence on Google Maps is just the first step along the way to a successful local seo campaign.
Why Google Maps matters: the power of local search
Picture this: you’re strolling through a new town, your stomach grumbles, and you’re craving some pizza. You whip out your smartphone and type in “pizza near me” on Google. A map pops up, showing you the closest place serving pizza, complete with reviews and ratings. You pick the one with the most tempting pictures which is about 10 minutes walk away from your current location, and set off.
This little scenario demonstrates the power of Google Maps and why it matters so much for your business. It’s not just a digital map; it’s a virtual gateway that connects eager customers to your doorstep. Let’s take a closer look at why Google Maps could be vital for your business:
The magic of local search
When people search for products or services, they often want them quickly. Google Maps serves as an oracle of local search queries. It knows what’s nearby and shows it to those trying to find it. If your business is on Google Maps, it’s like being at the right place at the right time.
The trust factor
Trust is absolutely crucial with any internet marketing. When your business pops up on Google Maps, it gains instant credibility. Customers feel more at ease knowing Google has vetted you and found you worthy of being listed.
Making the right first impression
Your Google Maps listing is often the first interaction potential customers have with your business. A well-optimised, engaging listing with quality images and positive reviews can leave a lasting impression and prompt them to choose you over competitors.
Reviews and feedback
Google Maps opens the door for customers to leave their thoughts about your business. Embrace this feedback, engage with your customers, and use it to improve your offerings and services.
Get your business on Google Maps – A Step By Step Guide
- Create or claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing
- Verify your business listing
- Optimise your GMB listing
- Keep your business information up to date
- Leverage Google posts
- Engage with customer messages
- Monitor and respond to reviews
- Build local relationships
- Track your performance
Step 1: Create or claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing
The first step to getting your business on Google Maps is creating or claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing. If you haven’t already done this, head over to Google My Business (GMB) and click on “Manage Now.” Follow the instructions to create your listing by providing accurate and detailed information about your business.
Example: Let’s say Emily owns a coffee shop named “The Busy Bean.” When setting up your GMB listing, she ensured all business details were included, such as the coffee shop’s name, address, phone number, website, opening hours, and included it in business categories such as “Coffee Shop” and “Cafe.”
Step 2: Verify your business listing
Google wants to ensure that only legitimate businesses appear on its platform, so the next step is to verify your business listing. Google will typically send you a verification code via mail or phone, which you’ll need to enter on your GMB dashboard.
Example: After setting up her “The Busy Bean” business listing, Emily received a postcard from Google with the verification code. She entered the code on her GMB dashboard, and her business was verified. With a couple of days her business was visible on Google Maps.
Step 3: Optimise your GMB listing
Now that your business is verified, it’s time to optimise your GMB listing to stand out from the crowd. Add eye-catching photos of your products, services, and storefront (should that be relevant). Encourage your satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, as they play a crucial role in attracting new customers and boosting your local presence on Google Maps.
Example: “The Busy Bean” uploaded high-quality images of their high quality coffee and cakes, along with pictures of their comfy and welcoming interior, making customers eager to visit.
Step 4: Keep your business information up to date
Life is constantly changing, and so is your business. Make sure to keep your GMB listing updated with any changes in your business details, such as new addresses, phone numbers, or special holiday hours. Your business could also begin to offer additional products or services, which can be covered by including your business in all relevant categories.
Example: When “The Busy Bean” expanded to a second location, Emily promptly updated the GMB listing to reflect the new address and contact information. She also started to offer a local delivery service so she added this in her service areas.
Step 5: Leverage Google posts
Google Posts is a feature of GMB that allows you to share news, promotions, and events directly on your GMB listing. It’s a great way to engage with your audience and keep them informed about what’s happening in your business.
Example: “The Busy Bean” uses Google Posts to announce weekly specials, holiday-themed treats, and even barista workshops, enticing customers to keep coming back for more.
Step 6: Engage with customer messages
Google allows customers to send messages directly to your business through the GMB listing. Be responsive and engage with these messages promptly. Answering customer enquiries can lead to increased trust and revenue.
Example: When a customer asked about cold drink options, “The Busy Bean” quickly responded with a list of their soft drinks, smoothies and iced coffees, ensuring the customer felt valued and appreciated.
Step 7: Monitor and respond to reviews
Online reviews are very powerful in influencing consumer decisions. Regularly monitor and respond to both positive and negative reviews. Express gratitude for positive feedback and address any negative feedback professionally to show that you care about your customers’ experiences.
Example: When a customer left a glowing review for “Sweet Delights” about their exceptional customer service, Emily responded with a heartfelt thank-you message, reinforcing their commitment to providing the best experience to every visitor.
Step 8: Build local relationships
Building relationships with other local businesses, influencers, and community organisations can enhance your presence on Google Maps. Collaborate on events, sponsor local initiatives, and cross-promote each other’s businesses.
Example: “The Busy Bean” partnered with a sports club for a family day to raise money for the activities the club provides, gaining exposure from their partner’s participants and strengthening their ties within the community.
Step 9: Track your performance
Google provides valuable insights and analytics on your GMB listing’s performance. Regularly review these metrics to identify what’s working and what’s not. Adjust your strategies accordingly to improve your online presence continually.
Example: Emily diligently analysed the GMB insights for “The Big Bean” and noticed that most customers found them through Google Maps. She decided to allocate a larger portion of her marketing budget to enhance their digital presence further.
Claim your spot on Google Maps
Getting your business on Google Maps isn’t just about appearing on a virtual map; it’s about putting your business on the radar of potential customers actively searching for products or services like yours. By following these steps and incorporating local SEO strategies, you can ensure that your business stands out and shines brightly on Google Maps, driving more foot traffic and online conversions.