Guide to Google My Business
Nothing can help a local business get going better than a free Google My Business account. It’s probably the most important factor that will help you grow your business at a steady pace as most people looking for local businesses use Google to find what they need. The idea is to help you create a strong footprint for your business, making sure that people find you, rather than your competition.
Our ultimate Guide to Google My Business will help you set up your GMB account, and we will take you through all of the necessary steps you need to take to fully optimize your website. What may seem complicated or time-consuming really isn’t that difficult and will be so rewarding in the long run. So, keep reading and learn how to manage your Google My Business account according to the best practices.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business was previously known as Google Local and Google Places, and is Google’s native platform that allows you to list your business on Google and make sure that it appears in local searches. Whenever someone searches for the type of product or service you offer, your business will appear in a few different places. Of course, you can manually manage the information displayed on each individual place.
The platform is an absolute must if you want to increase the visibility of your business. You have to provide the correct information to make sure that your listing appears in the right places so that Google’s search engine can help prospects find you easier.
These places include the knowledge panel, G maps, and the local pack. If you combine that with the right SEO and PPC campaigns, your business will grow faster than you can imagine. Now, let’s take a look at what benefits you will get by creating your Google My Business listing.
What benefits does it bring?
As a local business, you must do whatever you can to increase the chances of making sales. Creating a Google My Business listing is one of the best methods you can do that, and as such, it provides a number of benefits you should be aware of.
In short, it allows your customers to reach you easier, it increases your overall visibility, and it allows you to provide important information about your offer directly to customers. Here’s an overview of the benefits you can expect to get by creating a Google My Business listing.
1 - The perfect opportunity to appear on listings that would otherwise be unavailable
Without a GMB listing, your company will not appear on Google Maps or the local pack. That means that your knowledge panel could provide inaccurate information, and won’t get the views you need. These listings can help your business stand out in the crowd, which is why you should create one as soon as possible.
2 - The ability to gather and include reviews about your business
A Google My Business listing will allow you to get reviews from satisfied customers. You can then use those reviews to provide proof of the quality of your work, services or product, to increase sales and create a strong foothold on the local market.
Social proof is a key factor for the success of any business as potential customers will decide to call you much easier. If you get five-star reviews regularly, they will help you grow your business faster than anything else. Reviews are a key ranking factor for local pack results, and since all other similar businesses are doing the same, you won’t get far without them.
3 - Gain valuable insights into your business
One of the not so obvious benefits of using Google My Business is the fact that you’ll be able to get some valuable insights into your business and analytics that would otherwise be impossible to find. That includes information like:
- How many views you get on your profile, posts, and reviews.
- What keywords people use to find your business.
- Your overall engagement rate.
- The opportunity to profile your audience.
- The total number of phone calls, website clicks, and direction queries.
Keep in mind that you can get this information only if you set up and optimize your GMB account correctly. Guide to Google My Business – Let’s take a look at exactly what you have to do to get that done.
How to create a Google My Business listing
Without further ado, let’s take a look at each step you have to complete when creating a Google My Business account to ensure that you get the most out of it.
Step One - Create a new Google account
First thing’s first. Head to Google My Business and create a new Google account using your business email address. If you find that you already have a GMB page listing, delete it and create a new one. So, let’s assume that you don’t find your business listing. In that case, click on “Add your business to Google,” and fill out all of the details.
Enter the name of your business, select the right category from the available options. Then select the location of your store or headquarters (you can skip this if you don’t have a physical premises, but know that your business will not appear on Google Maps if you do that). You can now add your address, and follow the steps until you’ve covered everything. Once you’ve set up your GMB account, the next step is to claim and verify it.
Step Two - Claim your business
This step is very important, and you should do it immediately after creating the listing. Start by searching for your business’s listing on Google Maps. If you find it right away, the next step is to claim it by clicking on “Claim this business.”
Google will then ask you a few questions about your business. That includes the name of the business, the address, phone number, and hours of operation. Complete all of the forms and when prompted make sure to upload a few high-quality photos to encourage customers to visit your business website by clicking on the listing.
When everything is done, Google will then send a postcard to the address you’ve entered to confirm the location. It’s a physical postcard that will arrive in the mail, usually within a few days, and this contains a code you will then have to enter on Google to confirm that you are the business owner. After you do that, you will claim your GMB account, and it will become active immediately.
One important thing to keep in mind is that Google allows edits and suggestions from anyone to any business account. The feature allows consumers to alert Google in case a business ceases trading or changes its information. Sometimes disingenuous competitors use this feature to change the information you entered, without you even knowing. That’s why you should check your GMB listing regularly to make sure that everything is up to date.
Step Three - Verify your business
Although we’ve already covered this step above, we’re going to give you another method you can use to verify your GMB listing. The method we’ve already mentioned is via the code you receive by postcard sent to your address by Google. However, that’s a less popular method because it takes a few days for the postcard to reach your address.
The best and the fastest method of verifying your business is by an automated phone call directly from Google. That way, your listing will become active right away, so you won’t have to wait a few days. Both methods provide the same results, so you can use either one to verify your GMB listing.
Step Four - Optimize the profile
After you verify your listing, you will have to fill out all the details about your business. Make sure that you complete everything as soon as possible, and be as concrete and accurate as you can while you do it. Completing this the right way will increase your website’s traffic from local searches and give you a competitive edge over your competitors.
Enter the information requested without adding any taglines, products, and so on. However, do include keywords in your business description and your website’s title tag. Complete all of the steps and then add a short 750-character description about your business. Keep in mind that only 250 characters will be available for others to see, so make the description as compelling as you possibly can. Avoid using self-promotion and write only about what your business offers.
Also, make sure that you upload a few high-resolution photos and videos to make your business more appealing for prospects. That includes a cover photo, a profile photo, and a few additional photos that show the interior and exterior of your business, a few popular products, a group photo of your employees, or a few photos of happy customers.
Download the app
Google My Business comes with a complimentary app that allows you to fully manage your listings directly from your smartphone or tablet. You will be able to respond to reviews, message customers, edit your profile, upload photos, see how your listings are doing, and even manage multiple locations simultaneously.
The app is designed to make everything about managing GMB listings easier and faster than the original website.
Guide to Google My Business - Conclusion
The Google My Business platform provides you with the perfect way of creating a strong business footprint locally. It will help you increase your visibility, and if done right, it will increase your website’s traffic and help potential customers find you much easier.
Managing your GMB listings is very simple, and over time, you’ll be able to rank your listings even better after you get a better understanding of how everything works. The bottom line is that you really need a Google My Business listing if you want to get any competitive edge over your competitors.
Good luck with your future business ventures!