You know right where you are, but does the same go for all the folks who might benefit from your accounting firm’s services? With more and more people choosing to get their information online, it’s more important than ever for your firm to show up on internet searches for service providers.
If your firm isn’t appearing as often as you’d like it to, here are two easy ways to make sure you can be found by potential clients. They’re extremely quick, simple and best of all, free.
Google Maps for iOS
When you whip out your iPad or iPhone and open up the Google Maps app, does your firm’s location and contact appear? If it doesn’t, you’re missing out on a LOT of valuable exposure. Remedy the situation instantly by clicking on the menu (at the upper left), scrolling down and tapping “Add a missing business.”
You’ll open up a form that asks for your firm name, address and business category. You can also add your phone number along with your website and office hours if you so choose (you should definitely do it). Click submit to send the information to Google Map Maker and you’re done. Within a few days you should get an email that lets you know they’ve reviewed and accepted your data. From then on, you’ll be on the map – right where you belong.
Google My Business
There’s another way to quickly put yourself in front of Google users (i.e. almost everyone). By signing up with Google My Business, your firm will appear not just on Google Maps but in searches and Google+ as well.
Many firms will have been automatically added to the service when it replaced Google Places for Business and Google+ Pages, so if you have a history with those earlier applications, you don’t have to do anything. For those firms that didn’t use either one, you can list your firm now and start reaping the benefits of all that free exposure.
- Go to Google My Business and click the prominent “Get on Google” button you’ll find at the top.
- Then enter your firm name in the search bar that extends across Western Canada on the map you’ll see on the next page. If Google finds your firm, you’re good to go.
- If they don’t have a match, it’s time to add your info so that everyone can find you. To do this, select “I’ve correctly entered my name and address” to access a form requesting your firm name, address, phone number and category. Fill it out and click Submit.
- You’ll have to verify your firm before it appears across all the Google services. This can be done by postcard, which takes a couple weeks, but luckily most firms will have the option to verify by phone. If your firm has already been verified using Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll be able to use instant verification online.
Note that small, home-based CPAs can add their business information without revealing their home address. After entering the requested information, including the mailing address of the business, check the box at the bottom of the form. Then click the highlighted words “important information” to register as a service-area business. You can select service areas by listing cities or zip codes or by setting a radius from your home office. Be sure not to check the box that indicates you serve customers at your business address.
It takes a few steps, but it’s not hard to add yourself to Google. Even if you hate computers, smartphones and Google, you should grit your teeth and do this. Like it or not, the mega-company formerly known as Google (now Alphabet) is the fast lane for information for an awful lot of people today. You need this, so go do it now if you haven’t already.