It was 4:45 on a Tuesday afternoon when our sales associate, Dave Scatchard, came into my office with a perplexing question about a customer website. Even though our client recently launched a new website and were actively using Facebook, their business listing was not showing up when users searched for “pizza shops” in their home town of Illinois. Every pizza shop in the area was listed except for theirs! A very frustrating situation to say the least.
Why is our pizza shop not showing up in Google?
Before I jump and and explain the situation, I feel this is a perfect example of how the Mail Shark goes above and beyond to help our direct mail advertising customers. While this particular scenario is not specifically related to direct mailings, it definitely falls into the category of marketing issues our pizza shop owners face on a regular basis. Plus they were long time customers and we are always eager to help.
So how did we help them figure out why their business was not showing up on Google searches?
We started by doing a few searches in Google. We needed to see how this particular pizza shop was visible on the Internet. They recently launched a new website so we took a look at the first. No problem here, the website is working as it should be. We also reviewed their Facebook page. Once again, nothing here that would raise a red flag. The owners were doing a great job of posting to Facebook on a regular basis and keeping their page active. So what gives? One more Google search provided us with the answer.
They needed to verify their business listing with Google.
A lot of business owners are under the impression that if they have a website (or Facebook page) on the Internet, people will automatically find them. This is far from the case. While Google is continually getting better at serving search results, we as business owners, still need to take extra steps to make sure our business is truly visible on the Internet.
The problem is not with their website, their domain, or even their Facebook page. They missed an important step in their pizza shop marketing process, which is verifying their business listing with Google.
When people search for businesses at a local level, Google serves up much different information than if you were searching for a national business. Here is an example. Do a search for a national business like “IBM Computers” and you will see a totally different set of search results than if you would search for “Chinese restaurants in (insert your hometown and state)”.
Verifying a Google business listing is one of the first steps that Internet marketers (and SEO companies) take to optimize an online business presence. If you want the local folks in your home town to find your business, verifying your Google business listing is absolutely critical to your online visibility.
This particular pizza shop owner did not know this and I bet there are others facing the same issue. The remainder of this article explains how to verify your business address with Google.
You can do this for your pizza shop, restaurant, bar, or sandwich shop in 4 easy steps.
Step 1: Create Your Google Account
The process starts by creating an account with Google. If you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google Account, but you can use any email address to create a new account. Create your Google account, check your email for the verification link, and you’re ready to move on to step 2.
Step 2: Find & Claim Your Google Business Listing
More often than not, Google already has your business address on file, all you need to do is claim the listing and make sure it has the proper information.
Now that you have verified your account with Google, you can now create (or find) your business on the Google Plus Local website. Take the time to go through this process thoroughly. Of course you want to make sure your address and phone number are correct, but also take the time to properly categorize your business and add pictures (and video) is possible.
When you’re done editing your profile, Google is going to ask for your contact information so they can send you a postcard with a unique pin number that will prove you are the real owner of the business. Enter your name and move on to step three.
Step 3: Wait for the Postcard
Once you completed entering your business information, it’s now time to sit back and wait for your Google verification postcard. You remembered to address the postcard to yourself right? Perfect.
Step 4: Enter Your Pin Number and Verify Your Business
Once you receive your card, you will need to log into Google Plus Local and enter your pin number. This is the final step to verifying your business with Google and should help local customers find your business through the web.
Congratulations! You just handled your first piece of SEO for your pizza shop. Adding your business to Google’s directory should help you become more visible on the web and more importantly, more visible to the people in your local area.