Google My Business Guide for small business owners in Nigeria.
Google has recently announced the simplifying of the name and moving from ‘Google My Business’ to ‘Google Business Profile’.
- You can now claim your Business Profile directly on Search and Maps
- It is now easier to complete verification or resolve other issues with your Business Profile.
- Just search for the name of your business on Google or go to your profile directly in the Google Maps app and you’ll see an option to verify the profile or resolve other issues, like profile suspension
- You can also search for ‘my business’ on Google Search to get to your Business Profile.
This article is a Google My Business step-by-step guide (with pictures) for small business owners in Nigeria.
It serves as a guide to help small businesses set up their own Google My Business listing and for optimizing your listing for local searches.
One of the challenges small businesses in Nigeria face is getting customers to find their products and services.
Especially, after struggling to invest in starting a small business and there is almost nothing left to spare for marketing.
Yet, everyday Google is being asked questions relevant to your business. Examples of recent questions people are asking Google are:
- “Where can I hire a bicycle in Abuja?”
- “Where can I buy Infinix smart 4c in Ikorodu?”
- “Where can I get an organic soap in Bariga?”
You might be saying in your mind, “if only I can get people to know about my products and services”.
Google My Business guide for small business owners
The good news is that Google My Business is a free and effective marketing tool by Google for small businesses.
With Google My Business, you create a listing and a website that allows you to manage your online presence in local searches and on Google maps.
Therefore, it allows customers and potential customers to easily find your business and to contact you.
A Google My Business listing is how your business appears in search results when a potential customer Google’s (searches for) your business name or service.
Google My Business guide – types of small businesses that qualify for Listing
Your business qualifies for a Google My Business listing if:
- It has a physical address.
- You serve customers face to face.
- You serve customers at their locations.
Do you have a storefront where you display your products? For example, a fashion store that sells items such as shoes, clothes and bags.
If you have a physical location where you meet with or attend to customers.
That is, if your business involves attending to customers in-person during particular times in a day.
For example, a salon where customers come in to get a hair cut.
Also, if you serve customers in their locations. For example, if you provide services to people in the homes or offices such as a plumber or an electrician.
Your business can be a mix of these three.
For example, if you are a photographer with a physical address where customers can come to your studio for a photo shoot.
However, you also attend events or visit people’s homes to take their photographs.
Therefore, if your business is similar to these examples or meet these criteria, then it business qualifies for a Google My Business listing.
However, if your business is online-only for example digital agency or an eStore, then it doesn’t qualify for a Google My Business listing. Only businesses with brick and mortal locations qualify.
Google My Business guide – three factors that improve search results on Google
Before you set up your Google My Business listing, there are three factors you need to be aware of.
This is because, local search results on Google are based on these three factors namely:
When someone searches for businesses in your area, these three factors improves the likelihood of them seeing your business in the search results.
In terms of relevance, your business is more likely to appear in search results if your listing has relevant business information.
For example, in the case where a customer is searching for “a beauty salon where I can fix my dreadlocks in Tanke Ilorin”.
A “Nikky Beauty Salon” located in “Tanke Ilorin” is relevant to that search.
Therefore, relevance involves being as detailed as possible when adding your business information.
As a result, Google would better understand your business and match relevant searches to your listing.
Using the same example above, the “Nikky Beauty Salon” listing in “2 University Road, Tanke Ilorin” is very explicit in terms of its location.
Although, Google will calculate distance based on what is known about the user making the search.
However, your listing is more likely to appear in search results because you have given Google a specific business location term to match the searches with.
The prominence of your business is based on the information Google has about the business across the web.
This can be through articles, links or directories. Therefore you’ll notice that many businesses that are prominent offline also tend to be prominent online.
Your business prominence in local search result can be improved through customer reviews and ratings. In addition, your ranking in web results also influence local search optimization.
Google My Business guide for small business owners – set up
In this section we’ll go through the steps to get your business on Google My Business.
Please note that only business owners or authorized representatives (individual or company that manages your business information on Google My Business ) may verify and manage their business information on Google My Business.
Step 1:Go to Google My Business
Sign in using your business Gmail account. Click “Manage Now”.
Step 2: Enter Your Business Name and Address in the Search Box
Note that your business name is expected to be represented on Google My Business as it is in the real world.
Therefore, use the same business name that is on your signage, stationery, and other branding.
Step 3: Add business category
The next step is to add your business category. We’ll add “beauty salon” as the business category for Nikky Beauty Salon.
Underneath this, you’ll find a notice that you can change and add more later.However, please don’t stuff in your business categories.
It is advised that you choose the fewest number of categories that accurately describes your overall core business.
Since most people already have an idea of the services they can get in a beauty salon, you can add one or two unique services your render.
For example, dreadlocks fixing and waxing hair-removal service. Don’t worry, you also have the opportunity to add images that will tell more stories about your services.
The next thing you’ll be required to do is to add a location.
This is useful if you attend to customers in a particular location. Since our example is a Beauty Salon, we’ll say yes. After that, add your address.
You’ll need the following information: your accurate street address, Local Government Area, City, Postcode and State.
Make sure your address is as accurate and precise as possible. This can be a challenge for some small businesses in Nigeria.
Especially if your location is in an area that is not well numbered.
However, the key is to ensure that your give the most accurate and concise description of your business.
Next you’ll need to place your business on the map. You can use a popular landmark to make it easier to locate.
Drag and zoom the map to locate the exact spot your business is located.
For our example Nikky Beauty Salon is close to the Unilorin Lake, so’ll we’ll place it near that on the map.
In addition, if you serve other areas, you should add those areas at this point.
For Nikky Beauty Salon, we added other locations where Nikky Beauty Salon has branches – in neighboring Osun and Oyo States.
Step 4: Add contact details
The next step is to add the contact details you want to show your customers.
The information you give here will be on your listing and available for potential customers to see.
Make sure your business phone number is correct and available at all times. If you already have a website, include the url.
If not select the option and let Google automatically build one for you using the information provided. The website is also free.
Step 5: Verification
Finish and manage your business listing. Now Nikky Beauty Salon can now be managed on Google!
However, before you can manage and represent a business on Google. You need to confirm that the business is actually yours. Although there are a number of ways Google verifies businesses such as:
- Phone Call
Nevertheless, the type of verification process is usually determined by Google and is typically through postcard with a PIN on it.
Immediately you complete the previous steps and get to the verification stage, you will get a notice that your postcard will be delivered to the business address you have provided.
Therefore, at this time your listing status would show pending verification.This means that the verification process has starter but not finished.
The verification would be completed when you enter the PIN sent to your business address by mail.
It should take about 2 weeks or more to get your code.
Contact support if you haven’t received your postcard in 30 days.Please ensure that you don’t make anymore changes at this stage because that will mean you need to be re-verified.