The #1 Thing Every Small Business Owner Should Do Online (Hint: It’s Not Social Media)

Ian Chandler

WealthFit Contributor

As a business owner, you know social media is important. But surprisingly, one of the most important parts of your online presence has nothing to do with social media. This one technique is easy, free, and insanely effective, allowing you to optimize your online reach. The secret? Managing your Google My Business listing.

If the phrase “Google My Business” doesn’t ring a bell, you might think it’s a command for Siri or just searching your business on Google. But even if you don’t recognize it, you’ve seen Google My Business in action before.

Google My Business listings are those little previews that appear on the right hand side of the search results page when you look up a local business. Here’s an example:

The importance of these little listings often gets overshadowed by lumbering social media giants like Facebook. Everybody tells you to set up a Facebook . . . and a Twitter . . . and an Instagram . . . but you probably haven’t had anyone tell you to set up a Google My Business listing yet.

That’s a problem.

Social media can definitely be a huge boost for your brand but your Google business listing is one of the most crucial elements of your entire online presence. Every small business needs one. Even yours.

Why Google My Business Listings Are So Important

In 2017, 97 percent of consumers searched for local businesses online. Let that sink in for a moment. 97 percent of consumers. And we’ll wager the other 3 percent is made up of your grandma and her friends, who probably don’t know how to use Google. Local searches are huge.

And it isn’t just searches. Local searches have astounding conversion rates. 88 percent of people who search for a business online call or visit within 24 hours.

If your business is highly visible in Google’s search results, you’ll probably enjoy a nice uptick in patronage. And conveniently, you can maximize your search result visibility by managing your Google business listing. That means your business will show up more in local results, leading more people to see (and visit) your business.

Your Google My Business listing will also add your business to Google Maps and other directories like Yelp. Tons of people turn to Google Maps to find businesses. Some even skip regular old Google completely and head straight to their Maps. Unless you love giving weird verbal directions over the phone, your small business needs to be on Google Maps—and claiming a business listing will ensure your business is added to the directory.

You might not think a Google listing applies to your company if you do all of your business online. You’d be wrong. Believe it or not, you can still benefit from a Google My Business listing. You don’t even need to have a physical address to display a listing (although you do need to provide one during your registration).

The bottom line is that a listing will turbo-charge your online presence and often lead to real-world interactions. So whether your small business needs better SEO or more walk-ins (or both), these listings will help you get there.

Claim and Manage Your Listing

The first step is to claim your business listing. This is super simple. Just head to google.com/business and click the big green button that says “Manage Now.” The site will walk you through all the steps to set up your listing. You’ll be asked for all the basic info: your business name, address, category, phone number, and website domain.

Next, you’ll be asked to verify your business. This is important. Every small business must be verified if they want access to the benefits Google My Business has to offer. Some of these benefits include:

●      Lists your business on Google Search and Maps

●      Gives you access to business analytics

●      Allows you to respond to customer reviews

●      Allows you to promote your business via posts and photos

In most cases, Google will verify your business by sending a postcard to the address you provide. This is the most painstaking part of the entire painless process, as it takes 1-2 weeks to receive the postcard. You’ll enter a code found on the postcard to complete your verification and unlock all of the above benefits.

Depending on the type of business you operate, you may have different verification options. In some cases, you’ll be able to verify by phone or email. And if your business has 10 or more locations, you can take advantage of bulk verification. However, most small business owners will have to get their verification via snail mail.

Once you’ve finished setting everything up, you’ll be granted access to your Google My Business page (even if you haven’t verified yet). It will look something like this:

There’s also a handy sidebar with more options:

This is where you can add more details about your business, manage locations, respond to reviews, add co-founders, and much more. You can even create special discounts that only appear on your business listing!

You’ll need to exhibit some self-control now. Once your verification postcard has been sent out, do not edit your details until you receive it and enter the code. Google warns that this may delay the verification process further.

Once you’re verified, you’ll be able to manage your listing. Of course, you don’t have to—you can technically set it and forget it. However, it’s best to update your listing whenever a new change occurs. If you receive customer reviews, it’s also a good idea to respond to those. Customers love it when a business owner personally responds to their praises or complaints.

