If you’re a local business and your company doesn’t have a business listing on Google, you’re missing out. When someone searches Google for your business or service and you aren’t showing up, your competitors are.
Google My Business is your business listing on the Google search engine. I call it “GMB” for short. This listing is the lifeblood of any online marketing campaign for local businesses, including farms. Even if you don’t have a physical place for people to visit other than the farmer’s market. GMB is also CRUCIAL for reputation management and visibility online.
I have found many farmers understand that SEO will help get their websites to the top of the search results. What I always recommend for them is GMB, which is even better and easier than SEO. It’s free, it’s simple and works much quicker than traditional SEO tactics.
What is Google My Business?
The top three listings in a local search will bring up what’s called a Map-Pack. It appears above the fold (the area you see before you begin to scroll on the page). The top 3 results are the true #1 results for Google searches these days since they come before the actual search results. If you are local it’s easy to get there. Most local buyers will focus on just those listings, so let’s get your local listing set up so you appear at the top.
Step One: Do a Google search
Do a Google search of your business to ensure a business page is not already created. If it is you will want to claim the listing. You will know if your Google My Business listing exists if you see “Own this business?” That means it’s unclaimed. Let’s claim it!
Step Two: Claim or Create Your Google My Business Listing
To access your Google My Business account (visit: https://business.google.com or type “business.google.com” in the search bar of your web browser. (If step 1 did not bring up a listing).
Verify it – via a call or postcard. Sometimes Google will give you the choice to call or send a postcard. Either way, you will get a code from Google and enter it into your Google My Business account to confirm ownership. Google walks you through this process.
In the rare case that the listing is already claimed, you should ask for a transfer from the current owner of the listing. You can formally request a transfer from Google if you’re unable to get the person who has claimed the profile to give it back to you, usually by waiting a certain number of days, then Google will release it to you. Again, Google walks you through this process easily.
If you set something up some time ago and your address or contact information is incorrect or you cannot verify the listing with the information on file then use this link: https://support.google.com/business/contact/verification_code_issues and submit the information requested. An actual person will review the information.
Step Three: Business Name
Enter your business’s name. Make sure the business name you use is consistent with what you use across the internet. It should match across all online listings, websites, and social media. Mismatched naming will cause confusion for your potential customers and search engines.
Be sure your Yelp, Google My Business, social media accounts and pages, Better Business Bureau, local chamber listings, and any directory sites are all consistent.
Step Four: Category Selection
In your GMB account on the left choose “info” and under your business name, you will see Primary Category. Click on that. You can only choose one. Be specific. Start typing in your main industry category/primary service, and see what GMB populates. List other categories in the “Additional Categories” spaces below to tell Google that you do these “other things” as well.
Step Five: Service Area
Enter your service area if you don’t have a physical location. If you have a physical location enter your address. Again, consistency is essential here, make sure your address is exactly how it should be across all listings, directories, and platforms across the internet.
Step Six: Photos
Add a Cover photo and your Logo. Use images of your business location, services, products, any photos representative of your farm or market. Then add some photos from around your farm or market and continue to add 5-10 a month.
Step Seven: Posts
This is where Google is trying to integrate social media into their business listings. Posts are just like they sound – they are posts about your business like on Facebook or Instagram. Posts stay visible for 7 days on your listing. Then fall under “previous updates.”
Use these posts strategically, and don’t just use a post you used on Facebook or other social media.
Google Posts are a way to target your customers at the exact time when they are looking at your business online. So what do you think they need when they are looking for your services?
What to post? Customers viewing your listing are most likely at the top of the funnel when they find you here, the connecting stage. Connect and get them to click over to your website. Think of a call to action, a photo to pull them in and get their attention. Offer a percentage off, showcase one of your most popular products, share a recipe, whatever you think they need to click on the post for more information.
Step Eight: Bing Places for Businesses
Once you set up your GMB listing and have verified it, you can visit Bing Places for Business and import your location from GMB, and so long as your location is verified on GMB your Bing location will automatically be verified without any further action. Visit: https://www.bingplaces.com/ and follow the steps.
A note on Google Ads
If you’re running Google Ads or want to run Google Ads an optimized Google My Business listing will help you get more leads. You’ll be killing it over your competition since most businesses haven’t started to utilize Google My Business effectively yet.
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