Most people are unaware of this neat feature that Google provides, but have you noticed that when you search for a business, sometimes Google will show a specific business on the map at the very top of the search results?
Let’s take a concrete example. My company’s name is StasoSphere, which resides in Vancouver and besides other things that I do in this life I’m a Reiki practitioner (which is an energy-based healing modality). Now let’s search google for ‘Reiki Vancouver’, which most prospective clients would type in to find a Reiki practitioner in Vancouver.
And this is what we get:
My company shows up at the very top of search results and it includes a map indicating my location, and the information about my business.
Note: Google will show different results depending on your country, so if you aren’t using google.ca (Canada) you might get different results.
[update: since this article was written I moved to Victoria, BC, so you probably won’t find my site for Vancouver, but will need to look for Victoria Reiki instead]
If you click on my company’s listing you’d get a more detailed view:
OK, so how do you accomplish the same? It’s very simple and it’s free.
All you need to do is to add yourself to Google My Business, by going to:
(if you already have an account with google, use it, otherwise create an account for free)
Once logged in, click on “Add new listing” and fill out the details about your business, add working hours, photos, videos, payment options, industry and of course a detailed description and contact information to help your prospective clients contact you.
Tip: If you don’t want to disclose your exact address, you can use a street intersection to have the location on the map to be more or less correct. e.g.:
Broadway Ave and Commercial Dr
Once you filled out the information it might take a few days for your listing to show up in Google Search results.
Dealing with Competition
As of this writing it seems that my company is the only one that’s listed with Google Local Business Center. But what if more than one company is listed in the same industry? For example let’s look at a query: ‘Vancouver Acupuncture’:
There are quite a few companies in that industry that discovered this service and got listed in search results. As you can see that Google now shows a much more condensed view of companies.
So How do you compete for the first listing with other companies? As you can see from the snapshot, it seems to be a combination of the relevant keywords and the number and quality of reviews. Companies with words ‘Vancouver’ and ‘Acupuncture’ come up higher than those that list only one of the keywords and of course the number of high rating reviews affects the listing as well. Therefore you need to do two things:
- Smartly choose the title for your listing to match the keywords the prospective clients are likely to search for (typically that would be the name of the city your business is in and the name of the industry you are in)
- Contact your clients and ask them to submit high rating reviews of your business (they will have to go your business listing, click on ‘Write a Review’, login into their google account and submit a review).
It shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to list your company with Google My Business, so don’t procrastinate and do it now!
Apr 2016: updated the article to adjust for the yet another change in the name of this service. Originally it was called Google Local Business Center, then it was renamed to Google Places, and the most recent incarnation is called Google My Business.