70% of online searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or a place, according to Search Engine Watch.

In such competitive search engine space, where does that leave you?

Fortunately, Google puts you in control of your own information, allowing you to actively manage your online presence through Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

It’s a free, easy-to-set-up dashboard where small business owners can manage their presence on Google’s search engine. When someone searches for a business on Google, information like their phone number, address, reviews, etc., pulled from their Google My Business page will populate in the results.

All the information in the red box below came from our (High Level Marketing) Google My Business page:

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - GoogleMyBusinessMaps

This allows the physical location of your business to be found on Google Maps, letting customers track you down more easily.

If you’re a small business owner, creating a complete Google My Business profile and integrating it with your business’s Google+ page will not only improve your rankings, but it will also help you earn the trust of potential customers - it’s one of the best things you can do for your online presence!

If you don’t have your small business listed on Google My Business, put that on the top of your ‘To Do’ list.

Where Will Information From Your Google My Business Page Appear?

The information from your Google My Business page will show when someone searches for your business (or for your type of business) on Google in three different places:

Google’s Sidebar

This section is known as a knowledge panel that can appear when someone searches a business by name.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - DesktopsidebarHLM

The same information for a business is listed on mobile devices, except this time, the map result appears at the top of the screen instead of on the side when a business is searched.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - MobileCompanySearch

 

Local Results

This section of Google shows three businesses that are near that location term (i.e west bloomfield) used in the search. Your information can show in local results when someone searches keywords related to your business. As you can see below, these pizza spots have their address, description, category, reviews, and pictures all coming from their Google My Business page.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - LocalResultsWestBloomfield

Three restaurants will also appear when someone does a Google search via their phone.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - MobilePizzaSearch

Google will pull similar information from a Google My Business page for mobile searches, but instead of listing just the address, it will also show how far that business is from the searcher’s current location.

Google Maps

Google My Business information also shows when someone searches on a desktop through the Google Maps tab for your business (or your type of business).

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - PizzaMapsDesktopResults

Note: Every result displayed below for the search term “pizza west bloomfield” have “pizza” listed as their category. This is critical. If you do not claim your business and list a category on your Google My Business page that describes what you offer, Google will have a hard time knowing that your business matches the search term used, making it less likely for you to show up in the right search results.

The same applies when someone searches for “pizza west bloomfield” on the Google Maps app through their phone.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - PizzaGoogleMapsPhone

It’s clear that each restaurant has their address, description, reviews, pictures, and hours of operation listed for their business. If someone is searching for a type of business on their phone, especially in the maps tab, it’s extremely likely that they are looking to visit a store at that moment. For this reason, you want to ensure your information on your Google My Business page is accurate. This will help customers find your business -  and help you stand out from your competition!

Review and Verify Your Google My Business Page

As you can see, your Google My Business page determines how your information will show on Google’s results. Since you are in complete control of this information, you have to make sure that every detail for your business is listed accurately. Google will try to determine your location and other relevant information, but if you want to ensure the right usage for your listing, make sure to not miss any critical steps to showcase who/where you are.

If you don’t have a Google account created, you can create one for free here. If you’re having a third party like High Level Marketing manage your Google My Business page, they will validate that your information isaccurate and your business is verified and claimed.

The verification process will include receiving a postcard to the address listed with a verification code. Once received, you or your third party will need to enter your code on your Google My Business page.

Once you have verified your business, you will be able to access the reviews and insights sections of your profile.

Do I Need Different Google My Business Pages for Each of My Business Locations?

You will only need one Google My Business page for all of your locations. However, you will have to add and verify one business location at a time. You or a third party will be able to update the information for each of yourlocations, however, there will be separate reviews for each respective location. If you have more than 10 locations, you are eligible for bulk verification.

How Do I Verify My Business on Google My Business if I Have a P.O. Box?

In an effort of Google trying to prevent spam, Google will not allow you to enter a P.O. Box as your address because this is not considered a physical location. If you don’t have a storefront because you deliver your product to a customer or you provide a service at a customer’s location, you can verify your business by using your home address.

Note: Google will not make your home address public, as long as you mark that you do not receive customers at this address. If you are using a third party to manage your Google My Business page, make sure this is communicated to verify that your business’s services are not conducted at home.

How Do I Manage and Respond to Reviews?

Now that you (or a third party) have set up a Google My Business page, you need to pay close attention to your reviews.

Having your customers leave reviews is important for two reasons:

  1. Reviews are a ranking factor that Google uses to determine where you should be placed on search results.
  2. Your reviews will showcase your positive business efforts and people are way more likely to visit a business with multiple positive reviews.

According to Moz's Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. Here's a chart Moz provided to visually break down the different variables:

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business - Small Business Website Design, SEO, and Online Marketing Blog | High Level Marketing  - onlinereveiws-moz

With that being said, make sure to ask your customers to kindly leave a review whenever you provide and complete an exceptional service.

The Bottom Line

Like any marketing tool, a Google My Business page requires regular engagement and maintenance, but with Google’s regular updates and algorithm changes, you may find it difficult to keep up and grow frustrated with the results you see.

Fortunately, when you work with High Level Marketing, you can spend less time navigating through Google’s ever changing landscape and more time focusing on what you do best - operating your business.

To learn more about the ways your business can grow through search engine marketing, contact High Level Marketing today!