by Iain Wilson
Google's local business listing system is really important if you want your business to be found on local searches and appear in the mapped listings.
But understanding and keeping track of how Google manages this is hard work. They've changed it a few times and it can be (it totally is) downright confusing and frustrating.
But it is worth taking the time to make sure you've set up you business correctly because of the benefits it can bring. So let's see if we can pick a way through this.
Back in 2014, we wrote an article about how important Google+ business pages were. They were the equivalent of Facebook business pages, with information about the business and the ability to post social conversations.
The key thing, though, was the business information. It was used by Google on local searches and in the mapped listings.
You managed your Google+ business account through your Google+ personal account.
Google+ business pages now still exist, but the business information has been automatically migrated to Google My Business and that is where it is now managed from.
You can still post content to the Google+ account, but from a search perspective you don't really need Google+ business pages any more - you need Google My Business.
To manage your Google My Business entries, follow these steps.
If you already had a Google+ business listing it will already be in the Google My Business system.
If you are adding a new location, you may be able to claim it from one that Google have already created themselves. In any case, you will need to verify the listing and this is usually done through a postcard Google will send you.
Assuming you then have a Google My Business location, you are then able to manage it from the Google My Business pages.
All except one important thing - the business description/introduction.
Nowhere in Google My Business can you change the business description. Google have sneakily hidden it away in their About Me area. To change it you need to :-
If you've managed to get your local business information containing the correct information, it can significantly help your ranking on local searches.
And, if you can get clients to write nice things about your business in legitimate Google reviews, that can also make an impact.
How do clients leave a review?
Well, that has got a little complicated too. If they can find your listing on a map, they can do it there.
But it would be nice if you could give them a web address to go to. If you go to this page, it will provide you with a way to generate a URL that you can put in client emails and invoices asking them to provide a review.
If you're confused, don't worry, most people are, including me! It is hard to follow, and Google seem to change it regularly.
But if you can take the time to pick your way through all of this and come out the other end with a good Google My Business account and a set of decent reviews you'll be a winner.comments powered by Disqus