Add Ten or More Locations
It’s not uncommon for a business to be operating out of one location. But it is hard to gain visibility and build your reputation when you have just one location. And, as most people know, the more locations you add, the higher your chances are that customers will find you. So what can you do? You could start by checking Google My Business (GMB).
GMB has been around since 2012 and is now available in 130 countries. Since being introduced, GMB has grown into an essential tool for local businesses looking to boost their visibility online; including verifying their business listing on Google Maps with photos and a website link from their GMB listing- which is often easier than adding these details separately through Google Maps!
As of today, over 1 million businesses in the UK have created a GMB listing. The aim of this blog is to give you advice on how to get your business verified in Google My Business and be found by more customers through Google Search.
Add a Google My Business account
If you already have a Google My Business account, make sure the details are up to date. If you don’t already have a GMB listing, just visit google.com/business and click “Manage this page” at the bottom of your screen to get started. This will take you directly into the GMB dashboard where you can start managing your listing.
You’ll see a few options within the dashboard. Many of these will not be applicable to you if you’re not in the food/drink, professional services, retail or hospitality industry. In terms of location management, the most relevant feature is “Locations.” From here you’ll be able to add an unlimited number of locations for your business.
If you are in the field of professional services, the dashboard will also allow you to manage your “Places,” which are profiles for different business locations. This is a unique feature that only GMB offers.
If you’re not in one of these industries it’s likely that the dashboard will look a little different to what you see above. Basically, every business is different so the setup process may be slightly more or less complicated depending on your industry and whether you have an existing website with Google My Business protocol tags for local search set up and verified under your website.
Add Ten or More Locations
Once you’ve created your GMB listing, it’s time to add ten or more locations.
If you are a food/drink business the easiest place to start adding your locations is via Google Maps. It really couldn’t be any easier! Just click on “Your Places” in the top right corner of the screen and choose “Add a place” from the drop down menu. Choose your type of business, click next and choose the relevant category- for example you’ll choose “Restaurant” or “Café” for food/drink businesses.
Add details such as address, opening hours and website (you can get more information about these options here https://support.google.com/business/?hl=en#topic=6500378).
You can also add photos and information directly to the GMB dashboard on your computer, but it is not as easy as adding via Google Maps and you may get an error message saying “This isn’t a fully formatted address” or “There was a problem with your submission. Please try again later.” So I would advise using Google Maps to add ten or more locations for now.
You can also create a Google My Business listing from the ground up as you start your business and add locations later on, but it’s best to get this out of the way first – especially if you’re a new business. It’s also best to get these details verified as soon as possible so it doesn’t affect your search engine rankings and you aren’t wasting time trying to get them verified.
Verify your business in GMB by adding the location information on each of your ten or more locations
In the left hand side bar click “Location management”. Once you’re on this page, click “Manage locations” at the bottom and then choose “Add location”. As well as adding different locations, you’ll also be able to edit or delete existing ones here. This is a great way of keeping control of your locations and making sure the information you’re sharing with Google is up to date.
For large businesses with multiple locations, Google also allows you to upload a spreadsheet which details the location information. This is called “Location templates” and can be accessed via the left hand menu at the top of your screen once you’re in Location management.
Once you have added ten or more locations, it’s time to verify them all within GMB.
Add hours of service to your locations
You can do this after you have added ten or more locations and verified them all. Just head over to Locations in the left hand side bar again, click on “Edit” next to one of your locations, and scroll down to the bottom for the “Hours of Service” section.
It’s a good idea to add your opening hours for each location right now as this will help you increase local rankings. This is because Google gives your business a ranking boost if it has more “rich” information and content about it available online that users can interact with, such as opening hours or a phone number from which customers can call directly. Also, if your hours of service change in future, you won’t have to go through and update all of your locations individually. You can simply edit the opening hours under this section on one location (the parent business listing) and the changes will automatically appear on each location too- including any you’ve added via Google Maps.
Take down any inaccurate information from other social media profiles and websites to avoid duplicating content
Remember to take down any inaccurate information you may have on other social media profiles and websites too, so it doesn’t affect your search engine rankings.
If you suspect there’s inaccurate information on any third party websites or social media profiles that you are not able to remove, just make sure the information is removed from your own website and social media accounts. Then reach out to these third parties in writing with a link to your GMB listing and ask them to take down the inaccurate information.
The best way to do this is by sending them an email along with your Google My Business listing URL, a link to the specific location and any information you have pointing out why it’s inaccurate.
Just bear in mind that businesses often don’t respond well when you first reach out about this so keep following up until they take action and let you know it’s been sorted.
One way to make this easier is by creating a Google My Business dashboard directly on your email, which you can do here . This means you will get an automated reminder when someone has responded to your request in GMB but hasn’t taken action against the inaccurate information yet.
This works really well if you’re running a business with multiple locations because you can just add all of the information from each location directly into GMB and ask for it to be taken down there. This might seem like more hard work than using Google Maps’ bulk editing option, but it will allow you to verify ten or more locations in one go, which is especially useful if your business has a lot of locations.
As a small business, you should be building your online reputation by taking ownership of your brand across all channels. Use GMB to take control of your listings and push them higher in search results so that customers can find you easier.
This strategy is especially useful if you have numerous physical locations, like restaurants or cafes etc., because customers often like to find a specific location and browse its features before going there.
Edit incorrect information such as address, phone number, hours of operation, etc., with the correct corresponding info for that location’s Google My Business page
If you find that there is incorrect information about your business on another business listing, such as an incorrect address or phone number, then it’s also a good idea to reach out to them in writing with a link to your GMB listing and ask them to make the correction.
Google will display a stand out message at the top of your GMB page if you have locations and lists them in order of most recent verified.
If you open a Google My Business dashboard in a new window, then it will be easier to monitor for these changes, so that way you can take action as soon as they’re made.
Make sure you’ve verified your business and all of your locations on Google My Business . You can use this as a way to show customers you’re a legitimate company and build trust in your brand.
Make sure you have verified your email address in order to receive notifications about changes made to your business listing(s) in GMB
This will enable you to monitor your business listing more effectively and take action quickly.
If someone else has created the account for your business or one of your locations, then even if you are in control of the company email, there’s nothing much you can do about it. Do check with your IT department though, as sometimes they might be able to delete the account on GMB so that it stops appearing in search results for your business.
If you find a mistake, then be sure to report the issue in GMB as soon as possible . This enables you to prove your business ownership and take control of all information associated with your brand.
All businesses that wish to be found online should claim their Google My Business listing by verifying that they have permission from the company to represent the listed location.
Businesses can then use GMB as a platform for communicating directly with customers through the dashboard, adding images and videos that are helpful to customers looking for services in the area.
Always keep a business profile up-to-date with accurate details so that if someone is searching Google for your product or service then they will find you easily. Business owners can add their hours of operation and contact information into their dashboard as well.