Google’s services are increasingly integrated, and as discussed yesterday, Google Maps and Google My Business are linked closely to Google Search, so it’s important to ensure your information is up to date. Virtually all businesses – even the smallest – now get the big ‘knowledge panel’ to the right of the results for a Google search on their name. This will pick up on information you’ve provided through your Google My Business account, but if you don’t, Google will probably make up something anyway, based on what it can crawl from the web. So make sure you have a sparklingly accurate Google My Business account.
How do you know if you have a Google My Business account? Search for your company name. If there’s a business profile in the knowledge panel to the right, with plenty of information, you probably have an account. We find one of the hardest situations is when a company appears to have one, but nobody knows who set it up, and what the sign-in details are. I hope that’s not you, but if it is, you may have to start again. If you’re a major company, you could also have a ‘brand panel’. Don’t be too upset if you don’t, because these panels also include a ‘people also search for’ section, which lists all your competitors with their logos, which is not nearly as desirable – unfortunately, sometimes this is included into a normal business profile too.
Any Google user can ‘suggest an edit’ to a business profile, so make sure you keep yours correct. And check back regularly. As well as checking that other people haven’t made changes, Google is adding new features all the time, which you need to take advantage of. We only recently noticed we hadn’t got a ‘business description’, something which hasn’t been around for that long. Also, ensure there are plenty of good photos provided – again, Google can add any old photo which it finds and can link to your business, not just your own. Think of uploading product shots, location shots, employee shots and even videos.
Above all, schedule a regular visit to your own Google My Business account to check all is well.