📝 LLND gets on Google My Business
13th February 2021
With less than three weeks since our launch, the London Local News Directory has been looking for ways to maximise our real estate on Google, but also, like any new website, to get people knowing about the site and visiting it. Getting our site to appear on Google was quite a mission at first. Frequent trips to the site's Google Analytics dashboard, manually adding URLs for verification, and also creating a Facebook fan/site page (very good for SEO, I heard!) were the steps we just had to take to get more people knowing about our directory. It's not easy work I tell you, especially as all of this is very new to me.
As I tried to find new and innovative ways to get the message out about LLND last week (including adding the site to some rather defunct website directories), I noticed several times during my research about a service offered by Google in conjunction with their Maps programme.
Called Google My Business, this part of the multi-use Google toolkit offers businesses and websites more than just a basic listing or a petty old link in some dusty corner of the web. It offers cross-search facilities across other Google products such as the aforementioned Maps and Search results. GMB allows you to say more about your business or website, and to include photos, customer testimonials and contact details. Critically, for me, it allowed one to link in their site URL.
At first though impressed, I was reluctant to create a listing on GMB. Why? Nothing major, but just the sad feeling of whether this would be ideal for me, as for now at least, my website is far more 'passion project' rather than fully-fledged business. But you'll never know the outcome if you don't take the risk. So yesterday, I finally bit the bullet, took the plunge, took the first step, etc etc.
Setting up on GMB was relatively straightforward, although choosing a business category was a bit complicated as there was not one for 'directories', so I had to make do with 'association or organization'. The really cool thing about GMB is that you can also create your own business 'micro-site', an enhanced listing page that you can add things like photographs and text to to promote your site to anyone who digs you up in Google searches. The functionality and modifications are quite basic, but it's free. And one should never look a free gift horse in the mouth.
In order to ensure that businesses are who they say they are, Google has, for a tech giant, a rather 'old-school' means of verifying new members to their club. As part of the verification process, GMB sends a postcard by snail mail to the physical or postal address you gave them. When you receive this card, you'll find a unique code which you must enter into the GMB interface to let them know your listing is bona-fide. I probably won't get my card until early next week as it takes 3-4 days to arrive but my micro-site is very much ready. You can find the link below.