If you think it’s important for your business to be discovered online, well, then you’re right. Now it’s up to you to make the task of finding your business online easy for potential customers. This is exactly what Google My Business does for you as it helps you get discovered by your customers, the ones who are directly searching for your business’ products and services, and even potential customers that don’t know who you are yet. Adopting the available features will help your company rise up to the top search engine results, helps you display in the local business listings, and provides several other useful features to improve your local SEO.

Google My Business is simple and effective for organizations, businesses, brands, products, and artists for managing their online presence and maintaining their up-to-date information on Google. After you have signed up for a business page and filled in the required information, it will automatically add your business’ information to Google Plus, Google Maps and Google Search. Google My Business also makes it easier for businesses to share content on Google Plus and for the customers to find the business, irrelevant of the platform or device they’re using.

Benefits of Joining Google My Business

The platform allows businesses to add features such as virtual tours, images, user reviews and comments and even respond to them. Creating a local page on Google will allow your business information to display on Google Earth and Google Search along with other Google platforms. This gives your customers the right information about your services at the right time, whether it’s your contact information or your location. In addition, you’ll get a Google Plus page to connect with your target audience and market your content. Another feature that business pages have over personal profiles is the ability to view the built in Google Plus analytics tool found on your page’s dashboard. This will give you insights into your audience demographics including age, gender, location, and more.

Customers, or anyone with a Google account, can leave you a review on your business page from one to five stars. Literally anyone can leave a review, so make sure you’re bringing you’re A-Game to work every day! It’s usually the unhappy clients who seek out review sites to voice their opinions, not the happy clients. An abundance of negative reviews can be damaging and difficult to overcome. At the same time, if your page manages to receive several high reviews, you’ll most likely notice favorable treatment in the local business listings on Google in the way of increased rankings over your competitors.

Signing Up for Google My Business

So how can you partake in all of this local business and SEO fun on Google? It’s really easy! Just sign up. The first step in signing up for Google My Business is to go here, and click “Get on Google.” Then input your business address and you’re off! If you decide to create your page by clicking “Pages” from your Google+ options menu, followed by “Get your page,” you’ll be able to select from one of the two categories of the local pages which are:

Storefront Business

In case your business is the type that serves your customers from your location, for example if you are a retail store, a hotel or a restaurant, you need to sign up for this category. This will help your customers locate your business on Google Maps.

Service Area Business

In case you are a business which serves its customers at their location and within a specific area, this service will help your customers to see the service area of your services on Google Maps. For example, services like pizza delivery, taxi services and electrical/plumbing services.

Getting Started

In the event you were already using Google Plus or Places for Business, the next time you log in you will automatically be directed to your Google My Business. However, the ones who are just getting started can simply start the page creation process as discussed above. The first thing you will come across will be a blue button which will urge you to “Get on Google” and will lead you to the world map where you will be required to search for your business.

In case you are not able to find your business on the page, you may add your business by clicking “None of these matches.” This will enable you to add your own business. Google may, at this stage, offer some listings. If none of the suggestions match your business listing, then choose “Keep my information” and move on.

Google will now create your Google Plus page along with your business account after having asked you to confirm that you are authorized to manage the business and agree to Google’s terms of service. Now you will need to verify your association with the business and will be offered a verification code either through regular mail (not email), or through a phone verification process, which is a less common option and not available for all pages. Expect to have to wait a couple weeks for Google to mail you a postcard to your business address before being able to enter the code on Google+ and complete verification.

Quick Tips

A progress bar at this stage will depict the completeness of your profile along with prompts to input your information. The more information you fill out in your profile, the better. Make sure to link up your website, add your hours of operation, add your physical address (if you’ve chosen a local page over a brand page), get it address verified, and fill out everything in the “About” tab as you can. Add contact information including phone number, email address, fax number (yes, people still fax), add your company logo as a profile picture, upload a nice high resolution cover image, and claim your custom URL. Make it look snazzy and don’t leave anything empty or blank. Google tends to favor profiles with a high level of completeness. Use that page to implement publisher markup on your website, and don’t be afraid to ask your clients and customers to jump on Google to leave you a review. Be proactive about getting positive reviews instead of waiting around for negative ones! Don’t sit back and watch your competitors take advantage of Google My Business. Take a few minutes and get yours started!

A recent study by Quick Sprout suggested that the simple addition of 100 followers to an empty business page boosted the website’s organic search results by 14.63 percent across the board! Yikes. But getting those followers isn’t easy. If you’ve got a lot of free time in the day and don’t mind putting forth a lot of effort, then you might want to take a look at our methods for getting more Google Plus followers for free. If you barely have time to create your page, then you may want to seek out an alternative for getting more real and interactive followers. Luckily, we’ve got just the thing… check it out below! You won’t be disappointed.