For most alarm companies, setting up and managing an online presence can be a little complicated and intimidating. In the case of Google, which is constantly making changes to it’s online properties and reconfiguring the rules it may seem easier to just ignore this online giant and be content with your Facebook page (much easier to set up and understand).
But of course that would be a big missed opportunity for your security business – especially of you have one or more physical locations.
Here’s where to start…
The Google My Business dashboard is the platform you will use to “manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps” as well as to interact with customers on Google + and through Google reviews.
This means that you can go through Google My Business to create and manage Google+ local business pages, Google+ brand pages, and Google search listings.
This new platform is more geared toward businesses with one or more physical location, for which local search traffic is important.
Whether you own a small security business without an office or are a multi-location regional integrator, you can use location pages OR brand pages with service areas to promote your business.
About Google My Business
I’m going to have to say “Google My Business” 1,000 times today, so let’s just call it “GMB” and save my keyboard the stress.
Whatever you call it, it has 3 goals:
- To manage your business information as it appears on Google properties
- To help you interact with customers on Google+ and reviews
- To help you understand and expand your presence through insights and metrics
Because GMB provides the information for your local search listings, they have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to add and update information.
Through the dashboard, you can edit things like your hours and upload images to be displayed on your search listing (though they won’t be the only ones that appear there, so be sure to click through them periodically).
In addition to managing search profile information, the GMB dashboard also allows you to view insights and analytics, manage reviews, and access all of your business apps (e.g. email).
It’s also connected to your YouTube and Google+ accounts, so you can share updates to Google+ right from your dashboard or start a hangout.
People who rely on mobile devices to manage their businesses will be glad to hear that there is a GMB mobile app. Even if you’re not that reliant on your phone, you may still want to respond to reviews in real time or post about what you’re up to on Google+.
Setting Up Google My Business
for New and Existing Google Accounts
Before we get started, a few important notes: If you own a business with multiple locations, you’ll need to create a separate Google My Business account for each location (because of the local search information associated with the account), and each will get automatically get its own Google+ page. If you already have multiple Google+ pages associated with these locations, use the Google account (i.e. email address) associated with each Google+ page to set up the GMB account for that location.
Fair warning: I’m about to say “with the same account” a bunch of times. Heed my warning and sort out which Google accounts are associated with which business listings (and check on whether you already have Google+ pages for your locations, including unverified ones) before you get started.
Decide which Google account/email address you want to be the primary one for your business, and transfer ownership of any Google properties held under other accounts to your primary account. Then, set up your GMB account under the primary Google account for your business.
Go to google.com/business and click “Start Now.” Enter the Google account you use to manage that business or that location of your business.
If you don’t yet have a Google account associated with your business, click “Create Account” below the login box and follow the instructions.
If you have a private account associated with the business but want to make sure multiple people have access, don’t create a new account—you can always add and remove page managers later. Just choose someone who will be actively using the account as the “owner” of the page.
Search for your business by name and address using the box in the top left-hand corner, and select the correct listing for your business or location.
If your business isn’t listed, make sure you entered the correct information for the location associated with the email address you used, and check variations of the street address and phone numbers that reach the business directly.
If you still can’t find your business, select “Add your business” or and you’ll be asked to enter more information.
If you’re setting up a new business listing and your company has a service area rather than a fixed location, be sure to check “Yes” under “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” and follow the instructions.
To add a service area to an existing business listing, follow these instructions from the Google support team.
Verify your business. You can do this by postcard, by phone, instantly, or through bulk verification if your businesses has 10+ locations.
If you have already verified your business’s website through Google Search Console, you may be instantly verified. Just make sure you use the same account you used to verify your site with Search Console. FYI, this verification option may not be available for some business categories.
Setting Up a Google+ Business Page
The instructions below cover people who are setting up Google+ Business Pages through other means as well as through Google My Business.
There are 2 kinds of Google+ pages: local business pages and brand pages. Brand pages don’t include the address, hours, or other information that appears on Google Maps. They’re more focused on engagement with customers, fans, and followers, Lots of businesses and brands don’t primarily operate through a fixed physical location, making brand pages a better fit for them.
If you don’t yet have a Google+ page associated with the account you used in the setup process, Google My Business will automatically create one for you. So thoughtful! BUT see my warning above about duplicate Google+ pages.
If you want to make sure you haven’t already set up a business page, or if you want to see all of your Google+ pages, you can navigate to the Create a Page screen by logging into your Gmail account, selecting the 3×3 block icon in the upper right, then selecting the Google+ icon.
Then, at the upper left of your personal Google Plus homepage, click on the “Home” drop-down menu and select “Pages.”
From there, you will be able to see all of the pages attached to your account. If you want to create a new one, select “Get Your Page.” Once you reach the Create page, you’ll see three options: Storefront, Service Area, or Brand. Select the kind of business page you want to start.
You may also see this prompt while you’re going through the GMB setup process. Here’s what it looks like:
Storefront and Service Area are both types of local business pages, while Brand refers to the aforementioned Brand Page. If you’re a brand, you’ll be asked to pick the page name and enter your website address; if you pick one of the other two options, you’ll be taken to the map search page, where you’re asked to type in the name of your business (unless you’ve already done so as a part of the GMB setup process).
If Google can find your business’s location on the map, select it. If not, go to the option that says “Add your business.” Be sure to check the map carefully, including any old addresses or address variations, before adding your business. Once you click create, you may be asked to verify the page via text or phone call.
Next, add your information to the new page. There are lots of ways to optimize your Google+ profile, and there’s a blue progress bar on your new page to help guide you through it. You’ll need a profile picture, a cover photo, a tagline and a keyword-rich introduction. You’ll also need to include the best contact information, and links to your website and social media platforms.
Keep in mind that any Google properties may influence your organic search results, so you’ll want to take every opportunity to optimize your Google+ business page.
After you’ve filled in the basic fields, you may see a prompt at the top of the page that you’re eligible for a custom URL. If so, be sure to take advantage of it! Otherwise, the URL of your Google+ business page will be a string of random numbers.
According to Google, businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.
The final step to making your page complete: Start sharing content, engaging with other people, joining groups, and connecting with friends and colleagues.
If setting up a Google + page for your security business still seems a little overwhelming and time consuming, contact the experts at Ignite RMR. We’d be happy to provide a complimentary 15 minute consultation to help you with the set up process of Google Plus for Business.