Really, the most important part of a Google business listing is having one. It’s a simple and free marketing technique that can do wonders for your small business. People will find your business more easily and interact with it more frequently. One small listing can make a huge difference.

Maximize Your Reach With Google My Business

In this age of social media frenzy, a humble Google business listing can look like an ad in the White Pages by comparison.

While it’s not as hyped up as social media, a Google My Business listing really is one of the best things you can do for your small business. You’ll need one to get the most out of your online presence.

Take a few moments and set up a listing. It’s free, fast, and easy. You seriously can’t go wrong.


Written By

Ian Chandler

Ian Chandler is the author of The No B.S. Guide to Freelance Writing and writes about marketing, entrepreneurship, and freelancing.

Read more about Ian




How This Entrepreneur Raised $103,737 for His Business By Crowdfunding

Struggling to raise money for your dream business? Learn how to run a fully funded crowdfunding campaign by following these steps.

How to Get (and Keep) Clients

Learn the 6 tenets of winning new clients — and discover how to nurture the clients you already have to boost your referrals.

12 Kickass Ways To Make Money From A Website

Learn 12 different ways to monetize your website and turn your traffic into profit.

The Ultimate New Hire Checklist

Learn how to get the most out of your new hire by going through this step-by-step checklist. Whether they’re full time, part time, or even a freelancer — this checklist has you covered.

How to DOUBLE Your Revenue Without Raising Prices: Horizontal & Vertical Integration

Learn how to use horizontal and vertical integration to grow revenue and dominate your industry.

Working for Free Isn’t Working for Nothing: The 4 Times It Makes Sense to Work for Free

Working for free isn’t always a bad move. Here’s when and why you should work for free to boost your business and make MORE money.

How to Fund Your Business with Government Grants

Who doesn't want cash from their favorite Uncle Sam? Here's how you can find grants and fund your business with free government money.

Bootstrap Your Startup & Kickstart Your Success

Launching a startup without investors may seem like a one-way ticket to failure—but it’s one of the best ways to kickstart your business.

live talk
Finding The Right Business To Buy

Discover the benefits of investing in businesses, and learn to how to find the right business to invest in that produces incredible returns.

live talk
How To Find Financing in a Volatile Market

Whether you are a small business owner trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic,  a large business owner trying to stand out in a crowded industry or an entrepreneur with an unwavering dream to start a business, Gerri Detweiler had insight for you in this live talk.

live talk
Why Right NOW is the Best Time to Start an Amazon Business

Did you know that two-thirds of those shopping for a product start on Amazon? What’s more: the other third starts on Google. Guess where the search results from Google go to? You guessed it: Amazon. This is according to Jason Boyce, who says that if you have an idea for a product, Amazon is the place to sell it. Jason knows how to sell on Amazon — he is a Top 200 Amazon seller. Under Jason’s guidance, his online company scaled from zero to $20 million in annual revenue. Jason also teaches how to Start Your Own Amazon Store and Advanced Amazon Seller Strategies here at WealthFit. 

High-ROI Content Marketing
The “Money Train” Method
Communicate, Sell, Win
Business Branding
Winning Clients
live talk
The 6 Billion Dollar Man: A Day In The Life

"The Man Behind the Brands", Bernt Ullmann, takes us deep into his learning experiences as a branding expert for fashion industry giants and the music industry.

Direct Response Video
Social Media 101 for Business
live talk
The Renaissance Man, Jumping Ship & Family Businesses

Learn from the man who has done it all. Adam Mendler is a modern renaissance man who went from working in corporate America to starting a successful business himself.

live talk
Reading People, The Power of Listening & Winning an Emmy

Rene Kamstra, top speaker and communication expert, teaches us how to read people and their body language, a very important skill that helps us gain leverage.

live talk
Conquering Cancer, Making Movies & Selling Businesses

This Cancerpreneur didn’t let the bad news of illness get in the way of his entrepreneurial spirit and positive mindset.

live talk
Structuring Creative Deals, “Thin Slicing” & Exiting Smart

Roland Frasier is someone who has achieved great success in his life through highly-profitable business deals, yet believes that degrees and certain career paths are overkill.