Thursday, July 11, 2019

How to add your business to Google and get it displayed on Google Maps for customers to find - Business Insider

How to add your business to Google and get it displayed on Google Maps for customers to find - Business Insider

How to add your business to Google and get it displayed on Google Maps for customers to find - Business Insider

Posted: 09 Jul 2019 02:01 PM PDT

If you have a business with a physical address, adding that business to Google (and thereby making it searchable via Google Maps) is a great way to allow customers to find your workplace, to be able to make a connection with them, and to grow a successful business.

It also gives your business an air of legitimacy — what business isn't searchable on Google Maps these days, right?

So if you have a new business, whether it's your first or your fifteenth, it's important to make sure it's accessible through Google.

Here's everything you need to know to get your business added to Google, and how to claim ownership so you can control the business page:

How to add a business to Google

If you already have a Google My Business account, here are the steps you'll have to take to add your new business:

1. Go to Google's My Business site and make sure you're logged in (or follow the prompts to sign up for an account).

Navigate to the Google My Business site to start the verification process.
Devon Delfino/Business Insider

2. Enter your business' name and address into the search bar and select "Add your business" (assuming it isn't already listed, in which case you'll need to claim it as yours).

3. Choose whether your want your business' location to appear on Google Maps. If you're adding a restaurant, being on Google Maps is incredibly useful! But if you're just adding a small business run out of your house, keeping that location private might be a good idea.

4. Add the requested information, like business category. If you aren't sure what category your business falls under, try typing a related keyword into the box and see what comes up. And remember that you'll be able to add additional categories later on.

There are hundreds of different business categories, and you can also type in your own.
Devon Delfino/Business Insider

5. Verify your business. Here are all the ways that you can verify your identity to Google:

  • By mail. Google will send a physical postcard that includes a verification pin, which you'll then use to verify online.
  • By phone. Google will call you, and provide a verification code over the phone. This is only available for certain businesses.
  • By email. Google will send you the code over email. Again, this is only available for certain businesses.
  • Bulk verification. If your business has over 10 locations, you'll have to submit an extra form to have them all verified at once. To do this, when you click "Get verified," click "Chain" afterwards and enter all your info. Google will then take up to a week to process the request.
  • If you have a Google Search Console account, and your business' website is verified through Search Console, you can verify your account instantly. Some business categories aren't allowed to do this.

6. Set up your Google My Business page to complete the process.

If you don't already have a My Business account, you can add your business and create an account at the same time.

The steps are essentially the same as listed above, except you'll need to click "Create Account" on the My Business homepage, and each question (like business name, or address) is separated out into individual pages.

But again, filling those out should be quick and easy, while verification may require a bit of patience.

‘Google's power is extraordinary’: businesses turn to the courts over bad reviews - The Guardian

Posted: 09 Jul 2019 03:00 PM PDT

Mark Fletcher says he never paid much attention to Google reviews left by customers for his Victorian-based software business Tower Systems – until five months ago.

He was told he had lost a sale due to a negative review from a person called Ashley T.

The comment, made a year ago, claimed the point-of-sale software was buggy and the company did not communicate well in response to complaints.

"I would STRONGLY recommend not buying this product," the review said.

Tower's story is far from uncommon, as the impact of negative reviews is hotly debated among customers, businesses and Google, which has found itself increasingly embroiled in court actions.

Fletcher replied, saying the business had tried several times to contact the customer and left them a message.

But more anonymous negative reviews began rolling in, bringing down the company's rating. Fletcher says it was difficult to get Google to do anything about it.

"We filled in Google forms, complaining about false and misleading reviews and anonymous reviews and have heard nothing," he says. "Google makes it easy for people to complain about businesses but almost impossible to deal with misleading claims.

"The power Google has is extraordinary."

Fletcher even started paying for Google Ads, thinking it would help get a response from the tech giant, to no avail.

"Absolute silence from Google," he says.

The negative reviews and lower star rating on Google began costing the company business leads, Fletcher says.

He says he was forced to ask customers to leave positive reviews to fix the rating. The average is now up to 3.8 out of 5.

"I hate doing that. I want reviews to be natural," he says.

