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Local SEO: A Comprehensive Tour of Google My Business

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Did you know that over 66.5 million local searches were performed via mobile devices last year? Or that consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to purchase from a business with a complete local listing?

Those are some pretty convincing numbers if you weren’t already aware of how important local SEO and local listings are.

Where To Start With Local SEO

You’ve heard all the names before: Foursquare, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, Acxiom, Localeze… There are literally thousands of sites out there so I will spare you. But how do you know which listings to start with? It is no secret that Google has and will continue to dominate search engine rankings, hence why the first listing we will take a look at is Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

You may have heard of Google Local, Google Places or Google Places for Business. So, what is the difference? There isn’t one, at least not really. With every updated version of the local system, Google typically updates the name. The latest version of the local system has done a pretty good job of merging your Google+ page with your My Business page.

Wait a minute. You mentioned two different pages; what is the difference?

This is where the water gets a little muddy. These two “pages” are actually one. Updating business information on one will update the other, but certain features are accessible through the “My Business” page that are not available on the “Google+ Page.”

 

 

Put as simply as possible, your “Google+ Page” is a social spot to post and share information, pictures and start a conversation with your customers.

Your “My Business” page is where you will want to go to update your business information and map location. This information often shows up in google search results on the right hand side of your screen, giving customers a quick overview of your business, hours and sometimes a map of your location.

How Do I Verify My Business on Google+?

Google does a pretty good job of walking you through the process, but I will give you a short run-down also. A few of these steps may be shuffled around, depending on whether or not your business exists on Google alread. Now, before we start, you will need a Gmail account. Don’t have one? Don’t worry — it is free and easy to sign up!

  1. Navigate to “Google My Business.
  2. Click the “Get On Google” button.
  3. Choose what type of business fits you best. Are you a storefront serving customers at your brick and mortar store? Do you service clients within a certain area? Are you a brand?
  4. Find your business by searching for your name or address. If your search doesn’t return any actual results, simply click the “My address is correct” and Google will verify your address in the next step.
  5. Claim the page. Once you have found your business, you can claim the page. This will automatically add it into your dashboard, but we aren’t quite finished yet!
  6. Fill in your business information. You want to make sure your customers can find accurate information, so fill out as much information as you can. (If you business already exists, you may need to send a postcard first, check out the next step.)
  7. Verify the listing. This will be done be either postcard of phone. If Google knows your address, they may allow a phone call to verify the listing. More likely than not, you will have to verify by postcard.
  8. Wait for your postcard. It typically takes less than a week to receive your Google postcard. Verify the listing with the PIN number located on the postcard. Not sure how? Log in to your Gmail account, open your profile and click on the business page. At the top of the page, click “Verify Now” and enter your PIN.

You’re all set! Make sure you keep your business information up to date and as detailed as possible. If your customers can’t find you, chances are you are missing out on some serious revenue!

Still have questions? Drop us a comment, or take a look at our local listings blog series. Stay tuned as we dive a little deeper into the world of local SEO and local listings!

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