Google My Business: 3 Mistakes that Local Businesses Make Way Too Often

Google My Business (1)

Whether they are searching for restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, dentists, plumbers, specific products or other services, when people search in Google for products or services in their local area, they want to find them easily.

To meet this need, Google offers a free service which allows businesses to appear in local search results, on Google Maps and in Google+. This service is called Google My Business. You might be familiar with previous names; Google Places or Google+ Local.

Google wants businesses to set up and verify their Google My Business page and then tap into the marketing opportunities created by Google+. And you don’t even need to have a website! But unfortunately, too many businesses are still wasting this opportunity, whether that’s because they aren’t aware of it, they don’t have time to act or they don’t know what to do.

If you’re a business owner, the aim of this article is to help you put your business on the map with a Google My Business page that creates a professional impression.

Start by searching in Google (or in the maps tab of Google) for your business name + suburb/city to see if your business is already listed on the map and in the local search results. Once you’ve done that, generally you’ll fit into one of the three scenarios below.

1. Your Business is there but you haven’t claimed and verified it

It’s quite common to find that your business has a map listing, but you haven’t verified it, or created the corresponding Google+ page.

As an example, here’s a screen shot of how my business appears when I search for “Click-Winning Content Fitzroy”.

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 4.25.29 pm

The information on the right hand side comes from my Google My Business page.

If you can see information about your business in the right hand column, but you don’t believe you’ve claimed the listing, look at the bottom of the information in the right hand column. If you see “Are you the business owner?” like in the screen shot below, click on it and follow the steps to create a Google+ page and verify it (as long as you are the business owner or an authorised person!)

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 4.27.21 pm

Hopefully you’ll get the option to verify the listing via phone, in which case Google will call the phone number in the listing and provide a PIN number that you can enter. The other option is to request a postcard with the PIN number.

Once received, enter the PIN Number and you’ll have control of your listing and be able to update it as recommended below.

2. Your Business isn’t there

If a listing doesn’t appear on the right hand side of the search results when you search for {business name + suburb} or when you search for it in the “maps” section, then it’s likely that you don’t have a listing so you’ll need to create one.

If you’re not there then people can’t find you when they search to find your location on a map. And if you don’t have a website, they may not be able to find your business at all!

Go to, click “get on Google” and set up an account. Keep in mind that it might take time for the page to be verified, particularly if you need to use the postcard verification option, and then it might take time for the listing to show up in Google search.

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 4.33.34 pm

3. Your Business is there, you’ve verified it but you haven’t updated your page

I see this scenario way way way way way too often too!

Too many businesses appear in the local results, but they are missing a huge marketing opportunity because they haven’t updated their Google+ page. Once you’ve verified your page, log in and make it look professional!

For example you’ll see businesses in the local search results that have a link to “Google+ page” underneath their business information eg

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 4.42.00 pm
Click on the link and often you’ll see a page that looks similar to the screen shot below (I’ve deleted the business name to protect the innocent!). You can tell that the business has been verified because there is a tick next to the “blue parcel image”. But they are missing an opportunity to create a great impression and market their business because they haven’t updated the Profile Image, the Cover Photo and probably not their About page either. It’s particularly important to check what Category your listing is included in, to make sure it’s the best option.

Read this article for tips on creating a Google+ profile/page that makes a great first impression.

Google+ unupdated listing

Need help? Contact the Google My Business Help Centre

In all honestly there are a lot of other scenarios involved with setting up, claiming and updating your Google My Business listing. Sometimes I feel like it’s different for each and every client that I help!

A common situation is that the listing has been verified but you don’t have the login details. If that’s the case or another issue, contact the Google My Business Help Centre via  They have successfully helped my clients a number of times so hopefully they’ll be able to help you too.

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Ready to experience the power of Google+ for marketing your business?

Once you have a Google My Business page set up, you’ve verified it and made the page look awesome, the next step is tapping into the social side of Google+ to connect with clients and prospects and promote your products and services.

Get access to the “Get into Google+ Short Snappy Training Video Series” and build your knowledge the easy way. In a few minutes a day.

Find out more and “Get into Google+” here