If your business is listed in Google Maps, it will allow you to be the first in an organic search when someone types in a term that is related to what you do and what you earn from. For that reason, it is important to be in the Google Maps listing of companies and optimize this part of online marketing well.
In this article, we will explain how to sign in to Google Maps, optimize your business listing, set up Google Map Citations, and sort Google Plus to make everything make sense.
Google My Business Setup
Sign in to Google My Business. You can sign in with an existing Gmail account or open a new one. Here you need to enter the company’s data: company name, country, street and zip code, city, company phone, the category to which your company belongs, and the URL of your site. The answer to the question of how to build your website is a topic for the new article. Here, we will just mention that you do not need to an expert to make a web page nor it has to cost a fortune if you find a proper website builder.
The next step in setting up Google My Business is to confirm that you have the right to enter the company with this information in Google Maps. If you are an owner or work in a company, you are entitled to it. Finally, you will need to choose how to confirm your entry in Google Maps or Google My Business. Here you can choose to have it done by phone or by receiving an email with a verification code to your inbox.
Note that nothing will appear in the listing until you verify it. Make sure you do this as soon as possible to continue editing. When you receive an email, find the five-digit PIN, sign in to Google My Business, and go to Not Published Locations > Manage Location, click Verify Now, and enter the five-digit PIN.
Maps Listing Optimization
Keep in mind that you will not immediately find yourself in the top three places in Google search results. However, if you follow these directions closely, you will be able to hit the top in a matter of months.
Fill in All the Fields With the Information Google Is Looking For
This is important. Google will ask a series of questions that are important for the best possible optimization. If you answer 5 out of 10 questions and your competition answers 9 out of 10 it means they will be ahead of you.
The following should be completed first:
- Images: Profile, Interior, Exterior, At Work, Team, Identity
- Work hour
When it comes to images, it is best to name them after what is on them. For example, if you run a flower shop and have a bouquet of roses in your profile picture, call the picture file bouquet-of-roses.png (or .jpg, .gif… depending on the file format). If you post a picture where everyone who works in a flower shop can be seen, call the picture file team-from-flower-shop.png.
Business Listings for Google Maps
Business listings are websites that confirm what is written on your Google My Business account. Look at it this way: The more sites that verify your information, the more likely it is that your information is correct.
We recommend that you apply and fill out all the forms on the following lists:
- Google My Business (Google Maps)
- Bing Places (Bing Maps)
- Angie’s List
- Four Square
- Hot Frog
- Yellow Pages
Google Map Citations
You will not hear much talk about this. Many people are not even sure what Google Map Citations is. However, there is evidence that this is definitely a factor influencing the ranking. This is literally a link/pin/bookmark for your profile on the map and you can create it at google.com/maps.
Title, Description, and Address – that is what each created folder has. They mark bookmarks (saved pins) that you can share with anyone else, such as friends or colleagues. From the three lines in the upper right corner of the screen, select Create new map to make one.
Forget Google+ Business Account
Previously, there was another step in the process that we are talking about in this article, and that is creating a Google+ Business account where you had to log in to a Gmail account with which you created and verified your Google My Business profile. If you have had already done that, you know that you had to click on the circle with your avatar and find the name of your company in the menu that opens. Then you had to click on the company name and then on the Enable Google+ option. It happened that if your company name was not displayed immediately, you had to click on All Your Brand Accounts and find the correct profile.
Consumers have been searching for another alternative to balance the functionality, traffic, and SEO benefits since Google+ shut down in 2019. Luckily, there are several alternatives you can use. Actually, five of them stood out that are suitable for local businesses:
- Google My Business
- Facebook for Local Business (you can build an online community that loves your brand)
- LinkedIn for Local Businesses (it helps your company or personal brand in the way that you can interact with co-workers, share content such as infographic elements, and ask for introductions to potential customers…)
- Pinterest for Local Businesses (it can help you boost sales, i.e. exploit e-commerce capabilities)
- Instagram for Local Businesses (it has launched shoppable features: tagging of products in photos and Stories, testing out shoppable features on Reels and IG Live)
How to Fill in the Profile
If Google+ Business has taught us anything, then it is the importance of filling out a profile in the right way, which is extremely helpful for its alternatives we have listed above. So let’s briefly recall what Google+ Business insisted on. First of all, on filling in all the fields.
Don’t leave blank fields at all, and especially do not leave the following fields blank if you come across them:
- Profile picture (avatar)
- Background (cover) picture
- Tagline – use the maximum number of characters that the platform you have chosen allows, use keywords, and the names of your services
In the About Me Section, Add Content and Links
Where there is a Manage page or similar, describe your business in 200-500 words (if so allowed). Here you will generally be able to place links that lead to pages on your site where visitors can find the services you provide.
- Create and add collection(s)
- Write a post
- Follow and try to be followed by as many people as possible
This Is Enough For a Good Start
If you follow and implement everything we have written in this text, it will be enough to make good progress in online marketing when it comes to Google Maps and Google My Business.
You must base further work on maintaining a profile, supplementing posts and followers, and interacting with other profiles. All this does not take much time, and it is useful because you will be among the first on Google. And it is free.