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Google tools encouraged for business

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2000:01:01 00:00:19

STAFF PHOTO/BROOKE WILLIAMS Grow with Google speaker Randi Penfil addresses a crowd of business professionals and students.

The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce hopes local businesses can “grow with Google.”

Last Tuesday, (Oct. 8) Grow with Google speaker Randi Penfil explained just how to do so through the chamber’s monthly Business Series Luncheon at Shadowbrook Resort in Tunkhannock.

Penfil shared her 20+ years of digital marketing experience with local professionals, as well as a group of Tunkhannock Area High School students taking an entrepreneurship class this year.

The “Get Your Business Online” presentation focused on how business owners can make the most of the free “Google My Business” tool.

Owners could set up a free profile for their business via Google that includes a basic overview, location information, photos, 30-second videos, quick links and reviews. Verified users have the power to edit their profile at any time.

“It’s not meant to replace your website,” Penfil explained. “It’s meant to enhance what people see online.”

Penfil compared Google to a library with millions of books, and a website to a book with multiple pages.

Google utilizes search engine optimization, or SEO. It searches its index and reads every book to help searchers find the most relevant information.

Creating a business profile, which appears on the right side of the Google search results page, is the first step one could take to make their business more likely to appear in a Google search, she said.

Business owners should also ensure that if they have verified profiles on other search engines, the names all match up.

“In today’s world, it’s all about consistency on the web,” she said.

A Google business profile allows verified users to write a short description of their business, provide links to their website and social media profiles, plus more.

Forty percent of local business searchers want to know the hours of operation before deciding to visit, Penfil said, and profile managers can also update for special hours around the holidays, for example.

The address listed on a profile links right to Google Maps, but those who run a business out of their home can hide this from public view.

Once this basic information is listed, Penfil reminded business owners to monitor their profile regularly, and not to “set it and forget it.”

Google My Business also allows users to make various posts directly on their profile, including announcements, products, offers and business information, which remain active for seven days.

Event posts, however, don’t expire until the event has passed.

With 90 percent of customers being more likely to visit a business that has photos on its search results page, Penfil encouraged businesses to post photos and videos on their profile often.

Customers can also add posts to a business profile, such as a photo of a meal with a restaurant review.

Businesses should build brand loyalty by responding to all reviews, both positive and negative, as everyone can see them online, she added.

“It’s not one to one anymore, it’s one to millions,” Penfil said.

Other features include direct messaging for customers, an appointment booking option and “optional attributes” that let people learn more about a business.

Examples Penfil mentioned are “veteran owned business,” “woman owned business,” or even having a parking lot at your business.

Users can also set up a basic website based on their business profile information.

Google My Business is free, she reminded, so users should ignore spam phone calls that ask for money to renew or maintain a business profile.

Penfil encouraged verified business owners to download the Google My Business mobile app, which has more capabilities for profile editing than the desktop version.

To get started on a business profile, visit Additional free online training and tools could be found at, Penfil added, and at, businesses can sign up to receive a free set of marketing materials based on their business profile.

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