Google for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, it can sometimes feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle – especially when it comes to being found online. You’ll always be up against bigger companies with bigger budgets, and it can be a challenge to make yourself stand out. But with more than 90% of searches done on Google (including Gmail, YouTube and Android devices), it’s something you need to do if you want to be found online. So the question is, what can you do, as a small business, to break through and succeed on Google?
The Hidden Gem: Google My Business
In amongst all the tools Google gives business owners to promote themselves, there is one that can help smaller businesses much more than bigger ones – Google My Business. The reason for this is that Google My Business relies very heavily on local search to help businesses get found first by people looking nearby. This often means that smaller, local businesses will appear higher than bigger chains, purely because they have this local presence. The algorithms Google My Business uses are hypersensitive to a company’s location, so much so that the position a business or brand occupies in someone’s search results will change with even the smallest movements. A few meters in one direction, and you could end up with a completely different set of search results.
But the local factor isn’t everything. Once they have been found by a user, Google has also given businesses a suite of tools to help them better engage and market their products and services. This includes buttons to attract attention, articles to engage audiences, branded search to pull attention away from bigger brands and even video to really make a statement. This means that small businesses with a small budget can stand out from the crowd and have a much better chance of converting users into new business.
All of this activity and increased engagement also has an impact on your overall search rankings. Google keeps a close eye on your activity, particularly on its own platforms, and if it sees you getting more clicks and more engagement, with users spending time on your website when they get there, then it is likely to start pushing you up the organic rankings as well. Having a good Google My Business listing is essential for your SEO efforts, as it gives people yet another opportunity to find you online, gets you showing up in more results, and puts your little pin on the map.
The verdict? To break through on Google, small businesses need to be using Google My Business.
How Do I Get Set Up?
Convinced? Great. Let’s get you set up!
- Log into the Google account you want associated with your business. If you only have a personal Google account, we suggest making a new one specifically for your business.
- Go to google.com/business and click ‘start now’. This should be in the top right hand corner.
- Enter your business name when prompted.
- Enter your business address. Don’t forget to tick or untick the boxes about delivering goods or services and hiding your address if they are relevant.
- Choose your business category. You will be given a drop-down list of categories to choose from, so just choose the one that matches your business the best. This is easier for some than it is for others!
- Add your business phone number and website URL.
- Choose a verification option. This is the step that will make your listing live, and can be done by postcard, phone, email or instant/bulk verification. If you’re not quite ready to do this yet, click ‘try a different method’ and then ‘later’.
Once you have verified your listing it will display in search results, and you will be able to log in and tweak it. Over the last year we’ve put together a few guides to help you make the most out of your Google My Business listing, so we also recommend you give those a read to give yourself a great head start. You can find them here:
- How to optimise your Google My Business listing
- Adding a business description
- New Google My Business features you need to use
- 5 tips for better Google My Business listings
- Find out how well your Google My Business posts are performing
- Getting more out of your Google My Business listings
- Why Google Analytics matters for Google My Business
At Ad-Extra, we help businesses leverage local search through optimised Google My Business listings. From setting up your listing to managing them going forward, replying to reviews and updating your hours, we make sure that your listings are up to date and performing well. For more information or tips on creating your Google My Business listing, just get in touch with us today.