It involves adding the following:
- Business name
- Hours of operation
- Location of your business
- You can also monitor and reply to customer reviews
- You can add images
- Know where people are searching you from and how
However, Google My Business covers a whole lot more which I will cover in this article.
Local SEO is very important as I’m sure you already know. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of people who search for a local business online end up reaching out on the same day.
There are a few things that I will cover in this article including:
- How to create a GMB account for your business
- How to verify your business
- How to optimize your listing
- Downloading the GMB app
- Understanding the difference between Google My Business and other services offered by Google such as Google+ and Google Places.
The first thing you will need to do is log into a Google account that you want to link with your business.
Next, go to google.com/business and click on the top right-hand corner click on ‘Start Now’
This will lead to a couple of prompts asking you for information regarding your business such as the business’ name, the geographical location of the business, etc. Fill out all the required information.
Be sure to check ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ if your business does not have a geographical location that customers can come to.
Google is very considerate in asking these questions. If say you work out of a home office or some other address that you would not like to share, Google offers the option to hid e your address.
There are a number of ways you can verify your Google My Business Listing. They include:
- By Postcard
- By Email
- By Phone
- Bulk Verification
- Instant Verification
If you choose to verify via postcard, ensure that you have entered the right information that is the name of the person who will receive the postcard as well as your business’ address. Take care not to make any edits to your business address until you receive the code via mail. Changing the code before you receive the code might lead to a delay of the information that is being sent to you.
Not all businesses can verify their location via email, but just in case you are eligible, here is how you go about it:
Once you are logged in, ensure that your email address is correct, then click on verify by email.
Next, all you will need to do is check your inbox to retrieve the email that verifies your location.
Not all businesses are eligible to verify their business by phone. If you happen to be one of the few lucky ones, you will see a “Verify by phone” option as soon as you start the verification process.
If you are eligible, then, ensure that your phone number is correct and verify your business number by verifying the code that you receive.
Bulk verification is designed for businesses that operate from multiple locations. However, bulk verification does not apply to service businesses or agencies.
Once you are signed into Google My Business select a location and click on ‘Get Verified’.
Next, you need to click on ‘Chain’
You will then be required to fill out the verification form with your business details including the email address of your Google Account Manager as well as the business manager’s email address.
To optimize your Google My Business listing you will need to fill out your profile. Under ‘Info’ feel free to add as much information as necessary.
Since it is possible for anyone to ‘suggest an edit’ I recommend you get all the information right the first time. Also, you should ensure that the information is regularly updated.
Google encourages businesses to add an image to their Google profile as it has been proven to increase the click rate by up to 35%. In addition, a listing with an image has gets 42% more requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
Your GMB cover photo is one of the most important images you can add to your GMB profile as it is displayed prominently when your business is shown in the results.
Your profile photo is used to identify you when you reply to a review or post a photo. Think of it as an avatar. You are encouraged to upload more than one image in order to make your listing more engaging and informative.
The table below offers some good recommendations as far as images are concerned.
|Type||Description||Minimum Google Recommendations||Suggestions|
|Product||A representation of some of the products offered by your business||At least a single photo for every product or service||Highlight your most popular products and ensure there is proper lighting|
|Exterior||What your business premises looks like from the outside from different directions||Three images||Use images taken at different times of day. This way they will easily identify your business anytime|
|Interior||What does your business look like as far as ambiance and décor are concerned||Three images||Take full length images that give customers an idea of what it feels like to sit or stand|
|Employees||Images of your employees engaging in a business-related activity||Three||Try and include happy customers in the shots|
|Team||A shot of your staff||Three||Use pictures that show team personality|
|Common Areas||Image of where your customers are likely to wait for you such as your lounge||One||Show the diverse range of products you offer|
Unlike images, videos are not a must-have but they do give your profile some variety. If you decide to add some images, I recommend that they be:
- Not more than 30 seconds long
- Not more than 100MB in size
- Not less than 720p resolution
You can encourage more interaction on your profile by responding to existing customer reviews. This in turn will increase your chances of getting more reviews from other customers. You should respond to both positive and negative reviews. Always ensure that you are courteous even when responding to negative reviews instead of attacking the reviewer.
For a long time Google Places used to be the central hub from where you could manage your business’ presence on Google. Now that has changed and Google My Business is the main hub for managing how your business appears on Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+.
To manage your Google My Business even more easily Google provides an app which you can use to:
- Get insight into search
- Post pictures and statuses
- Update your location, business hours, description, and contact information