Google My Business is an online listing for companies, providing information about operating hours, reviews, and much more. In short, it is the modern-day equivalent of the phone book. 
If a customer wants to find out your opening hours, whether you have parking available, or anything else about your business, they go online and look for you. Google My Business is the Google service that connects them with you, and it’s becoming an essential tool for modern businesses. 
Sure, this information is all available on your website. But who says that the customers in your area are going to find that? Unless you’re on top of the search listings, it could take them a few clicks to get down to your page. And as we all know, that simply doesn’t happen.  
Google My Business is a tool specifically designed to connect local people to local businesses. So, when they search for you or your services, it’s right there on the front page. 

So how do you make Google My Business work for you? 

Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions on how to make your Google My Business listing really give your business a boost: 

Do I need Google My Business if I already have a website? 

Yes. Google My Business should work alongside your existing website. This will give your business a public and more comprehensive presence on Google.  
The information you provide about your business will appear in the Google search results and on Google Maps. This means that your Google My Business pages will generate more exposure than your website. Plus, it’s free, so there is no good reason not to give it a go. 

Can I set up a Google My Business listing as a sole trader? 

Yes. A sole trader is a professional, with his or her own customers, and can include lawyers, financial planners, or estate agents.  
However, if there are multiple practitioners at one location, it might be better for the organisation to create a listing for the location, distinct from the practitioner. 

Should I ask for reviews on my Google Business Listing? 

Yes. Reviews are the most important part of any local search. Almost everyone likes a second opinion when considering using goods and services. This is your opportunity to put them out there for people to see. And, in short, good reviews lead to more sales in the local area. 

How often do I need to update or add posts? 

The answer is, essentially, as often as you can. That’s not to say you need to be updating your posts every day. But if you have news then this is the place to share it. And if it’s been a while since your last update, maybe it’s time to give some of your new products a boost.  
Add photos, gifs, and even call to action buttons to allow people to interact. 

Do I need to use hashtags in my Google My Business posts to help people find me? 

Not really, no. Google My Business posts are not social media posts, even though they resemble them. You have up to 1,500 characters for the details, but keeping it short is always better, ideally between 150 and 300 characters. 
The text gets cut off and people need to click on the post to read more, so keep the most important content at the beginning. Wasting characters on hashtags has little benefit. 

Can other people make changes to my Google My Business listing? 

Yes, they can, even though that may seem strange. Anyone can suggest an edit to your listing, including rivals. These can even include a change to your business location. 
That’s why you need to log in to your Google My Business dashboard every now and then and make sure that no one has made incorrect changes. 

If I’m relocating my business premises, is it easy to update my listing? 

If you’re moving to new premises, it’s more than likely that your new location has been occupied by a business before you. If this is the case, then you need to find out if the previous occupant has marked their business listing as closed. In addition, you must also mark your old listing as closed.  
To add new information, visit your Google My Business listing and add the accurate and up-to-date information. 

Can fake reviews about my business be removed? 

The answer is yes and no. If they are truly fake reviews then they can be removed, but this can be very hard to prove. Often businesses simply don’t like negative reviews, but Google will usually stand firm on these as it is a user’s valid opinion. 
Check out the Google review policy. If the review violates the terms, you should politely respond. This lets people know you are doing something to address the issue. If the review is fake they will probably not reply and so the damage will be limited. 

Is there help available to answer my questions about Google My Business? 

Yes. If you have questions about how it works or have issues with your listing, then you can check out the Google My Business forum for answers. 
Alternatively, you can get help and assistance from a specialist in the field. If you need help to optimise your Google My Business listing, then you can get in touch with itseeze Web Design Windsor. We specialise in helping local businesses use Google services to attract local attention.  
This will free up your time and ensure that you are using these vital business tools to their full potential. Get in touch if you need advice - we look forward to hearing from you. 
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