New Google Program May Be Just What Your Small Business Needs

google map public domainThe descriptive phrase “user friendly” was invented because so many processes associated with computers are a pain. Frankly, getting a small business firmly and properly established in Google search results and maps, has been difficult for many owners.

A friend of mine does online editorial work with several small businesses and one day about six weeks ago he got a frantic call from one of his clients. She runs a yoga studio in California and discovered that her business wasn’t showing up on Google maps.

Although it wasn’t the kind of thing my writer friend usually does, he wanted to help out, plus he had written about the process many times, so he had the general idea about what it required and he certainly knew where to start.

It didn’t take him long to get her listing established, but there were a number of not-so-intuitive twists and turns along the way that he needed to navigate to make sure that the information he entered was properly categorized, the right photo would be the main one featured, and several other important details would appear correctly.

Check your local listings

Does that sound familiar at all? Have you tried to get a detailed business listing on Google and abandoned the process? Many small business owners have.

I think Google must have felt your pain – or decided it wanted 100 percent compliance in establishing Google+ business pages – and has launched an effort to guide small business owners through the process more efficiently: the Get Your Business Online Program.

Soo Young Kim, who heads up the program, says, “Big businesses and big retailers are centrally managing listings to make sure they’re appearing on Google. Small businesses need to be there – right next to them – when a consumer is searching.”

When you head over to the website linked above, you’ll start out by searching for your business. Google’s goal is to create 30,000 city websites where users can search for city-specific information. The search engine giant is also working with local groups, like chambers of commerce, SCORE chapters and business development centers to hold workshops and get small business owners up to speed on ways to leverage online information and search results.

Additional program features

Along with doing the important work of getting basic business information established in Google’s database, small business owners can:

  • Enhance their listing with photos,
  • Get a diagnostic tool to find ways to improve online visibility, and
  • Get a one-year free domain name and website via StartLogic.

Eric Groves, co-founder of Alignable – the premiere social network for small business owners – welcomes Google’s new program. “Small businesses succeed based on their unique personalities, and they need all the help they can get surfacing these up. Unfortunately, many haven’t had the time or resources to develope a great web presence – and Google’s efforts should help in this regard,” he explains. He notes, however, that the relationship between the huge web properties and small business has been rocky at times.

“SMBs might be rightfully leery of Google’s efforts to ‘help’ in light of how Facebook first encouraged them to build their presence on Facebook, and is now using those pages solely to generate revenue for Facebook. If Google is aware of this challenge to establishing trust with SMBs and builds educational curriculum that’s 100 percent educational and zero percent Google sales pitch, they might just pull it off,” Groves says.

No matter what your current status is within the Wonderful World of Google, head over to, check out your current listing and explore the information and services available to your business.

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