When people search for a product or service online, they often include their location (e.g. craft beer johannesburg). Makes sense. If you live in Johannesburg and you want to buy some craft beer, you set out to find the place closest to you that sells it. And if you own a micro-brewery and your product is available in Johannesburg, you want to show up in the results of that search. That’s what local search is all about, search query + location. So how do you get your business to show up in search results when someone searches for a business like yours and includes a location near you? You’ve got to get on the map.
Okay, so I’ve just Googled “craft beer johannesburg” and what’s the first thing that comes up? A map. That map shows restaurants and bars in the Johannesburg area that stock craft beer. The owners of those businesses have all registered their companies with Google My Business so that they show up on Google maps and in relevant, location-based searches.
One possibly tricky part of registering your business with Google is that Google has to verify the location of your business to finalize the process. They do this by sending a postcard to your business address. On the postcard is a verification code that you then have to punch into your Google My Business account to confirm that you have received the postcard at the given address thereby proving that you are indeed a legitimate business at that location. Simple, not tricky.
Where this process can get complicated is when your office is at the same address as another business. It happens. And if you use the same address as another business, you run the risk of being merged with them in Google-land. Not good. If you have this problem, add a suite number so that your address is unique. If the building you’re in doesn’t use suite numbers, give yourself one. But make sure no one else in the building has given themselves the number you want to use.
This process could also be complicated by the fact that your business is in South Africa and South Africans don’t always get their post! Kidding aside, this could actually be a problem though it’s never happened to me. Stick to it, stay in touch with Google and you will surely come right. And, by all means, don’t change locations before verifying your original location with Google! Major hassle. But, to be fair, in order for the process to be secure, some things should be a hassle.
Maps help people in your area find your business and people close to one of your distribution points find your product. So, getting your business on Google maps literally, will help put your business on the map figuratively.
Feel free to contact me if you need help navigating this process or if you want me to create a super-cool, customized, layered map for you like the one above. Click the icon in the top left corner to select the visible layers. Click again to hide those options. There are many ways a map like this could be exploited to promote a business.