Google is king

Google is the most visited website in the world and Google Maps is by far the most popular navigation app, with more than 70% of smartphone users saying they used it frequently.

So getting your store listed correctly on Google is absolutely crucial if you want to be found online and should be a top priority in your digital marketing efforts.

Google My Business

Unless your shop is new, chances are it will already be listed on Google Maps and all you’ll need to do is claim it.

Get started by going to Google My Business and clicking the ‘Manage now’ button in the top right-hand corner:

Google My Business screenshot

Find yourself

Enter your business name and address in the search bar. If your store appears in the results select it and follow the steps to claim.

Find and manage your business on Google

If it’s not there, click ‘Add your business’ and you’ll be asked to provide the following, so be sure to have all the information to hand:

  • What’s the name of your business?
  • Choose the category that fits your business best
  • Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?
  • What’s the address?
  • Do you also serve customers outside this location?
  • What contact details do you want to show to customers?
    • Contact phone number
    • Website (here there is an option to create a free website if you do not have one)
  • Finish and manage this listing

Send me a postcard

At this point you’ll need to verify the business is yours by having a code sent to the address by postcard. In some cases it’s also possible to verify by phone or email later in the process.

Google Maps verification code

You can now start adding important details to your Google Maps listing which will automatically go live once your code has been verified.

All in the details

Now you can start fleshing out the details of your listing, including:

  • Business description
  • Photos of your business
  • Opening hours
  • Logo
  • Services
  • Accessibility
  • Highlights
  • Amenities
  • Payments
  • Opening date

➜ Use good quality photos to show off your products or services and let customers peek inside your store. Well-lit, straightened photos tend to be easier to read

Putting your store on the map

As soon as Google has verified your business address your listing will be live! Congratulations!

Now you can take advantage of the many benefits and tools Google Maps has to offer shop owners. By exploring the dashboard you will discover:

  • Insights tab with useful analytics into how your customers engage with your online presence and comparisons with your competition
  • Reply to Google Reviews
  • Create posts about new offers, products, events and announcements which appear in Google search results and Maps
  • Free advertising credit with Google Ads
  • Receive and reply to messages from customers
  • Create free business website
  • Add more users to the listing with varying levels of permissions
  • Get a custom Gmail business email address

➜ Use good quality photos to show off your products or services and let customers peek inside your store. Well-lit, straightened photos tend to be easier to read

What next?

Now you’re listed it’s important you keep your store’s entry up to date. Keep a close on the following key areas:

  • Opening hours and contact phone number must always be correct
  • Always reply to Google Reviews – when positive thank the customer warmly, if a negative review is received avoid being defensive or confrontational. Suggest they get in touch via email or phone so that you can help resolve any difficulties they may have had
  • Upload fresh photos from time to time, especially if you have a refit or new fascia

Beyond Google

Finally, other directory sites and search engines to consider listing your shop include:

How-to social media guides

Want to hone your social media savvy even further? Check out our series of how-to guides on all the main platforms and how best to use them to promote your shop: