Getting on Google Maps most important in marketing

The singular most important online property for a local business is its Google My Business listing.

That’s right — today being on the Google Maps, or what is now known of as Google My Business, is crucial. Maybe even more so than your website listing.

When people perform local searches on their phones for your product or service, the results Google delivers are not websites first but local Google My Business (or GMB) listings. You might recognize these as map results, where different businesses are marked geographically with bullseyes.

If you were to search “pizza place” on your phone, you would get a results page with a map of the area where you are — at that moment — with various parlors on it. You wouldn’t get a list of pizza websites until further down the page.  Google knows that for mobile device users, websites aren’t typically as useful as their map listings, which include brief descriptions, reviews and directions.

For this reason, having an optimized and impressive GMB listing is incredibly important in local business marketing.

Here are five tips for creating a great Google My Business listing. 

1 — Claim it.

The most important step to take with your GMB listing is to claim it. Chances are, Google has already found you on its own and put something up there, almost like a placeholder until you go in and claim and finish up the barebones listing. If you do not claim your business, then it will not represent you well, and will not bring customers to your doorstep. It also won’t rank highly on the map that Google provides searchers.

To claim your listing — search for your business on Google and see if a listing appears in the map results. If you find your business there, claim it. (It’s possible your listing is already claimed, in which case, you’ll need to “request access to this listing.”)

2 — Ensure all your information is consistent — everywhere.

It’s important that the information on your GMB listing is not only comprehensive but also consistent across the web. This includes your business name, address, phone number and business category.  Make sure that your information is exactly the same as on your website footer. Word for word. Google looks for a consistent NAP (name, address, phone) to consider you credible.

3 — Include a well-written description.

Your business description quickly introduces searchers to you. The first 244 characters of the 750-character description field will appear below your business name in desktop and mobile searches.

Keep in mind: Write a description that would introduce people to your business who have no prior knowledge of what you do. Use keywords that accurately describe your business, but do not “stuff” the description with redundant ones.

4 — Include high quality photos.

Add pictures to your GMB listing. Businesses that have great photos get more clicks, more calls, and more visits. Don’t skimp on the quality. Use high resolution photos, at least 750 x 750 pixels (up to 10MB).

5 — Solicit reviews.

Ask customers for reviews of your business. Google ranks listings higher when there are more reviews, good or bad. And humans consider you more trustworthy. Make a plan for how you will obtain reviews and follow through with it.

Now that you know how important Google My Business is, claim and optimize your listing. It’s the best way to make sure that local searchers can find you.

Laurie Macomber is owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing. Reach her at 970-689-3000.

The singular most important online property for a local business is its Google My Business listing.

That’s right — today being on the Google Maps, or what is now known of as Google My Business, is crucial. Maybe even more so than your website listing.

When people perform local searches on their phones for your product or service, the results Google delivers are not websites first but local Google My Business (or GMB) listings. You might recognize these as map results, where different businesses are marked geographically with bullseyes.

If you were to search “pizza place” on your phone, you would get a results page with a map of the area where you are — at that moment — with various parlors on it. You wouldn’t get a list of pizza websites until further down the page.  Google knows that for mobile device users, websites aren’t typically as useful as their map listings, which include brief descriptions, reviews and directions.

For this reason, having an optimized and impressive GMB listing is incredibly important in local business marketing.

Here are five tips for creating a great Google My Business listing. 

1 — Claim it.

The most important step to take with your GMB listing is to claim it. Chances are, Google has already found you on its own and put something up there, almost like a placeholder until you go in and claim and…