By David Gould, Staff Editor
The web-dominating power of Google and its search function has been around so long we forget what commercial life would be without it. One of its many spinoffs, Google My Business—or GMB, as it’s called—is a no-charge search function (and maps function) many Proponent members make great use of. If you’re not one of them, you’ll help yourself greatly by remedying that situation. Working with a professional could be the best route—trading out lessons for this service is always a possibility—but at least get the basics covered, so that a decent percentage of would-be new students can become familiar with you. Here’s how:
- Create a Google Account and “claim” your business (if you haven’t done so already). From the standard Google Account (where you set up Gmail or use any other function) you’ll proceed to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
- This allows you to walk through a setup (or review) process, which will include entering or verifying your business name, location, phone number, website and hours. Note: Make sure that all contact info on your own business website matches what you load into the GMB template. GMB has a “wiki” feature that allows any random person to have input into your page—“Suggest an edit” is where they would click in order to do so. That’s another reason why frequent inspections of the page on your part are important.
- Having the information on that page complete and correct is very good for you, but it’s also a good thing for Google, which wants the whole web-surfing world to be able to find everything they need when they go shopping locally for goods and services. For that reason, they are conscientious about verifying what you input—to the point that Google will even use postcards sent via snail-mail to confirm your info. Now, if you see buttons on your GMB edit page allowing you to “Verify by phone” or “Verify by email” most likely you’ll want to go that route. If all you can click on is “Verify by mail,” you’ll be lined up to receive that postcard. Once it arrives, log back into Google My Business, and select “Verify now.” In the Code field, enter the five-digit verification code on your postcard. Click “Submit.”
The mere fact that you own a computer means you’ve had plenty of exposure to Google My Business content. That being said, you may not be in the habit of looking critically at what comes up when you’re looking to get an appliance repaired or pet groomed. It’s worth your time and effort to study how well or not-so-well another vendor uses this business tool, so that you can look more critically at your own usage of it.
Those are the basics of Google My Business, but there’s plenty more to dig into as you work to optimize your presence there. Here’s where to click if you’ve got 20 minutes and wish to see what a professional internet marketer has to say about best-in-class GMB.