Why Is Google My Business Important?
A fully claimed, verified and optimized Google My Business account is essential for local business search because it feeds Google Maps, Google 3 pack in SERPs, Google Knowledge Graph and is used in mobile search results for local search queries. The Google 3 pack in SERP’s is displayed on desktop devices for select local search queries such as SEO Near Me which might produce this result:
Without a verified and optimized Google My Business listing your business won’t show up in the 3 pack listing.
The knowledge panel is typically displayed on the right hand side of the results page next to the organic listings. Google pulls information from multiple sources including directory citations, Wikipedia and GMB account for some searches like branded search. So if you were to search for a specific business name Digital Reciprocity you could see this:
So if you want your business to show up for local search results then you will want to make sure you have claimed, verified and optimized your listing.
How To Claim Google My Business Listing?
To get started go to this page and click Start Now: https://www.google.com/business/
Once you have signed in (I am assuming you have a Google account – if not you will need to create one first) you will see a screen like the one below. Complete the form with all requested information and search for your business.
Pro Tip: On the bottom of the form they ask if you deliver goods or services to customers at their locations. There is a Yes/No radio button that defaults to No. Leave the answer No unless you really don’t have a physical business address. If you select Yes, Google will not display the address information in your map, knowledge graph or 3 pack listing. So, for example if you are a flower shop or food service that delivers goods, I suggest you leave the answer to the question No.
After searching for the business you could be presented with multiple choices including the possibility that your business has already been claimed. If that is the case there is a completely different process. You can call or email me for instructions. Assuming you find your listing or none exists then you will see a confirmation screen that requires you certify you are authorized to claim and manage the business listing.
How To Verify Google My Business?
The next step is to verify your listing. Google will mail you a postcard that typically arrives within 5 business days to the address you provided in the listing. The postcard will have a verification code that you will need to enter into your GMB account to alert Google you are indeed the owner and the listing will be verified and eligible to be displayed in the SERP’s as described above.
How To Optimize Google My Business Listing?
Once verified you will want to optimize your listing with photos of the business (and/or products). Upload your business logo, add a business description and banner image that brands your business. Treat this as you would any other important business marketing material.