Did you know that 50% of local businesses are not listed accurately in Google Results or on Google Maps? Old phone numbers and old addresses abound. I remember trying to find one business for a meeting and it took me to a lake! Another time, we were taking my daughter to a trial lesson for a language class and Google Maps took us all the way across town. We later found out from the Director that that was the old address.
What do you think that does for your business when people can’t find it? Or, even worse, if they call and get a wrong number. I know how I felt. I immediately started to question the legitimacy of a business that didn’t even have its address correct online. There are even times where there is no listing on Google Maps at all and I’ve just decided not to go.
So How Do You Fix It?
Luckily, it’s very simple. The reason so many small businesses don’t have it listed correctly is that they simply don’t know they have to do it. Now, Google will sometimes automatically find a location and add it to maps accurately, but it’s often using older information found in online directories. If your business has moved a time or two, it’s likely that your location is still connected to the old address. So here’s how to update it.
Step 1) – Go to Google My Business
If you already have an account, you simply need to Sign In in the upper right. If not, click Start Now.
Step 2) Find Your Business
You can type in the name of your business. If Google pops up with an option in your area, you know it already has you listed. You just need to double check that the information is correct.
If not, enter in the business address. If you are in a complex of some kind, other businesses may pop up as well. Either way, as long as your business is not currently listed, you’ll want to click on Add My Business.
Step 3) Fill Out All the Information
Very important! Make sure that you fill out the information exactly as it will be or is listed in other places such as, for example, your website. Little things like if you write out “boulevard” or abbreviate to “blvd” are important. It doesn’t matter which version you use, only that it’s consistent across the web. Google uses this information to determine the trustworthiness of your website and you will achieve a lower rank if addresses are different.
Also very important! So much importance, right? 🙂 Notice the spot called Category. Make sure that’s filled in with the closest category relevant to your business as this is how Google will place you in the search algorithms. If you list “fast food”, but you’re a pizza restaurant, you’ll be less likely to show up in search results when someone types in something like “pizza restaurant near me”.
Step 4) Verify
There are different options to verify your business listing. If Google gives you the option to verify by phone or text, take it as it’s much faster. If not, they will send you a verification code in the mail, which takes around 5-7 days to receive.
If it’s not you, make sure you tell whoever is getting the mail to deliver that letter to you immediately. The code expires if not used in a couple days and you’ll have to go through the entire process again if you miss the window.
Step 5) Double Check Everything
Once your business is verified, you’ll have an official Google My Business account and a Google+ Page will also have been created for you. Just double check that all of your information is listed correctly. You’ll also see a little green icon that says “verified” next to it indicating that your business has been acknowledged.
You may need to wait 24 hours for the verification to go through, but you can check the next day to see that your business is showing up on the map.
You’ll also want to add images including your logo, a cover image, exterior pics, and interior pics to your listing. This is important so that your business shows up all awesome sauce when searched for on maps like below. Otherwise, it’ll just show some random picture of a building or a blank road, which doesn’t look good.
To add photos, just click on Photos at the top of your Google Business Dashboard.
As an FYI, if your business isn’t claimed, you’ll probably notice missing information when you google yourself and the question “Own this business?” will appear. You can click on that to claim your business. Just like with the method above, you’ll need to verify that you’re an owner by getting a call through the listed phone number or a letter sent to that address.
Then just click the box to verify that you’re authorized to claim it and away you go with the rest of the process above. Easy peasy.
Showing Up Like a Boss
This is all extremely important as you need all this information to display on a standard Google search as well.
Without all that information, you wouldn’t get the screen section below automatically providing searchers with the oh-so-important contact information from the search page.
This is also how local businesses can show up at the top of search results as you see when I searched for “best pizza in Indianapolis”. How cool is that? Right to the top of search results.
Now that you show up correctly in Google Search and Maps, it’s time to start thinking about your Local SEO and Content Strategy, which I’ll cover in our next post.