Google is best known for providing its standard text-only search results in the style you see below:
This list contains links to various websites, and it’s up to you to click on each link until you find the information you need. However, when you search for a local business, you are usually looking for specific business information such as an address, phone number, hours, and driving directions. Google recognized this common need and met it by developing a special kind of search result called a Google Business Listing or “GBL.”
These Google Business Listings are highlighted to the right of the standard search results, and they provide the information you need without making you visit any external site:
As you can see, Google really makes these listings stand out. The only problem is that, by default, they are incomplete and only contain the information Google was able to glean from various internet sources. The best way to complete your listing is to ‘claim’ it.
Claiming your listing allows you to take control over items such as:
- Phone number
- Business Hours
- A brief description of your business, products, and services
- Photos of the inside and outside of your business
- Your logo
- You can even respond to customer reviews!
Are you ready to get your listing claimed? It’s really pretty easy...
If your business has been around for a while, Google will already have created a listing automatically. Just go to Google.com and search for your business by name. If your GBL exists, you will see it in the search results and it will include whatever bits of information Google was able to figure out about your business.
To claim it, you just need to look for a link that says, “Own this business?”:
Once you click that link, you’ll have to answer a few basic questions about your business. Finally, Google will want to verify that you own the business by mailing a postcard to the business address.
The postcard will contain a short code, which you will use to complete the verification process after you receive it.
After that happens, you are finished! The listing is yours and you can started adding photos, thanking customers for their Google reviews, and updating your business hours. Because Google Business Listings stand out so well, they are one of the most significant factors for local SEO. I strongly recommend you claim yours so that you can make the most of this free SEO opportunity!