Online reviews such as those on Google, Facebook or Yelp can make or break a business. Some businesses and customers swear by them, others curse their existence.

Some people told Guardian Australia a good Google review rating was a useful way to find small businesses that didn't have a website.

Jillian Harrison, who manages social media for Republic Bar in Hobart, says users who saw reviews for the bar come up in search were often prompted to leave similar reviews.

"Google reviewers tend to be a bit more specifically analytical in their comments – less of the broadsided swipes or praises," she says. "They tend to say why they like or dislike something, which is definitely useful."

Others say leaving a negative review is a good way to get a company's attention when it is otherwise unresponsive.

Rory Gallagher, the Australian managing director of the Behavioural Insights Team, says review systems are more likely to have an impact on smaller businesses than generic chains.

"Consumers might already know what to expect from a burger at McDonald's, but know less about an independent burger restaurant, so may be much more influenced by the ratings of others," he says.

Much of the contention around online reviews comes down to verification, whether people can review anonymously, and what power businesses have to pull down fake or inaccurate reviews.

Some review websites require verification for users. Google does not.

Gallagher suggests one change that could help weed out fake reviews would be for feedback to be displayed on a profile only once a certain number of reviews have been posted.

A review of the Australian Consumer Law in 2017 found that some businesses have gone as far as getting customers to sign nondisclosure agreements in settling consumer law disputes to prevent customers speaking publicly about bad experiences.

Several companies have been set up promising to get bad online reviews removed, but increasingly businesses are turning to the courts, with a growing number of defamation cases aimed at either the reviewer or Google itself.

This week Google faces contempt of court charges in the New South Wales supreme court after it failed to immediately follow a court order to take down damaging reviews about an unnamed Sydney businessman.

In late June, the NSW supreme court ordered a woman to pay $530,000 in damages to a cosmetic surgeon over a review she left about her nose and cheek surgery.

The review was online for three weeks until the doctor took her to court. He reported a 23.61% drop in visitors to his website a week after the first negative review was posted.

Google has complied with court orders to remove reviews, but has argued that defamation cases can work against consumer rights, and damage freedom of speech.

In a submission in April to the NSW review of defamation reform, the company highlighted that the Australian competition watchdog had recently taken legal action against a car hire company called Australian 4WD Hire for allegedly unfair contract terms.

Google pointed out that the same company had won interim orders in the federal court against Google just 18 months earlier for negative reviews, forcing it to pull them down.

"This is a classic example of defamation laws leading to the suppression of information that would have prevented consumers suffering from unfair business practices," Google said.

Google has argued the fight should be between the person who left the allegedly defamatory review and the business itself.

At the same time, the company said it did not want to have to remove alleged defamatory content without a court order, arguing it should not be the arbiter of what is or is not defamatory.

"Google submits that takedown procedures should only be implemented following a court order. To legislate takedowns in the absence of judicial review would require Google LLC to act as a court, reaching a verdict on whether particular content is defamatory and whether valid defences (such as truth) apply," the company said.

"Google LLC is not well placed to do this. A mandatory takedown procedure could lead to virtually all negative content being removed from the internet, including useful negative content, such as whistleblowing, business reviews and investigative journalism."

A spokesperson for Google told Guardian Australia the company takes court orders seriously and responds to them in a timely manner.

Rumors That Shortnames Causing Google My Business Suspensions - Search Engine Roundtable

Posted: 10 Jul 2019 05:29 AM PDT

There are a lot of rumors and suspicions that Google My Business suspensions are due to the release of the new shortnames feature. I am not sure if that is true, we covered the suspension issues well before the launch of the shortnames release and we even covered these rumors earlier as well.

I personally think they are unrelated - I think there is a weird issue with Google My Business suspending a lot of businesses and then because of the support delays this issue is piling up.

To some up, the suspension issues spiked around June 12th and continued from there. The release of shortnames was around June 20th. And Google admitted in late June the Google My Business team is super backlogged.

And folks discussing it at Local Search Forums.

But the rumors that shortnames and suspensions are related and people are removing their shortnames out of fear. I am not sure if that is the right move - I can be wrong, but I think it is just a coincidence.

Now, if only Google would chime in on the issue and communicate with the local SEO community about it...

Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.

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