How to make your business stand out on Google...for free

Angela Hundal October 2019

You might know the question 'if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?'. The same idea can be applied to the digital age: ‘if you have a business, but it isn't online, does it even exist?’.

According to IPSOS research in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, 3 out of 4 online customers use a search engine to find a business, and 7 out of 10 purchased a business they found using a search engine.

With that in mind, it's essential to ask, "when people search for my business, does my phone number show up? Is the right address listed?"

If your business's online presence isn't up to scratch, the Google My Business tool allows you to easily manage how it appears on Google Search and Maps. This gives potential customers a way to find your physical stores on the ground more easily, and increases the visibility of businesses in search results.

Why having an online presence is so important 

Today, most of the world is connected online, with billions of people making local searches every month, and over 30% of all mobile searches being related to location. Every month, Google delivers hundreds of millions of calls and billions of direction requests for businesses all over the world. A business is twice as likely to be considered reputable when a listing is complete online, according to our research. 

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Google listings, specifically, appear right when people search for businesses, allowing interested people to learn more or get in touch with just one click. Listings are also where customers leave reviews and share pictures of their experience with products or services. You can complete and enhance your listing by sharing photos and posts related to your business, and seeing how many views you're getting, among other things. You can manage your listing without ever leaving Google Search, using a simple, easy-to-access business dashboard found in Search. 

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The benefits of having a complete listing on Google My Business

  • Your business will stand out. Customers compare business listings when making decisions, so you want to make it count every time someone finds you on Search and Maps. With Google listings, you can update your address, phone number, website, open hours, and help customers find your business. It's important to keep your listing current and fresh with new photos, special offers, and promotions. You can also use the tool to create a simple, free, high-quality website if you don't already have one.
  • You can engage with customers. Today, many people share stories, leave reviews, and reach out to small businesses using their phones. Google listings let you join the conversation about your business, respond to reviews, answer messages and questions, and get more calls from interested customers.
  • You can find new customers. Google listings make it easy to identify how people find your business and interact with it, with the information that Google gives you helping your business attract new customers. You can track the number of searches your business gets, how many views your posts and photos get, and monitor incoming phone calls and requests for directions. If you have an ad budget, you can use Adwords Express's easy-to-set-up ads to reach more customers, and learn how to improve performance.

How to set up your Google My Business account

  1. Sign In.Create a login and get ready to input some key information.
  2. Add your business name. It's important to choose the correct classification to identify your business properly. This helps Google share it with the ideal, interested audience. 
  3. Add your business location. This is key for consumers to find you. A link to Google Maps is particularly useful here.
  4. Category: What is your line of business?
  5. Phone number: Every month, Google drives hundreds of millions of calls to businesses. Make it easy for customers to contact you. 
  6. Website: You can create a website through Google My Business if you don't have one yet. Business listings with a website get 25–35% more clicks than listings without one. 
  7. Request verification: There are a few ways for Google Business to verify your account, including via phone, email or postcard if you're opening a Google My Business profile on a physical site.

Extras to keep in mind:

  • Add a picture to show what your business has to offer. Businesses with photos get 42% more requests for directions. 
  • Add open hours. 40% of people searching for local information are looking for business hours. It's also important to let people know if you offer delivery.
  • Engage with customers and encourage reviews. 71% of customers say that positive reviews on search engine results make them more comfortable using a business.