In the first of a regular series helping businesses to generate sales and leads online, Grant Thomas, the Hereford Times digital marketing expert, explains how to make the most of Google. LocaliQ, the company behind the Hereford Times, has invested more than £230 million in our new digital marketing platform. This means we are becoming one of the UK’s fastest growing digital marketing agencies, using our best-in-class marketing technology to generate leads for our clients

1. How Do I Set Up My Business on Google?

Google is huge when it comes to local listings online. Want to show up in search results on desktop? Yes, please! Want to show up in Google Maps on someone’s phone? Of course! Then, you need to get your business on something called “Google My Business”.

2. What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is how you ensure your business is listed correctly across Google’s properties, including search results and map results.

3. How do I get my business on Google My Business?

Google makes it easy with its step-by-step process. If you search for your business and find that it’s already displaying, you can claim your listing instead of creating a new one. Otherwise simply log into the Google Account you want associated with your business (or create a Google Account if you don't already have one). Next, go to and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.

4. Why do I need to be on Google My Business?

In order to show in search results and map results on Google, whether on the desktop or in the map app, you’ll want to get your business set up on Google My Business. Technically, your business could still show in these places, but you won’t have control over the information displayed until you add or claim and verify your listing. And you’ll want the information potential customers find about your business to be 1) accurate, and 2) controlled by you.

5. Does it matter how my business name is displayed on Google My Business?

Yes. The way your business name is displayed is important. In addition to helping with consistency across the web (which is a ranking factor!), it’s also a best practice for user experience. You don’t want to confuse your potential customers by having your listing look a little different than your business name on your website or social sites.

Speaking of different names in your listings, it may seem tempting to slap some keywords in your listings, but don’t do it! Also, do NOT create multiple listings for the same business location. Err on the side of caution and keep your listings consistent. Which means one listing per location with the correctly displayed business name.

6. But, what if I have two businesses at the same location?

Trying to stump us with that one! But, if you have more than one business at the same location, they need to have different business names, phone numbers, and (ideally) websites to avoid any penalties for having the same address. If they’re in different suite numbers, that’s even better because you can add that info in to each listing.

7. Can I fake a business address?

Please, don’t! Not only does it provide a poor user experience, but it can get you penalised by Google. Google estimates they’ve removed 70 per cent of fake listings from their site since 2015. And you don’t want your business listing removed by Google.

8. What if my business doesn’t have an actual location or people don’t really go there?

Don’t worry: Google My Business is still for you! Google provides the option for you to hide your address and set a service location so you can increase your chances of appearing for relevant queries in your area. For example, if you own a plumbing business, chances are your customers aren’t visiting your office often, or at all. You’re the one visiting them. So, you might not want to display your business’s address but instead show that you service the neighbourhoods near your post code, city, or region.

Similarly, if you don’t have a storefront or physical location, you can utilise the service area function and hide your address.

9. Is there a time when I could have multiple Google My Business listings?

Yes! But only if your business has multiple locations or you own a franchise. We hear from clients who want to set up listings for virtual offices or in multiple service areas using their employees’ addresses. However, Google is (fairly) clear that it is not okay with that. You can check out its guidelines to see what business types are eligible or ineligible. Or, you can find a partner to help you manage your Google My Business listing that can give you the guidance you need (and do the work for you) to be successful.

10. Where do I go for help?

Speaking of a marketing partner to help you with your listings, have we met? We can make sure your listings game is on point, and do a whole bunch of other stuff to help you with all your marketing! Get in touch via