Google My Business, Google’s front-page listing for business, recently updated its verification process, says Third Coast Interactive CEO Steve Wyer. Now, some companies have the option of instantly claiming their profile via email. According to Steve Wyer, this new feature offers business owners an opportunity to take control of their visibility without waiting for a postcard in the mail. Wyer recently sat down to answer questions about Google My Business.
Q: What is Google My Business?
Steve Wyer: Google My Business is Google’s business listing service. If you’ve ever searched for a company and noticed a prominent listing to the side of the search results, that is the company’s Google My Business information.
Q: How much does Google charge for this service?
Steve Wyer: It’s free, however, listing owners have the option of purchasing Google Ads services, including AdWords and AdSense.
Q: Is Google My Business different from Google Places for Business?
Steve Wyer: It’s actually an updated version of both Google Places and the Google+ dashboard. These accounts have been consolidated within Google My Business.
Q: Is there a benefit to Google My Business if I already have a website?
Steve Wyer: Look at it this way, Google My Business is essentially a snapshot of your address, hours, contact information, and reviews. A customer can contact you instantly with the click of a button straight from the listing.
Q: If it’s an automatically generated listing, how do I know my information is correct?
Steve Wyer: You can easily claim your business via U.S. Mail and telephone. Google has recently added email verification, too, which makes it easier than ever to claim your corporate identity.
Q: How does that work?
Steve Wyer: Google can send a verification link to a publically available email address associated with your business.
Q: What happens next?
Steve Wyer: Once you’ve completed the steps to claim your business, you control it.
Q: Which is the fastest?
Steve Wyer: Email or phone.
Q: Can I add a picture of my business?
Steve Wyer: You can do that, and more. Google allows for multiple photos, virtual tours, and street views.
Q: If I have info that changes each day, can I update that, too?
Steve Wyer: From your dashboard – which you can access from a desktop or mobile device – you can update information instantly.
Q: Is keeping an active Google My Business listing more convenient for my customers?
Steve Wyer: Yes – but only if you claim and maintain your listing.
Q: If I have more than one location, can I still use Google My Business?
Steve Wyer: Each location (up to 10) can have its own listing. If you have 10 or more sites, Google offers a bulk upload and edit tool.
Q: Is Google My Business only for brick and mortar businesses?
Steve Wyer: No, in fact, it can be a valuable tool for small web- or home-based merchants to ensure they are reachable across the web.
Q: Does Google let me see how my listing is being utilized by customers?
Steve Wyer: Yes, via the user dashboard. This offers you a wealth of information (and remember, it’s all free). From it, you can see how your customers are interacting with your listing. This includes driving direction requests, web visits linked from the listing, and phone calls received via Google’s mobile “click to call” option.
Q: What do you consider the greatest benefit of maintaining a Google My Business account?
Steve Wyer: This is just one way that a business can take control of their online presence. And who can put a price on that?
Steve Wyer verified his Google My Business Listing as soon as the option became available. See it by typing “Third Coast Interactive” in the Google search bar.