For any local business, getting found on the internet is one of the biggest challenges. While word of mouth may bring people to your physical store, being found in the local search can make a huge difference.
The best way to build an online presence and show up when customers are looking for a product or service related to yours is to be listed on Google Maps, also known as Google My Business (GMB). GMB optimization and management is one of the things you can outsource to a Vermont SEO agency.
GMB is Google’s owned property that allows local businesses to manage their business’ information on Google platform, including Maps.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get your Vermont business listed in Google Maps and optimize your business profile so customers can easily find you when searching for products, services or keywords related to your business. This post provides a step-by-step guide on how to set up your account and get verified by Google.
Table of contents
Google My Business or GMB is a free Google-owned online platform that allows businesses to manage how they appear in Google Maps. GMB is Google’s way of helping small businesses leverage the search engine to build local online presence and attract more customers within their local area.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need a website to list your business in Google Maps. However, having one will give you more visibility within Google’s local search results, which may significantly impact your chances of generating lots of quality leads and sales.
Step1: Head over to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in using your Google login details.
Step 2: Check if your business has already been listed
Wondering if it’s possible for a business to be listed without the owner’s consent? The answer is yes. Google may list your business if they view your business to be valuable to customers.
Click Manage and type in your business name and location. If your business appears in the list, it means your business profile may already have been created. In such a case, you’ll be asked to claim.
If your business doesn’t appear on the list, you can add your business name and then click the option to create a business profile with the name provided.
Step3: Complete your registration
After registering your name, you’ll be asked a series of questions such as your business name, your physical address, and your phone number also known as NAP. You’ll also be required to specify whether you offer a product or service to customers and the category of your business.
NOTE: When providing your details, it’s important you provide the correct name, address and phone number of your business. This is what Google will start using as your default information to identify you online, and any mistake, such as wrong spelling or inconsistent use of abbreviation.
For example, you have to decide whether you’re using “Street” or “St” and stick to the same format in all your citations across the web.
Lack of consistency can confuse Google’s algorithms and ultimately have a negative impact on your ranking.
Step4: Finish and Mange your GMB Listing
After filling out applicable details, click Finish to save your listing. Once this is done, you can have access to your GMB dashboard. From there, you can update your business details, add images, descriptions, sub categories, and more.
Step 5: Verify your Google Maps Listing
Once you finish your setup, your listing is live but not yet verified. Google will ask you to verify your account in order to properly manage your listing. This confirmation process allows Google to confirm that your business is truly located in the physical address you provided.
Google is doing everything possible to make their platform a safe place both for business owners and customers. Also, they want to ensure that customers receive results that best match their search query and not the other way round.
To verify your listing, Google will mail a postcard to the address. This Google postcard will have a verification PIN code on it which you’ll be required to add to your GMB account.
The time it takes to get your Google verification code can be impacted by many factors, such as your location and the accuracy of your address. Many businesses should receive their verification codes within 5-10 business days. However, it can also take as long as 2-3 weeks.
If you’re lucky, you may also have the option of verifying your account via text message or a phone call. If you have this option, go for it as it will save you a lot of time.
Congratulations, your business listing is now up, running and verified! So, what’s next?
Now is the right time to take a step further and optimize your listing in order to make it easier for your customers and prospects to find you in the local search results when looking for your service or product.
Once you log into your GMB dashboard, navigate to the “Info” table and make sure all applicable details such as the days of the week you open, your opening and closing time, and your website URL are filled out. You can add relevant images, such as the picture of your physical store, products, and more.
There’s also a portion to add a business description to your listing. In your description, you want to tell your customers what you do, the benefits of your products, services or combination of the two. This is the opportunity you have to impress your prospects. Therefore, make it as catchy, compelling and short as possible.
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