When local customers search Google looking for what they need, among the very first results that Google returns are the ones with the little map place markers (A, B, C) next to them. Those results are separate to the main generic search results, and independent of the search results for the Website of any of those businesses. These are what local customers find when they search Google for what they need.
How to get your place at the table
Depending on how big a city you live in, and how competitive your business niche is, it might be easier or harder to appear within these results. The good news is, it's free to place your listing, and there are specific things that you can do (and that others might not be doing) to rank yourself as high as possible.
If you have not done this already, then you absolutely should get started as quickly as possible. Simply go to Google My Business, and click the blue button to get started, and you will be on your way.
Setup is easy. But that's not all
If you are already using Google Apps for your business email (this is the standard email service we offer for our customers) then you will simply log in using this account. If not, then you should create a new Google account, and follow the steps as prompted.
Once you have got your account set up, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you are not only appearing as high as possible in the search results, but that your page is giving your potential customers enough information to get them interested in contacting you.
A few key steps
The first of these is to make sure that you have a nice rich set of information entered about your business. This should include services offered and some description of your business and products. Ideally, you should also add a few photos and even a video about your business if you have one.
The second thing you must do is to get as many real customer reviews on your Google my business page as possible. Under no circumstances should you write any fake reviews, or ask your friends to do so. Not only can Google somehow tell that these are not the real deal, but customers can smell fake reviews from a mile away too.
It's all about your customers
What you need to do, is ask your customers to write a review for you. The ideal time to do this is right when you have finished providing a great service, and your customers will be complimenting you. This is the time to thank them for their positive feedback, and ask them if they'd mind putting it in writing.
Of course this is easier said than done, given that once you have left the site, your customer will most likely either not get around to it, or not be quite sure how to leave a review in the place you want it to be.
A light in the darkness
Phil Rozek from www.localvisibilitysystem.com has come out with an awesome solution to this problem. For a very small amount of money, he will do you a custom made PDF feedback setup for your business, which you can print out, and leave with your customers, so that they know exactly how to leave a review on your Google My Business page.
In addition to this, his site has a lot of awesome information including tips and tricks on how to ensure you are always getting the best ranking on Google My Business. He will also help you to keep up to date on the constantly changing rules and system. This is very important, as the guys at Google change the rules more then they change their socks. So, do you sign up to his mailing list. You will not regret it.
Get started on this today. Don't delay! If you only ever do one thing online for your business, this should be it.