No matter what businesses I talk to, the first thing people tell me is that they want to get found on Google. As we all know, Google is the big daddy rabbit of Internet search and being invisible on Google is a death sentence to any business nowadays. Not surprisingly, Google knows this too and has done a good job of making it relatively easy to get found on Google.
I have often said that not every business needs a website but every business does need to take charge of their Google and Yelp listings before they do anything else. These are literally the foundations of search and you can be found on the Internet without a website as long as you have your Google and Yelp listings completed. So how do you get found on Google without a website?
Remember one of Google’s goals is to be the most accurate place to go to find information and they’ve developed a tool to make it relatively easy to manage your business information on their various services.
Google’s Business Listing service is a relatively new tool designed by Google to help normal people get accurate business information about their businesses. Remember that the more accurate the information on Google, the more likely you will use Google and the more advertising revenue they will make. That’s the bottom line for why they work hard to verify information about your business.
On Google’s Business Listing service you start by going to their website (business.google.com - or just Google “Google my business”) and then searching for your business. There is a chance that your business will be already listed, especially if you’ve had the business for a while or are a business that’s relatively well known in the community.
If you’re not listed at all, Google offers you the tools to list your business including all the basic information as well as hours, photos, menus, website and business category. You can also add yourself to Google Maps so that people using smart phones and such can easily find you and find exactly where your business is.
For those businesses like mine that don’t actually have a location customers can come to, Google’s thought this through as well. You can have a listing in a community and check a box on the listing that says “I delivery goods and services to my customers at their location” and/or “serve customers at a specific location.” If you deliver goods and services to your customers you can also specify the area that you cover.
Of course, being in the advertising business, there is also an opportunity to pay Google to help you get your listing out there so there is a provision to buy advertising to help with that. Honestly, this can make sense for some businesses.
Either way, having your business listed on Google is probably the most basic foundation of being in business nowadays. With a properly verified listing people can, and will, find you on Google. Considering that they have a provision to list hours, locations, specialty, website and even your telephone number it would be well worth the five minutes of time that it takes to complete this listing.
One other thing - in order to make sure the listing is legitimate Google will mail a post card to the address you’ve listed for the business. If this is your home address (you go out to customer locations) the card will go there but this helps them make sure the listing is legitimate. This process can take a few days to a few weeks so make sure everybody who gets mail for you is aware that this little post card is coming and is definitely not junk mail.