Your google business page
Awhile ago it was called Google My Business. In 2014, it was called Google+ Local. In 2011, it was simply Google Places. And, in 2005, it was Google Local Business Center. Nowadays, it is Google Business Profile. The transition was relatively unnoticed at first. But, as some aspects of GMB fade to a newer technology and features, it is something worth keeping an eye on.
When starting out on the web, finding ways for people to find your website is a priority. Your Google Business Profile is important and one of those things that gives you exposure. It should be one of the most important things on your To-Do-List.
"Your Business Profile is a free tool that allows you to take charge of the way your business appears on Google Search and Maps. With your Business Profile, you can connect with customers, post updates, list your products and services, accept online orders, and more." – Google
Google's explanation of the service (above) and my own experiences have not always coincided. I tend to feel their explanation is somewhat simplistic and lacks some details. I am not knocking it. Just saying there is more to it.
Google Business Profile is free. Once you start to grow up on the web, there may be some fees attached to additional Google services. But, when starting out – stick with the basics. Take what is free. Run with it. Avoid the Google sales pitch until you are ready to make the jump.
The most challenging part of creating your Google Business Profile may be choosing your business category/categories.
Start with one category. Don't get too crazy until you have an idea on where you want to go. Google has ±4,000 categories to choose from. It may seem that you should be able to easily find your business type on a list that large, but sometimes it isn't as easy and convenient as you may have initially thought. Sometimes choosing a particular category that appears to be right, can have some unexpected results. You can download/review a current list by clicking/tapping: Google Business Categories. The PDF is more easily read on a tablet or desktop. It is searchable.
Normally I work with clients in establishing their Google Business Profile. Sometimes, clients do it on their own. Or, I simply do it on the fly and we go back and do touch-up work later. I always recommend waiting until certain things are in place on your website (and social media) before submitting your Profile. If you want more information about that, simply ask. I do not recommend claiming your profile until your have the basics covered.
The good news is Google has become more practical in verifying your Business Profile than they were in the past. This is especially true if you have a website up-and-running. It is even more true if you have Google Analytics installed on that website. Call it web-lore. I tend to believe that sort of association is a plus.
But, even with that – there are times when setting your listing can be a chore or confusing. In the past few months, I completed a Profile for one business that was accepted, verified and posted in less than three days. A month after that, I had to assist on another Profile for nearly a month. It was continually being "suspended by Google" the day before it was supposed to post. After doing the homework, research and paperwork, things finally worked out. I mention it only because it does happen. In the latter case, it was a new client that forgot to mention that he had been trying to work with a company that offered to set up and manage the account for him. This never came up in our prior discussions. Ugh! Without going into the details, let's just say that spending any money on your Google Business Profile tends to be a mistake. It is a free service.
Once your profile is up and running, click/tap: marketingkit.withgoogle.com.
Keep that link in mind for when you want to start exploring the possibilities. Again, this may be something to talk about before jumping in.
To complete your profile, we will need to submit some fairly basic information.
Name of Business
Description of Business
Business Service Area
(If a service oriented business, there are additional options)
It is always better to have that information ready ahead of time. Although it seems simple enough, there are potentially many twists and turns that can occur when submitting your Google Business Profile. Let's just call them "consequences for your decisions." A properly completed Profile is a valuable asset. If your Profile has kinks in it, you/I will be spending some time trying to make things right. Setting up your Google Business Profile is easy. But, it should not be done casually.
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