As a small business owner, you no doubt know that Google My Business is one of the most powerful online marketing tools available.  Recent data compiled by Net Market Share shows that Google controls nearly 76 percent of all desktop search traffic worldwide.

That’s not to say that you should focus exclusively on Google.  You should also engage in social networking and submit your business to a variety of local and industry directories. But Google is the undisputed 800 lb. gorilla of online marketing, so appearing in Google’s local results can be marketing gold for your retreat center.

Unfortunately, many retreat center owners and marketers are confused about exactly how to claim and optimized their Google My Business listings.  A lot of the confusion can be attributed to the seemingly endless changes that Google has implemented in recent years and keeping up with these changes has been challenging even for seasoned marketing professionals.

This guide to using Google My Business to promote your retreat center will address some of the most common questions and misconceptions many small business owners have about Google My business.

A Brief History of Google My Business

In 2009 Google launched Places Pages, which gave way to Google + Local in 2012, which ultimately morphed into Google My Business in 2014.  Here’s a great infographic that traces the path, and sheds some light on the confusion many business owners have.

Evolution of Google My Business

Infographic credit:

What is Google My Business?

Understanding what Google My Business is, will help you understand why it’s such an important online marketing tool for your retreat center, so let’s start with the basics.  Google My Business is basically how your business shows up on Google.  Google My Business listings include your business name, address, phone number hours of operation, photos, and customer reviews.

Where Does My Google My Business Listing Appear?

Your listing can appear in Google’s Local Maps results, and in the Local Three Pack that appears along with the organic results for many local search results.  As the name indicates, the Three Pack includes up to three listings, and appears below the paid ads and above the organic results.

Google results for the query “retreat centers in Houston Texas”:

Google Three Pack

Close-up of Three Pack for “retreat centers near Houston.”  Note the Website and Driving Directions links:

Google My Business Three Pack Close Up

Clicking on the top result above opens this Map result:

Google My Business isting in maps results


How Do I Create or Claim My Google My Business Listing?

If your retreat center has been in business for any amount of time, chances are you already have a Google My Business listing that you can claim.  Start by going to and sign in with the Google account you use to manage your business.  Click on the Start Now button.  Begin typing your business name in the appropriate field.  Your business name and address should appear:

Google My Business Business Looks Similar


Follow the steps to complete the process of verifying your listing.

What if Someone Else Has Already Claimed My Listing?

If your retreat center’s Google My Business listing has already been verified by someone else, you will see this message:

Google My Business someone already verified this listing

If this happens, Google suggests trying a different Gmail address if you have one.  When you sign in using a different Gmail address, you will see any Google My Business listings that you have verified using this account. If you still don’t see your business, you will need to contact the current Google My Business listing owner by clicking on the Request ownership button.

If you don’t get a response from the owner, you may email them.  This video takes you through the steps of contacting the current owner.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful, and that you’ll check our our upcoming posts, where we’ll discuss how to use the Google My Business dashboard to:

  • Update business information, like holiday hours
  • Share photos
  • Share updates on Google+
  • Advertise using Google AdWords Express
  • Add a virtual tour of your retreat center
  • Manage and respond to reviews to increase your visibility

Did you find this information helpful?  Please share it.

Have additional tips or advice you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post a comment below.


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