When it comes to digital marketing, all you want is for customers to find your business. As a freelancer, this can be easier said than done. One of the best solutions for small businesses is listing their company in Google My Business (GMB). It’s free, useful, and reaches a massive audience.
Both businesses and organizations can manage their online presence on Google, including Search and Maps. It helps customers find your company, and it gives owners a space to share their stories. When using Google My Business as a freelancer, some guidelines and restrictions make it a bit more complicated than a mere business listing.
Things to Consider
Initially, GMB was set up to support local search engine optimization (SEO). Its primary purpose is to show people targeted physical businesses in one particular area. Now, most freelancers work from home and don’t have a client-facing structure. Additionally, most freelancing services are not local. Thanks to today’s interconnectivity, freelancers can work with clients from all over the world. Thus, some people think setting their profile as a freelancer isn’t worth it.
However, if you want to improve your local SEO without too much effort or knowledge, setting up your GMB profile is effective and easy. But, to comply with Google’s guidelines, you need:
- Hours of operations
GMB will indeed send a postcard to your address to verify your business listing. Most freelancers find this troublesome. After all, since you don’t necessarily work out of an office, this means you’ll have your information and personal address publicly listed on Google.
How to Set Up Google My Business as A Freelancer
Not all is lost when it comes to leveraging GMB for your freelancing business. For boosting your local SEO, you can create a service-based business profile that caters to a service area. Have your professional headshot or logo, information, and a couple of posts ready-to-share.
Create Your Profile
Start by opening a GMB Profile using a Gmail account, preferably your business one. Follow the website’s prompts and make sure to add as much information about your business as possible. As a category, choose the closest description of your overall services. You want to set up your profile as a service-based business.
Your Business Name and Location
If you operate an LLC, use this as your business name. If you don’t, consider using your name and specialty as the name of the company. For example: “John Smith, SEO Expert & Content Marketer.”
Now, this is the most crucial step. As a service-based business, there are two location options. One is to say you receive clients at your location, meaning you’d like clients to find your address. The second one is for those who don’t want to share an address. There’s a checkbox that says, “Hide my address (it’s not a store).”
Select Your Service Area
Those who choose not to display a specific address can select the physical areas you want to promote your business. GMB is all about local SEO. Unless your services are targeted towards a particular service area, you want to be as broad as you can.
Google My Business allows you to select a specific area, say a small town, or include a whole city. Even though clients in nearby cities won’t necessarily see your GMB listing, it will be a useful marketing tool for potential clients within your service area.
Wait for Verification
Finally, Google is all about verification and security. Nowadays, you can verify via phone or email. Sometimes, they’ll ask you to follow a postcard verification process that takes about five days. All verification methods will ask you to use the code provided to verify that you’re the one creating this listing and the information provided is real.
Ask for Reviews
Merely having a GMB profile isn’t going to do much for your business. Ask for reviews and make sure to publish them. Unlike other sites, Google Maps will rank companies based on the number of reviews they have. So, the more you can harvest, the best.
Google My Business Alternatives
Although GMB is an excellent marketing tool for all sorts of businesses, freelancers might have better options. Some GMB alternatives for freelancers include:
- LinkedIn Profinder
Consider these job posting sites and portfolio sites to showcase your talent and grow your client pool. Try different freelance marketing strategies like networking, Facebook Groups, and social media to leverage your online presence and grow your client base. And, the more business listings you can have, the more chances you’ll get to get discovered by a new client.