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What is Google My Business and How Can it Benefit Businesses?
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool by Google that allows businesses to manage how they are featured on Google Maps and Google searches.
Through it, businesses can add descriptions about their enterprise, state its opening hours, feature new promotions, upload photos, and more.
Why is it useful?
Because as an online search engine, Google has become so ubiquitous that we are using its name as a verb. If anyone is searching for your business online, they are almost certainly Googling it.
So it makes sense to use Google My Business to ensure that the information about your business is how you want it to be when it shows up on Google. It has become an indelible part of creating brand awareness.
It goes the other way as well by giving business owners information about their customers; the latter can leave reviews and upload photos to clearly describe their experience and express their opinion. Businesses can also review more extensive information like how many people have clicked on them on Google, the number of phone calls they received, and how people are getting to their business location. All valuable data that can be used to assess how one’s business is doing and how it can improve.
The fact that it is free just makes signing up for it even more of a no-brainer.
That really does sound almost too good to be true.
We suppose it depends on your opinion regarding personal privacy as the global behemoth that is Google continues to gobble up massive amounts of online data everywhere.
It is also not foolproof.
A Google business listing offers many customisation options which may allow it to be more visible. A comprehensive listing of business information can be search-engine optimised, for example.
However, it has been found that some customisation options have more bearing on a business’ ranking than others. Significantly, a business name that is keyword-rich has a lot of weight in influencing ranking. That is obviously frustrating and more than a little unfair, unless we expect every bakery in town to be named “Bread and Cake Baking Bakery” in the future.
In comparison, Bing allows everyone to put descriptors in their business name, which does level out the playing field a little. Unfortunately, the sarcastic joke that Bing is the best way to Google something says it all about the former’s popularity as a mainstream search engine.
There is also something to be said about placing your business under public scrutiny to an unprecedented extent, which can be rather discomforting. An unhappy customer, whether reasonably so or not, can leave a bad review that lives on in perpetuity for all future potential customers to see. This is the sort of thing that can bite back at business owners disproportionately hard.
However, the point is moot. Digitalisation is happening with ever-increasing urgency, and a Google business listing in the present is like being listed in a phonebook back in the day, except it is now virtual and much more detailed than before. Not having one is unthinkable; not only would it be harder for potential customers to find you, but your competitors would also be easier to find than you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the consequences of that.
Since you put it this way, how can I sign up?
The good news for Singaporeans businesses is that UOB has partnered with Google to make it faster and easier for businesses in Singapore to register for the service via an online form that authenticates the applicant through GovTech’s MyInfo Biz database.
Through this collaboration, UOB will help with the registration process to verify if the business is a ‘live’ company (at the point of application).
They will then obtain and provide you with a unique verification code tied to your business location or place of operation. This is then used to complete the Google My Business verification process and account set-up, which will allow you to claim a listing on Google Search and Maps.
It is important to note that once you are provided with the verification code, this concludes UOB’s involvement in the process. Management of the Google My Business account and all its related activities come solely under the purview of Google, who will handle all complaints, disputes, and inquiries.
Who is Eligible
The business in question must be incorporated in Singapore, and the applicant must be a qualified Director/Sole Proprietor/Partner of said business.
How to Apply
If you have CorpPass, the easiest way is to apply for it online. Simply head to this website and start your application. You will be guided to fill in an online form and agree on the terms and conditions to complete the verification process.
During the registration process, UOB will offer you the choice to both register for Google My Business and open a UOB eBusiness Account. You may respond in the negative and simply opt to register for GMB.
If all the necessary information provided is accurate for the necessary verification procedure, a GMB verification code will be available for download in PDF format. You can then proceed here to activate your GMB account using the verification code and start building your business profile immediately.
Alternatively, one can visit a UOB branch to apply physically. Existing UOB corporate customers may also contact their Relationship Managers.
A GMB verification code is valid for 90 days. If the validity period has been exceeded, one must re-apply again for another one.
If you are a business with multiple storefronts, each location will require its own verification code. This process with UOB supports up to 9 verification codes. Should your business require more than that, it will have to go through Google’s own bulk verification process.
What Do You Need to Apply
You will need to provide the following information for verification:
· Registered Business Name,
· Business Registered Number (UEN),
· Business Registered Address & Operating Address*,
· Name of Business Owner (Director/Sole Proprietor/Partner),
· Mobile Number,
· Email Address,
· Number of Places of Operation and
· Annual Turnover.
Ok, now that I have registered for a Google My Business account, what do I do?
Play around with it, explore the many customisation options you can take to flesh out your profile. It is generally advisable to add as much information and media as you can. Businesses that add photos to their listings typically see a 40 per cent increase in requests for map directions.
A guide on how to use the service can be found here. Another useful guide that provides answers to many common questions people have about utilising the platform can be found here.