We’ve all done it … you need to look up some information on a business, or maybe where it is located, so you do a search in Google. What comes up? Usually you’ll get the list of organic search results showing the business’ website and other similar websites. But you have likely also seen business listings displayed through by Google My Business. This information is often displayed in Google Maps as well.

For existing businesses, these listings are often created automatically by Google after they crawl your website or other online directories. They’ll grab as much information as possible to create a listing, but it may not always be accurate or may be outdated.

So what can you do to make sure you have control over the information provided by Google’s My Business service?

Claiming a Google My Business listingVery simply, claim your business listing in Google My Business. That can be done one of two ways. If you do a search and find your business listed in the section of search results that show a map and options to visit your website or get directions, a little piece of text will tell you if the business listing has been claimed. Near the address and phone, you’ll see a link to Suggest an Edit. If your listing isn’t claimed, there should be an Own this Business? link next to that as well. Click on that and it will walk you through verifying that you do in fact own the business.

The second way may be a little easier, especially if you have a new business or your business isn’t showing up in the business portion of your search results. That would be by going directly to the Google My Business Page and clicking the Start Now button. You’ll be able to search and find your business, or set it up from scratch if they don’t have any information on your business. The process of verifying often involves either an automated phone call from Google providing an access code, or a postcard that is mailed to the business with an access code.

So why is going through all this so important? Well, first off it gives you control over the information about your business in Google My Business. You can make sure your business name is correct, the categories of business Google is associating you with are accurate and hours and other contact information is up to date. You will also be able to upload business photos and reply to reviews left by visitors.

Google My Business Visit StatisticsSecond off, it gives you some great analytics information on how many visitors have found your business and used that information through Google My Business. That data includes the number of views in search and maps, customer actions (clicks to website, calls, request for directions) and photo views.

Remember, making sure customers are able to find and contact you is as important as your website.

We highly recommend that if you haven’t done so already, claim your Google My Business listing and provide as much information as possible. Or if you’ve already claimed your listing, take a few minutes to make sure all that information is up to date.

Have questions or are you in need of help with claiming your business listing? Feel free to contact us today to see how we can help with this or any other marketing needs you may have.