We've talked a bit in posts about increasing customer awareness through sharing your work and the importance of helping customers find you when they need you. We want to expand on those a bit and teach you how to check off one more box in the list of making sure existing and potential customers can find you in one of the most important places they look—Google.

Search is key

You probably don't need us to tell you just how important Google is on the internet today.

People rely on Google so much, they more frequently search for a website they use every day—like Facebook—instead of remembering the domain name to get there.

When it comes to finding a service provider to take care of a problem they have at their home or office, people's behavior is no different. They'll more frequently pull up Google to find a remodeler, cleaner, carpenter, or repair tech in their area. One of the smartest things you can do—and it's totally free—is make sure people can find your service business when they ask Google about it in the future.

Get listed on Google

Google makes it pretty easy to get your business registered for listings when people search for your services. With a few minutes of effort, Google will make sure potential customers in your service area can find you in search results, as well as on Google Maps. Your business listing will be complete with all of your contact information, and you can even add photos of your office, your work, and anything else you think customers might find helpful.

How to list your business on Google

  1. Click here to visit Google My Business and get started
  2. Click the Start Now button shown below: Google My Business Start Now
  3. Google will ask you to sign in to a Google account (for example, your Gmail account). If you don't have an account, you should create one now specifically for your business.
  4. You should now be looking at a map, with a header that says Add Your Business at the top, and a box with a few questions to answer: Google My Business - Add Your Business form
  5. Fill in the information about your business. It's simple things like your business address, business name, a website, etc.

NOTE: There's a Yes/No selection before you submit. Read below to understand this better.

On delivering goods and services to customers

Google doesn't do quite the best job making this Yes/No selection immediately obvious. They're asking you to tell them if you run a service-area business. A lot of service businesses are service-area businesses.

If you go to your customers—whether it's their homes, offices, or anywhere else—then you are a service-area business and you should select YES here.

If you run a brick-and-mortar shop and have a physical location customers will visit to get service from you, you are not a service-area business, and you should select NO here.

There's one other important thing to keep in mind in selecting whether you are a service-area business (those who select YES). Many small service businesses are operated out of people's homes, and many people would probably not like to have their home address listed in Google searches, but would like potential customers in their area to find them on Google. If that sounds like you, you should definitely select YES. Google will hide your address, but still make sure your business name, services, and the phone number you provide show up for customers (as well as days and hours you're open for business).

Ready for the next step?

After making your selection telling Google if you're a service-area business based on the explanation above, it's time to move on.

  1. Click the Continue button at the bottom of the form.
  2. You'll now see a form that asks you to identify your service area. You have the option of using the Within x miles of my business option, or adding cities and states that your company services: Google My Business - Service area
  3. If you do not have a physical address customers can visit for service, and you want to ensure your business address is not shown to the public, make sure to leave the checkbox at the bottom unchecked. Google will hide your address so people don't see it when they find you in searches or on Maps.
  4. Click the Continue button again.

Time to verify your business

After clicking the Continue button, you'll be taken to the final step—Verifying your business. To do this, Google requires you to verify that you are the person who is authorized to act for the business in making the listing. They do this by mailing you a verification code to the address you entered. You'll have the option to verify by mail typically:

Verify your business 1

Click the Mail button, and Google will then show you a sample image of the mailer and tell you it will arrive in 1-2 weeks. The sample looks like this:

Verify your business 2

You can add a contact name if you'd like. Otherwise, click the Send postcard button. After just a moment, you should be told the postcard is sent, and that the code inside is good for 30 days only:

Verification postcard sent

You're done!

Keep an eye on your mailbox for the next couple weeks. Once you receive Google's mailer, just follow the instructions inside to verify your business. This will allow your business to show up in Google searches as a verified company, which can help give your customers extra peace of mind.

With only about 5 minutes of effort, your service business is now known by Google, and whenever people search for businesses like yours in your service area, you can be sure that your company will show up alongside your competitors. Every little bit of visibility helps build awareness that your service business is open and willing to help the people in your area.

To your success!