Every business covets that top-of-the-page listing on Google search, but few know how to get listed there. Listing your business with Google’s business listings is the best way to show up on local search results. Google makes the process incredibly easy, and with this guide we’ll show you the ins and outs of getting listed correctly as a service business.
The verification process for Google’s business listings is very similar to the one used by Yelp for their listings (if you haven’t set up a Yelp page, check out our guide). You contact Google, Google calls you on the phone, you enter a verification number online, and you’re good to go.
The tricky bit is that Google, like most business directories, focuses on brick and mortar storefronts. For businesses that have service areas (and no front desks) it takes a bit of digging around to set up a service area instead of a business location. The feature is there, though, and when you use it right, it can generate a ton of new leads.
Setting Up Your Google Business Listing
Start out by heading to the Google Business page and clicking on the green ‘start now’ button. That will take you to a map view with a search bar in the upper-right corner, where you can search to see if Google has already generated a default listing for your business. If your business doesn’t show up in search — or the details are wrong — you’ll be given the option to create a new listing for your business.
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Clicking on that option will take you to the form you need to fill out for your business. Fill it out accurately, even if you don’t have a dedicated storefront. List your address, and the official phone number (and make sure you’re near that phone for the verification stage). Google may need more than one form of verification, so it’s important to be precise.
At the bottom of the form, it’s important to select ‘yes’ for ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers.’ This is the option for service businesses and contractors that work on-site. Checking yes will let you select your service area, instead of listing a storefront address. Although you gave them an address, selecting ‘yes’ will ensure that it is not listed online as a physical location but rather as a general service area.
When you’re setting up your service area, you have two options. You can list your service area in miles centered on your business office, so you’ll show up on searches by anyone within a certain number of miles from your address, or you can set specific areas by zip code and city. If your business address isn’t centered in your service area, the second option is the best. You can also list multiple service areas this way. You can display your business address in addition to your service area with either option.
When customers search for service businesses in your area, or they use a query like ‘electricians near me’ and they’re within your service area, your results should show up in the top ‘map view’ of search results. If they search for your business specifically, it will show up to the right of the search results, displaying the information and pictures you enter in the next stage. This is why listing with Google Business Listings is so critical.
Setting Up Your Google+ Page
Once you accept the terms of service and go through the verification process (if they require mail verification, or you’re otherwise busy, you can do it later), you’ll be able to fill out your full business listing on Google+. If you have any issues with verification, make sure to check out this guide from Google.
Google+ isn’t much of a social network, but it’s an integral part of Google’s business tools. It connects with Google Maps, AdWords, Insights, and YouTube. It hosts millions of customer reviews and feedback, and it’s an important part of every small business marketing plan.
Make sure to add your hours, the proper phone number, and photos. If you don’t have a sign or a storefront, include a picture or two of your service vehicles and staff. Include a link to your website if you have one (and check out this guide if you don’t have a website).
With your information filled out and verified, your business will now show up differently on Google when users search for it. As mentioned above, when customers search for your business online, the extra information that you provided will be displayed on the right side of the page along with the photos you uploaded and recent customer reviews. From the search page, customers will be able to call you, visit your website, and get directions to your business address (if you listed it).
Listing your business will help you rank competitively on local search, potentially beating other businesses that aren’t listed with Google, and it will be easier for customers to contact you. You’ll be able to track how many customers click on the link to your website and call your phone number, too, helping you make intelligent marketing choices down the road.
By taking the time to create business listings like these, you’ll make your business more accessible to modern customers. Where once people relied on the phone book to find services, they’re now turning to their phones and devices to find businesses they can trust online.