What’s the easiest way to help more local customers find your business?

4 Minute Mission #1: Claim and update your Google Places listing and be found by more local customers

Small Business Findability2

Your first 4 Minute Mission is to become more visible to local customers. That is, people who are local, in need of your services right now, and searching for a business just like yours to give their money to.

Sounds like the perfect customer, right? Right, and that’s what makes this mission so important.

To get this done in true 4 Minute Mission style, watch the video and copy my actions. The steps are also repeated below for reference (with screenshots).

Watch the Video

Step 1

Find your Google Places listing by doing a Google search for your business name.

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Step 2

Click on your Google + link, and once you are taken to your Google Places listing, click “Manage This Page”.

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Step 3

Sign in using your Google account if you have one (if you already use an account for Gmail or Youtube for example). Or sign up if you don’t.

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Step 4

Once you’ve signed in, select “Edit My Business Information” and click Continue.

Now you can update your business details. Since we only have a couple of minutes, we’re only going to focus on the most important options.

  • Check your business name, address, and phone number are correct, and exactly match your website and any other online listings.
  • Add your email address and website address
  • Add description – briefly say what you do, who you do it for, and what makes your business different. This should be written with your customer in mind, not Google, but you should also include the main keywords for your business (business type, product types, city/suburb).
  • Add categories – enter categories that reflect the type of business you’re in. You’ll need to start typing and then select from the list of options.

Optional (leave for another time): Operating hours – Service area – Payment Options – Photos – Videos – Additional details.

Hit Submit!

Warning: The more you try to fill out, the greater the chance that you’ll delay submitting your listing. You may be tempted to think “I’ll wait until I have some better photos” or “I need to research the right keywords to use”, but you can update and improve this later. You need to click Submit today to gett the verification and updating process started. After that, updates are easy.

Step 5

Request a PIN via mail.

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I have tried the phone and text options without success. The mail option may take a couple of weeks, but it has been 100% reliable for me so far.

Note: Your new listing is probably three weeks from going live – your validation code will likely take a couple of weeks to arrive, and it might take another week for Google to fully update the listing, so our goal today is simply to get that letter in the mail ASAP.

Once you receive your postcard from Google (containing your PIN), repeat steps 1-3 above and enter the PIN where it’s required.

Extra Yard

Once you’ve claimed your listing, you can work on improving it. There are two reasons to do this: 1) to help convince customers to use your business; and 2) to give Google more reasons to rank your listing higher than others. Here are some things you can do to get better results from your listing…

  • Fill out all of the information, a more complete listing is better for all parties (you, the customer, and Google)
  • This includes adding photos and videos. Try to communicate the benefits of your service or products and show that there are real people behind your business.
  • Reviews. This report showed that 5+ reviews is likely to push your listing higher up in the rankings, so ask your customers to leave a review on Google. Besides, if you run a good business, reviews are an important signal to potential customers that they can trust you.

Best Resource

Read this report on Google Places Optimisation for some good advice about improving the ranking of your listing.

Success Stories

Let me know how you went below in the comments and after a few weeks I’d love for you to report back here with your results!

See you soon for the next mission…


P.S. Sign up for free on the right of this page to receive a fresh new Mission each week!

The existing Missions are here if you want to take a peak at what’s in store for you.

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