Google My Business
Google My Business
With the demise of Google+ (huzzah!) and with 2019 being the year of the customer review (we kind of made that up, but read on), making sure that you have claimed your Google My Business listing, updated it, and are now keeping an eye on, it is more important that it’s ever been.
A confession here to start off the new year, we being the professionals that we are, managed to have our Google My Business listing suspended by the Google gods! Shock, horror and a lot of swearing later, and we did manage to get reinstated and found out why we all of a sudden had broken the rules. The lesson of this tale… we know what not to do now!
So every business regardless of how large or how small they are can have a Google My Business listing. If you are a brand new business you’ll need to start from scratch, if you’ve been around for a while but don’t know if you have claimed your listing, search for your business name on Google. In the results on the right hand side details of your business should appear, there will be photos, opening times, a link to your website. At the very bottom of the listing if you see ‘is this your business’ then you must grab it quickly before anyone else does. If you know you’ve claimed your listing but haven’t looked at it for a long time, log into your Google account and from the grid of small squares top right of your screen, click the blue My Business house. If your email address is registered with your Google My Business account then you’ll be in. There is also an app available for Apple or Android and it’s worth downloading it for ease.
If you struggle with any of the above, remember you can give us a shout and we can help you claim your listing or try and find a way back into it if you’ve forgotten which email address you used. We’ve also come across the situation where an ex employee has claimed the listing, whilst not easy to claim back, as long as you can prove you are the business owner or working on behalf of the business, it is possible to get your listing back.
So, you have access to your listing. Now all you need to do is make sure everything is up to date! The mistake we made, and we urge others not to do so, is if you are a service business and you can work with anyone in the UK or the world like we can, don’t tell Google that’s what you can do. They want you to have a service area and operate within a radius of 99km. Don’t ask me why, but you could effectively put every single town, village and city into the service area list, Google would allow that, but put in Scotland, UK like we did and that’s a big no no!
Photos, photos and photos. Take loads, add loads, encourage your customers to add photos and tag you in them. As I mentioned above 2019 is the year of the review. Well actually it’s Google ramping up getting us, the general public, to make recommendations to each other, rather than relying solely on SEO or what the business owner is telling us. By asking customers to put photos of your business onto Google, better still to review you on Google, you should be getting honest feedback that you can respond to. And respond you must, to EVERY SINGLE REVIEW. I don’t mean respond to the person that has complained, I mean say thank you to the ones that think you are amazing, respond to the niggles that people have, ask questions back if someone has slated your business but not given a good reason why. Keep the communication flowing.
For all businesses who are NOT in the hospitality sector, there is also the option to Create a Post, this can be just a chatty status update, an event, an offer or a product shout out. Remember to use photos regardless of what you post and try and do this regularly. This shows Google that you are active, you are keeping things up to date, and you are available to answer questions from people. For restaurants and hotels, you can post your menu via your Google My Business, this kind of makes up for not being able to create a post. For the accommodation providers among you, sorry but no post creation available but who knows Google could change their mind on this tomorrow!
So, to summarise. DO claim your listing, update your listing, respond to reviews, add photos. DON’T ignore it and hope it goes away – it won’t. If in doubt, or stuck, or in what we call a Google hole, call us. We can help!