Google My Business has replaced Google+ and I for one am glad!

Google My Business (verb tense).

Go ahead.

Do it.

If you search Hannah/Gold Communications on Google, the result you’ll see is my Google My Business (GMB) profile page. And it’s free. And no one knows about it! Or at least, not too many of the clients and webinar friends I have.

Most of the time, when I mention “google” anything, my clients shudder. Google Ads (shudder), Google Search (shudder), Google Analytics (shudder), but of the giant Google family, Google My Business should be your first go-to! And it’s free! That’s right. You can get jump right in with the Google search results pack for free.

The GMB page is, as I describe it to clients, the Facebook of Google – and it’s free! If you have a business, you can get a GMB page and use it for all kinds of things.

Let’s break it down like this:

  1. If someone searches “Carryout food near me” and you DON’T have a GMB page, you’re probably NOT going to show up in those search results. Ever. You have to play the game. And you won’t have a Google Ad to depend on either. If you have “carryout food near me” on your website, you MIGHT show up. Otherwise, you’ll be on page 12 of the search results.
  2. If someone searches “Carryout food near me” and you DO have a GMB page, it’s quite likely your listing will be shown to the searcher. You may not be at the top (it takes an Ad to get there) but if your GMB is full of good info, photos, contact info, website links, and history, you’ll hit the mark and be found more frequently.

As a point of reference, a restaurant client of mine was being found ~4,000 in a month via google searches – until we built them a GMB page. NOW, they are getting between 25-26k results per month and those numbers are all trackable and actionable. We know who’s clicking where and doing what; thanks to GMB.

 A counselor and I built her GMB page, ran a $10 a day ad for 14 days, and she gained 3 new clients. Without the GMB, she wouldn’t have Ads and she wouldn’t have 3 new clients.

It’s that straightforward. Now, of course google won’t SAY that’s how it works, but you have to conclude: presence on google channel = better google search results.

So how do you get started if you don’t already have one?

Search your business on google! What pops up? If it shows up looking like this: You’re all set. Go in and fill in all the blanks and upload your photos and logos. If you don’t find a listing, or you find a listing with a blue sentence that reads “Own this business?” click on that. If enough people have tried to find your business, and you did NOT have a GMB page, google will have created one for you and you will want to Claim it. If it’s already claimed you will see a partial email address of the owner.

Once you find and ask to Claim your business, you’ll be allowed to enter your business information and services, but you won’t be able to post until you receive a verification letter from google. To verify the page, supply your address and phone (exactly as it reads on your DBA or LLC, etc.). You will get instructions on when your verification postcard will be delivered. WATCH FOR IT – it looks like google junk mail, but will contain a code which you will enter into your GMB page to complete the verification. Now, you can put in more photos, make your first post, and fill in all the blanks.

GMB is like Facebook in that you can post, check analytics, add business info and photos, but – and this is important but – unlike Facebook you don’t have to post every day to get engagement! Nope, in fact, google will send you an email every 6 days or so to remind you to post again. These posts have much more longevity that FB or Twitter and can contain a specific call to action (call now, order online, learn more, buy now). When you add an Update (post) you can attach an image, links, and even cut and paste in emojis (haven’t learned how to add them in GMB yet).

Note: If you’re a brick and mortar business, you’ll be able to add your address, phone, email, services, and links to menus, order online, and your homepage. If you are a home-based or mobile business, you can verify your address then make it hidden from your profile – but you have to verify it first.

I can’t emphasize this enough – your name, address, phone (NAP) MUST be identical and written identically across every single channel you use to make google happy. So 1234 Road Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49048 is NOT the same (in Google’s eyes) as 1234 Road St. Kalamazoo, MICH., 49048…Yes, it’s that picky! Check your DBA or LLC and use that information exactly as it is presented.

Finally, if you don’t have a GMB account, you won’t get to run Google Ads! And where’s the first place YOU look for reviews about a business you’re considering visiting or making a purchase from? Google, right?

Bottom line: A GMB page is a free, valuable, and powerful tool you can add to your marketing arsenal in a matter of minutes, but which will carry your brand farther and wider than many other similar free tools. If you don’t claim yours, google will continue to use it and may even present incorrect information – if you aren’t updating it! It doesn’t cost anything, it’s not a daily drain on your time, and probably most important, it will greatly increase your chances of being found when someone types in a search like “Marketing Consultant near me.” I’m at the top of this list

Oh, and by the way, Google+ has been dead and buried for a few years – be sure to take that icon off your website and update it with your new GMB link!

PS: Just for fun, I clicked on all the search result listing BELOW mine and not a single one of those “Marketing” firms has claimed its GMB page. You decide!