Working with third parties
Google My Business makes it easy for customers to find and connect with your business when they’re using Google Search and Maps. When you create and verify a business listing, you can manage how your business appears on Google to make a great first impression and keep your info up-to-date. As people find you on Google, you’ll gain insights on customer behavior and learn how they’re discovering and interacting with your business.
Google My Business gives you tools that can help your business succeed, but sometimes running a business doesn’t leave you enough time to establish and maintain a successful business listing. If you need a helping hand or want some expert advice, you may choose to work with a third party. There are many third parties to choose from, ranging from large companies that manage hundreds of customers to individual web consultants.
Although Google My Business is a free tool, third parties often charge a fee to manage your listing. They can provide valuable services like keeping your listing up-to-date, providing you with customer insights, answering your questions, and responding to reviews. It’s important to understand the benefits that you may be get from a third party so that you can evaluate whether or not you’re getting the best return on your investment.
Here are five best practices for selecting and working with a third party:
- Be selective. Ask these questions when selecting a third party to work with:
- Has it managed business listings before?
- Has it managed businesses with similar budgets or target audiences?
- What other services can it provide to grow your business?
- Work with one at a time. You may be tempted to divide your budget among multiple third parties to see which one drives the best results, but keep in mind that it’s best to test them one at a time. Your business can only appear once on Google, so it’s difficult to test multiple third parties at once.
- Educate yourself. It doesn’t take much time to get up to speed with how Google My Business works and understand how to use its features. Review the resources and FAQs for a basic introduction to Google My Business, then explore the Help Center to find answers to specific questions. Understanding how Google My Business works will help you make more informed decisions when working with a third party.
- Trust experience. Companies that have managed hundreds of businesses on Google are more likely to have expertise with Google My Business. Before you hire a third party, talk to its staff members to understand their previous experience managing businesses on Google.
- Evaluate your performance. You can find a wide range of insights in your Google My Business account that can give you info about how customers are finding and interacting with your business on Google. Spend time each month reviewing your listing’s performance and evaluating the results you’re getting from working with a third party. Check for things like updated photos and current business hours, as well as changes in how customers are discovering your business online.
Many third parties represent the best interests of their clients, but some third parties are less reputable. Here’s a list of red flags to watch out for when selecting and working a third party:
- Not being transparent. You have a right to know how users are interacting with your business, including specific data (like the number of views and clicks on your business listing).
- Guaranteeing placement on Google. It's not possible for third parties to influence the order in which your business appears on Google Search or Maps. Learn more about local search ranking
- Claiming to work for Google. If a third party representative claims to be employed by Google, ask for their name and request that they email you from their @google.com (not @gmail.com) email address.
- Making threats. Third parties can’t remove your business from Google or access your listing without your explicit permission.
- Deceptive pricing. Malicious third parties may not charge you using the pricing you agreed to. Always get an official copy of your agreement before working with a third party.