Oftentimes when you Google a business, you will see a box at the top right hand corner of the search results page. The box typically contains a map, business name and contact information, and sometimes reviews and photos. All very handy information to have, especially when searching on a phone.
On mobile, this box is often the top search result, and as shown above can take up the entire screen. Other results require scrolling to become visible. Plus, it lets searchers call you directly by clicking the Call button, as well as get directions to your address, and access your website.
Not having such a listing show up in Google can be a missed opportunity, especially since it’s free. Also, the same information that shows up in that box is used across Google, including on Google Maps and Google+.
Google+ Local pages
These listings are called Google+ Local pages, and are managed through “Google My Business”. Previously, these listings could be managed via “Google Places for Business” or “Google+ Pages dashboard”. If you have used either of those to manage your listing, your account will have been automatically upgraded to Google My Business.
Do you have a Google+ page?
If your business already has a Google+ page, you’re all set, since it’s the same thing as a Google+ Local page. However, this only applies if you properly set up your business on Google+. Make sure your business doesn’t have a Google+ profile (which is for personal, not business use), or a brand Google+ page (which is used by organizations, brands or artists that don’t have a physical location or storefront).
How to create a Google+ Local page
If your business doesn’t already have a Google+ page, just follow these steps to create a Google+ Local page:
1. Go to Google My Business and click on “Get on Google”.
2. You will need a Google account to sign in, such as a Gmail e-mail address (you can create an account if you don’t yet have one).
3. Click “Get your page” on the following screen.
4. Choose your business type.
5. Find and select your business on the search page, or add your business if it doesn’t yet exist.
6. You will then need to verify that you are the owner of the business you have selected. Verification is typically done through a phone call or a postcard sent to the business.
7. Once verified, you can update your profile and add photos. You can also manage your business on mobile with the free “Google My Business” app.
8. Keep in mind that not everything you fill out on your Google+ local page will necessarily show up. Google mentions that “information displayed on Google+ pages comes from a variety of different sources”, and in addition to seeing photos and reviews that customers have posted, “some of the information about your business that you share with Google when you’re creating your page might not appear there.”
In summary, the first step is to Google yourself to find out what shows up, and proceed from there. Either optimize your Goolge+ page and make sure it is accurate, or create a new Google+ Local page following the steps above. This process does not take much time, and the front and center placement in Google search results is definitely worth the effort.