Google My Business, Citations and NAP

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Google My Business is a free service provided by Google.

When someone searches Google, and the results include local businesses, a special box displays at the top of the search results page.

If you’ve set up a Google My Business listing, your business could display in this local section of the results listing page.

You can’t force Google to list your business in it’s results page. But you can increase your chances by following Google’s guidelines.

Google My Business is Free

If you have a local business that deals with customers face-to-face, you need a Google My Business listing.

Citations

Citations are mentions of your business in online directories. When you list your business in any online directory, use the same business name, address, phone number and contact details.

NAP

You’ll often see this abbreviation when reading about local marketing and SEO. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number.

Running a small local business is about building relationships

Make sure your business offers the best solution for your customers. Don’t manipulate them or try to push them into a sale before they’re ready. Or you could lose their business and lose any recommendations they might send your way.

Google My Business is ideal for you if you’re a small local business that deals with local customers. It’s the first thing you should set up when you market a local business. And it’s free.

Face-to-face contact

Google My Business is a listing service for businesses that have face-to-face contact with their customers. It enables you to get your most important business information online for free. Businesses that operate entirely online without direct customer contact will not benefit from GMB. For instance, if you have an online shop and customers can not visit your premises or meet you in person. GMB is not for you.

Google My business is a service provided by Google to help small local businesses get their most important information online for free.

In your Google My Business profile, you should aim for completeness and accuracy. Make sure your information is comprehensive. Give Google all the information it asks for.

A comprehensive guide to Google My Business.

Clarity trumps fancy words

Your marketing needs to deliver a clear message in plain English. Don’t use jargon or fancy words unless you have to.

Ask your customers to give you online reviews. Respond to both good and bad reviews. Make sure your customers feel listened to and appreciated.

Setting up Google My Business

Google My Business is the central hub to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps.

If you’re targeting local customers, I highly recommend you get, or claim, your Google My Business account.

Add as much information and media as you can, including…

  • a business profile photo
  • list the areas you serve
  • list your opening your hours
  • include any special attributes (e.g. “wheelchair accessible,” “free wifi”)
  • clearly state your public phone number and website URL.

Include lots of photos and tell your story in pictures. Make your photos provide a virtual visit to your business.

  • show your store front
  • who are the people I’ll deal with when I visit your business
  • what rooms will I see inside your business
  • do you sell products, show what do they look like
  • for a business that sells takeaways, meals or food, show photos of what your customers get
  • and service businesses should show their operative performing that service

A short video is optional but can help, especially if you come across as professional and approachable.

Include your opening hours and directions. Make sure customers know…

  • when you’re open
  • how to find you
  • and what your premises will look like. So they know they’ve arrived at the right place
The HubSpot Google My Business Set Up Guide.
The HubSpot Google My Business Set Up Guide.

What are citations?

Each time Google finds your business mentioned in a business listing online, that is one citation. You should list your business on many of these business listing sites.

NAP and Citations: Your most important information should be exactly the same and consistent throughout all of your listings, everywhere.

  • name
  • address
  • phone

If your name, address and phone number change, even slightly, on different online listings, that will confuse Google. And your site might get penalized because of those differences. So keep a text file of your business information and use that exact same information every time.

Further reading…

Read more useful articles like this in my blog...