The Benefit of Google Maps
Appearing in Google’s local search results can be immensely beneficial to most businesses. Especially small hyper-local businesses, who gain from the online equivalent of passing trade. Someone could be in your area, round the corner for instance, looking for exactly what you sell or provide. That person uses their smart phone to Google “…in Your Street” and if you’re set up correctly you will be at the top of their list of results. You are encouraging an easy sale and who doesn’t like an easy sale?
The question is, what’s the most efficient route to maximum opportunities? Sit back and relax while I take you there.
First, be aware that Google has changed the name of the product so often that I don’t know what to call it anymore – Local, Maps, Places, Business, Whatever. Different names, same thing. Let’s go with ‘Google Local’.
Setting up Google Local is pretty easy and quick. The only downside is the length of time it takes for Google to verify the listing.
In order to do this you will need a Google account. If you don’t have one then create one here. You’ll be using this account for other Google services which we will discuss later in the series.
1. Create A Google Account
If you follow the link above you can start to create a Google account. Click the Sign Up button at the top right of the page. The first page you’ll come across is the Personal Details page.
Fill out your details and move to the next stage.
If you’ve not got a Google account you’ll hit a page which will entice you to sign up to Google+. They use clever wording to disguise what they are doing. Ignore it for just now. We will return to it later in the series.
2. Enter Business Details
Next you’ll land on the page where you’ve to enter your business details. Google have simplified this process and it’s far easier that it used to be, simply because they want you to sign up to Google+ to develop your business profile.
3. Pick Your Business
More often than not, the next page will have other options of similar or closely located businesses. Sometimes it will have your business. This is because someone else set it up before you. If this is the case claim the business. If your business is not there then click ‘none of these match’ and move on to the next stage.
4. Verify Your Google Local Listing
We are at the end HURRRRAAAAH! It wasn’t that hard, was it? You will see a text box where you enter the recipient’s name. Do that then click. You will see a confirmation overlay showing an example of the verification postcard. This is what Google sends you and inside is your verification pin.
Now. You might be thinking ‘Awesome! That’ll be here by the end of the week and I can start earning my place in local listings.’. Wrong! The time it takes for a card to arrive varies greatly. I’ve seen it go from one week to six. Make sure you don’t miss it because you have a long wait on another card.
That’s it. Fairly straightforward, eh? The other stages of local optimisation are just as simple. Stay tuned.