SCORE

Recently, SCORE had Sommer Poquette with Keepitrealsocial.com present to our group on social media and local search engine optimization trends. With more people turning to Google searches to find local businesses, I wanted to share some of what I learned to help your business be found online.

For starters, it is essential to realize that we are all Google’s customers. Google’s job is to provide relevant search results when a person types keywords or phrases into the Google search box. Google’s job is to help others find your business — but to do this, they need your help. Your business needs to provide Google with important information such as where you are located, how a customer can contact you, and a description of what you do. If your business does not provide these details, Google controls what appears in its search engine when a person is trying to locate your products or services.

How can you help Google and be discovered when someone is searching online? Claim your Google My Business profile (GMB). It is the information that shows up on the right side of the screen when you “google” a business. It’s easy and free. Just visit Google.com/business to claim your business and begin the verification process. Google will verify your business is legit by sending a postcard to your business with a PIN to submit before adding any details to your GMB profile.

After you have claimed your GMB profile and verified you’re the owner, it is time to optimize your profile and provide details to help Google share your business online when someone searches. You get to provide 750 characters to describe what you do and add categories related to your industry and services, photos, etc. All of this is available at no cost to your business.

One crucial piece Sommer shared with our group is to make sure that you do not claim your profile, verify it, optimize it, and then let it sit like a billboard. GMB features provide you with the opportunity to create posts, add photos, events, and special offers. GMB is not a social media platform but a search engine that your business can submit information to, as a way to help people find you. Using features such as posts, events, and photos weekly help your business rise to the top.

If you try to claim your company’s Google My Business listing and it says someone else already claimed it, don’t give up. You may have to do a few extra steps. If you google “How to re-claim my business listing when it’s been claimed by someone else”, it will take you to GMB Help and there is plenty of guidance on what to do.

Here is the key: if someone is looking for a service in Petoskey and they search, they do not want a business in California to appear or your business not to appear at all. GMB helps people find local businesses based on their GPS location. To be found online, your GMB profile is an essential tool.

About the Author(s)

Sharon Schappacher

Sharon Schappacher is a business mentor with SCORE’s Tip of the Mitt chapter, and currently serves as the chapter’s chairperson.

Chapter Chair and Mentor, SCORE Tip of the Mitt
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