How to Establish a Free Google Business Listing
Most LBM dealers know that search engines such as Google offer opportunities for customers to rate a business and offer reviews. Many dealers, however, aren’t aware that Google listings are a free tool to help them strengthen and spotlight their company’s market presence. With just a little effort, you can increase your company’s visibility online as more customers search Google for local businesses.
Establish a stronger presence on Google by claiming your business’s ‘Google Your Business’ listing. Help to increase the likelihood that your business is found on Google search and that you are easily accessible to potential customers via search. Learn how to respond to reviews that appear on your company’s listing.
From a search engine optimization perspective, it is important for a business to be registered on ‘Google Your Business,’ as those listings go above the normal search results, says James Giroux, CEO of Composite Digital, a digital marketing firm specializing in the LBM industry.
Giroux tested one company’s local business listing, Short & Paulk Supply of Tifton, Ga. When searching Google for Short & Paulk, Giroux was served a complete business listing including address, phone number, hours and map to the store’s location. Had Short & Paulk not claimed their Google Your Business listing, the search would have brought up the business as a standard listing and it would have been much easier to overlook.
“From a brand protection perspective, it’s good to own your Google listings,” Giroux said, emphasizing the importance of using these listings, which exist whether you acknowledge them or not.
A business can be added to Google Local Business at Google.com/business. You’ll just need a Google account, which can be the same account you use for Google+ or Gmail, if you don’t have an account you can create one for free prior to starting the business listing process.
Google will ask to verify your business to ensure its legitimacy. Verifications can be made via postcard—Google will send you a postcard on which you need to return with a verification code—or via phone.
Once verified, listings can be edited via desktop computer or a mobile device. Business name, address, contact information, hours of operation and an introduction statement about your business can be added to your business listing.
As your presence on Google improves, more people are able to rate and leave reviews about your business. Reviews can be managed under your business “dashboard.” Businesses then can offer a response to any negative reviews or thank positive reviewers for visiting your business.
Google offers the following tips for responding to reviews:
• Be nice and don’t get personal.
• Keep your response short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
• Thank your positive reviewers.
• Be a friend, not a salesperson—your reviewers are already customers, so there is no need to offer incentives or advertisements. Tell reviewers something new about your business or share something they might not know from their first visit.