How to manage a Google Business listing It's free so why not?

When you want to find out something about a business or find a business near you that provides the goods or services that you need where do you go? It used to be the Yellow Pages but who uses that anymore? No, you go to Google and the decision about what business or restaurant you will choose depends on what comes onto your screen. Your customers and your potential customers are no different.

Google allows every customer-facing business to be listed. It will link to Google Maps easily placing your business on the map so customers can find it. The business hours will be displayed by the day along with the contact information and any photos of the business. A website can be added as well to immediately direct a customer to your website. Customers can also leave reviews of the business.

This is a free to any business owner and is not something that should be overlooked. The power of a good listing in Google should be obvious but just like having a good SEO ranking a good Google ranking can do wonders for your business.

There are a number of small things that any business owner can do to make their listing as accurate as possible. Using the same logo as is used on your website or social media is a good place to start. If a customer is familiar with your other sites they will know that they are in the right place. Along the same lines a picture of the business is a must. If your customers or potential customers know what the building looks like there will be peace of mind when they pull up to it in knowing that they are in the right place. It would be a good idea to use a picture of the building on a nice sunny day or your business full of happy customers.

Of course make sure that the address is accurate. The last thing that you would want is for potential customers to go to the wrong location because you put the wrong address in. They will probably make a bee-line to one of your competitors. PO Boxes and mailboxes are not considered to be valid addresses and hence will be denied. Along the same lines you can enter your business’ hours. A separate entry can be made for each day so if you open later on a Thursday or stay later on a Saturday that can be reflected. You can also select the category that your business falls into. It is better to choose as few entries as possible. You will want to be as specific about your business as possible and choosing categories that have nothing to do with your business is not allowed. There are a wide category of businesses and there are some unique entries that go with specific categories.

Now not every business is eligible for a Google Business listing. A business has to be able to have in-store contact with a customer during its business hours. Brands, organizations, artists, online businesses etc. are not eligible. You have to enter an address, and do you really want to enter your home address for everyone to see and get people coming to your house? The business also must be open, it cannot be listed before it opens its doors. Also only the business owner or an authorized representative can verify the business listing and manage it.

If you own a restaurant a menu can be uploaded or if you own a bar a list of drink items that are available can be included. Own an auto garage? You can include a list of services that are offered so potential customers know exactly what you do. So let’s say if you run a automobile service center and don’t list transmission work anyone looking through Google that has a transmission problem will know that you do not do that kind of work.

Just like with any other online service people will be able to leave comments about your business. It provides incentive to provide the best possible service all the time. The owner of the Google Business listing will be able to respond to all comments. It is a good idea to thank every person who leaves a review, not only does that let them know that you saw their comment but that you care enough to respond. Of course being friendly is always recommended, even with negative reviews. You will get them, while you can strive to provide the best service you can you will not be able to satisfy everyone. Just remember to be professional and don’t get personal when you respond to a frustrated customer. You cannot win that argument and if you respond politely and try to resolve the issue that will be reflected and potential customers reading the comments will see that.

Your Google Business listing is a power tool in your tool belt and the best part is it costs you nothing to do but can drive customers to your business. If you are not taking advantage of it or under-utilizing it take a few minutes and get your listing up to speed. You will be glad that you did!

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