What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool provided by Google. A google my business listing allows companies to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Search and Maps.
A Google My Business listing typically includes your business name, location; opening ours; replying to customer reviews; uploading photos: adding Google posts: direct customer messages and learning how people are searching for your business.
Google is kind of an “engagement platform” for local consumers and businesses and can be seen as a kind of “lite CRM” tool for small businesses.
A well optimised GMB listing is a great tool and forms the cornerstone of all of your local SEO efforts.
What’s the point of Google My Business?
So why the need for a local listing tool? Above all, Google is in the business of serving search results, right? As a result, they want to serve the best possible results for a given query. With that in mind, here’s an interesting stat.
46% of all Google searches are local.
Google understands that someone searching from Chesterfield using the search term “SEO Near me” probably wants to see results from Chesterfield, not New York!
How does Google My Business help local businesses?
Having a Google My Business listing can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack. However, I won’t go into too much detail about local SEO; we have a post here that discusses that in more detail.
Note; Remember Google My Business is a FREE tool. Therefore there is no reason you shouldn’t claim your listing! To learn how to create your Google My Business account and make your listing as strong as possible, read on.
So how do you create your Google My Business listing?
- Create a Google account
- Create your Google My Business listing
- Verify your business
- Optimise your GMB listing
1) Create a Google account
To claim your listing, you will need a Google account. Therefore, If you do not already have one, get started here https://myaccount.google.com by clicking the ‘Create a Google Account’. Once you have an account, make sure you are logged in. This account will eventually be associated with your GMB listing.
2) Create your Google My Business listing
Step 1, Make sure you are logged in to the Google account you want to be associated with your business (created as above).
Step 2, Go to https://business.google.com and select “Add location” in the top right-hand corner. After that, you have the option of ‘Add single location’ or ‘Import locations’. For this tutorial, choose ‘Add single location’.
Step 3, Enter your business name.
Step 4, Add a location that customer can visit. Similarly, if you work from home or remotely, you would probably want to choose ‘No’. However, for this exercise, we will select ‘Yes’. Click next.
Step 5, If you choose yes to the above step, you will now need to enter the address.
Step 6, You now have the option of choosing if you serve customers outside the location you entered above in step 5. However, if you do, in the next step, you can specify areas that you serve. Therefore, they will show up on your listing and help bring relevant customers.
Step 7, Choose the category that fits your business best. Choose your business category. However, try to choose the most accurate category possible, as you’re telling Google which type of customers should see your listing.
Step 8, Choose the contact details that you want to show to customers. A full list of contact options help customers get in touch, so try and fill in all relevant details.
Step 9, Finish and verify this business. Finally, click the ‘Finish’ button. Google will now create the listing location. Next step is to verify the business.
3) Verify your business.
To manage your business information in Search, Maps and other Google properties, you must verify your business listing. In addition, the verification process helps make sure that your business information is accurate and that only you, the business owner or manager, has access to it.
Here is Google’s video explaining how best to verify your business, which can vary depending on the type of business. However, it can take up to a week for Google to review and process your claim.
4) Optimise your GMB listing
A common mistake that people make is that thinking the job is done once they have claimed and verified their listing. Google My Business has a few features that you can use to optimise your listing and keep the listing relevant and up to date. It’s also worth noting that other people can actually suggest edits to your listing even though you have claimed it as your own. So it’s worth checking regularly.
So let’s make sure your listing is as good as it can be!
Go to the Google My Business listing you want to edit. in the dashboard select “Info,” and then choose a section to fill out or update. Add as much information as you can, clicking the pencil next to the field you’d like to edit, making your change, and then choosing “Apply.”
Google My Business Posts
Google Posts are like “mini social media posts” that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps). To get started with Posts, log in to your GMB dashboard, and you’ll see the Posts option on the left-hand side.
Create your post, add an image, a strong call to action and perhaps a link to your main website.
A few ideas for posts include;
- Events such as a seminar, presentation, webinar. Remember to add the date, time and link to the registration page
- Promotions such as sales/discounts
- New product or service you want to feature and promote
- General message about change to opening hours on bank holidays
Google My Business Photos
We all love a good pic, and according to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
As well as adding your logo, and a cover photo, you can add a bunch of other images. Adding images to your listing is great for you to showcase your products or give a sneak peek behind the scenes of your business, at an event for example.
You can set images for the interior and exterior of your business. Adding images is an excellent opportunity to show your company in the way that you want it displayed, helping you to build up an online persona of your brand.
Google My Business short videos
Videos are a GREAT way to stand out amongst the crowd. Most people are reluctant to do videos, but you shouldn’t be. Don’t be worrying about hiring a pro to take movies, use your smartphone.
In addition, adding videos is a great way to communicate with your audience in a more personal way. However, make sure your videos are taken at the place of business and are of people that work at your company.
Videos must be:
- 30 seconds or less
- 100 MB or less
- 720p resolution or higher
In conclusion, Google My Business is an essential tool for businesses looking to appear in local search listings. Above all, a well optimised Google My Business page will provide an excellent opportunity for you to communicate with your local target audience directly, and for FREE!
Use the tool as part of your SEO strategy, so, get on it and get that listing sorted!