How Thieves Target Business in Google’s name.
Many businesses, large and small; have never even heard of ‘Google My Business’. Some may have gotten ‘auto-calls’ from underhanded (I’m being nice!) purveyors of overpriced SEO services, with grandly exaggerated results waiting for you.
The best line they give you: “We have a page one listing reserved for you, and we can guarantee unlimited traffic for a low monthly fee.”
This is an outright lie. GOOGLE has a local business listing for you. Not them. It’s Google’s property, so “they” have nothing of the sort.
The only way they can guarantee a front page listing is if they have you run ads on Google’s Adwords platform. You can get to the front page of Google like that, but it’s going to cost you ‘per click!’
I get calls 3 times a day from “Sharon”. Sharon is a very busy woman. She calls from 3 different states each day.
My biggest problem I have with these folks is this: I’ve been in the forums and membership sites that teach these would be experts that they should charge local businesses anywhere from $400 to $1500 to just verify and “SEO” their “Google My Business” pages.
If they actually verify it AND do the proper SEO for your listing, I can see $300 to $500 dollars. But $1500 setup fee, than ongoing monthly charges to actually finish the SEO work is way over the line of outrageous.
Just to verify your business with Google, it takes these arduous tasks (and about 10 minutes) to do it.
1-Find the free listing that GOOGLE has reserved for you.
2-Click on the button that asks “Is This Your Business?”
3-Say ‘yes’. Proceed to follow Google’s simple instructions from there.
At this point, you would have to update all your business information. Make sure it’s VERY accurate, and submit that info (there will be a link to do that).
That’s pretty much it.
(You will also have a Google+ page automatically created that will link to your business page.)
Then one of two things will happen.
Google will prompt you to chose to be verified by phone or by mail. (As in ‘snail mail’).
Most businesses will be blocked from a phone verification. I assume it’s partly to do with the cost of verifiying 30+ million businesses by phone. Also, they assume you are a legitimate business and will be able to receive mail where you show your business address to be.
They wouldn’t have created the free ‘Google My Business’ page otherwise!
A US Mail verification is really simple. Once you’ve been prompted to chose verify by mail, you will see a little box pop up that asks for the code Google gave you.
That code will be mailed to you by Google. Once you get that, enter it into the box and hit enter. You now have a business verified in Google. Pretty simple really.
(The box stays there until you come back to enter the code. The business page also has a banner at the top asking you to enter your code, until you do. Then it’s gone.)
Now I’ve just given away a small piece of income that I could have easily made by just being deceptive about it. Telling you how hard it is and how you need an ‘SEO’ expert like me to save the day. Well, I don’t know about saving the day, but you certainly just saved some money if you read this article.
I Don’t Recommend It
Do I think a business owner should verify their own listing on Google? No. Here’s why.
Once you verify your business in Google, you’ve started a process of competing with everyone else who is listed in Google. Before being verified, you had to be in the top of the search results in order to be found. Now, you can compete for those top spots on a much more even playing field. Many of the top ranked business listings in Google aren’t verified! This gives you a head start.
But this is just the beginning. Now you need to ‘SEO’ your listing. This means a few things. You want to add content to your business page, you want to setup a Social Media presence. I would mainly get up a Facebook fanpage and a Linked In account. A YouTube account if you have videos related to your business. (You should!)
Next, and just as important, it getting “citations”. You really need to get these and get them done correctly. Citations are pages setup at all the business listing aggregates online. YellowPages.com, Yext, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. There are a few other national firms that are also very important and relied on heavily by the search engines for this information.
So, if you want to be found in local searches for your business field, you have to verified in Google and you really need to have a mobile-friendly website. This is another Google criteria that recently went into effect on April 21, 2015.
Getting verified in Google is an important step in being found in the search engines, but your business also needs to do the proper SEO at the same time. This will have a tremendous effect on your business’s listing in the search engines. Remember though, this won’t happen overnight. It generally takes up to 3 months to see significant results, but not always.
And this is where I tell you the ‘rest of the story’ about ‘Sharon’ and why calling me is ridiculous.
I haven’t had the heart to tell them, but I did just what I said above to SEO my own business, and within one month I had taken over the top spot in the Google Maps section. This is for building mobile websites locally. I also now have listing on the front page of Yahoo and Bing, as well as citation site listings showing up on page 1 and 2.
Website building keywords are very competitive in Google. A local contractor or doctor should fare much better in less that 3 months.
Read more about getting verified in Google here, and call me if you would like to discuss having your business verified without getting robbed.
You can check to see if your business’s website is mobile friendly here.
If you need a reasonably priced website that’s designed to bring in leads, click here for more information about that.