How many of you use Google search to find the “best restaurants near me,” “bakery shop near me,” and many more?
Are you nodding your heads? I am.
But have you ever wondered, your potential customers might be searching your business the similar way you look for other local businesses?
And if your business doesn’t pop up on local searches, estimate the money you are leaving on the table.
Building your online local presence has become crucial to receive a constant flow of foot traffic. Google My Business (GMB) is an inseparable piece of this entire local marketing puzzle.
Now the fun part. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to set an eye-catching, search-engine-winning Google My Business profile. Anyone can create it with simple changes for extraordinary results.
This actionable guide will give you a step-by-step process to build your GMB profile and set it apart from others.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
What Is Google My Business?
Why Is Google My Business Important?
How to Setup Google My Business and Get Your Business Listed on Google?
How to verify your GMB profile?
How to Optimize Your GMB Listing?
Frequently Asked Questions for Google My Business
Let’s get started…
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool allowing you to add, edit, optimize, and maintain your Business Profile on Google.
Your Business Profile is Google’s phrase for your Google business listing. Your Business Profile shows up on Google Maps and in the local search results of Google.
In other words, Google My Business lets you take care of how to show your business on Google Search and Maps.
Here’s how Business Profiles look on local Google searches.
Here’s the snapshot of Business Profiles on Google Maps:
Setting up your Business Profile is like adding your business place to Google Maps. Anyone can do it by following a couple of steps.
All that Google asks for is your business name, category, and location. Once Google confirms that your business doesn’t already exist, they will create your Business Profile for the mentioned location. This profile is then open for customers to give reviews, add photos, ask questions, and even answer queries.
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Is Google My Business free?
Yes! It’s completely free to create your Google My Business account, set your Business Profile, and see your business appearing on Google Maps.
The only requirement for using GMB is that you must have some in-person interaction with your consumers. In other words, you can’t go 100% online.
ATMs and seasonal businesses are exceptions, though. But still, you need to maintain some face-to-face visits.
Why Is Google My Business Important?
Whether you create your Business Profile or not, Google will still fetch your information from across the web and list your business.
It means your Business Profile can still exist on its own on Google without having your Google My Business account. But you don’t have any control over managing the information it presents on search results or the reviews it gathers.
This is where Google My Business comes into play.
Creating your Google My Business account means having access to update and improve your Business Profile on Google, all for FREE.
So it’s important to make sure the information appearing on Google about your business is complete, up-to-date, and well-optimized.
Besides, here are four reasons to use Google My Business and turn your Business Profile on Google listing a customer-driving local marketing tool.
Conduct local SEO
If you are a regular searcher for “near me” products or services, you must have noticed that the first thing popping up on search results is Google Maps, followed by three local businesses you can visit.
Similar to how Google has algorithms to rank your website and ads, it has algorithms to rank your Business on Google.
By adding keywords to your Business Profile and implementing optimization tactics, you can secure your place in local search results like this:
The first three results appearing local search are popularly known as local 3-pack.
GMB directly helps you make your way to top local search results and earn in-person visits from consumers who are more likely to buy from you.
Interact with consumers
While your Business Profile offers many ways to connect with your customers, you can also use your Google My Business account to interact back. You can answer queries, respond to reviews, allow direct messaging, and set up alerts. You can publish posts on your Business Profile the same way you would with Instagram and other social media channels.
Here’s an example of the owner responding to reviews on their Business Profile.
Spotlight your business
A Business Profile has little room for your business information. But your Google My Business accounts let you add the number of hours your business is open and close, your website link, products, pricing, features, and other details. All this combined gives your business a unique appearance.
Here’s how a well-optimized business profile looks like on Google Maps:
A complete Business Profile portrays a full picture of your business on Google, including your best products and features.
Gateway to insights
Your Google My Business dashboard is a gateway to key insights about your targeted audience and your local search performance.
The platform’s analytics tab includes:
Queries your customers use to search your Business Profile
How did they find your business? Via Google Maps or Google Search.
Encyclopedia of actions performed on your listing
How are your photos performing as compared to other profiles?
How To Setup Your Google My Business Account and Get Your Business Listed on Google?
Setting up your Google My Business profile is the first and foremost step of local SEO.
Follow these steps to create your Google My Business profile.
This URL takes you to the Google My Business homepage.
If you’re not signed in to your Google account, it will ask you to sign in.
If you’re already signed in, click the “Manage Now” button.
Step 2: Set your business name
Once you sign in, if you are not listed, it will ask you to enter the name of your business.
Enter your business name.
Step 3: Choose your business category:
Specifying your business category is crucial to show up on Google’s search results page when potential customers are looking for a product or service you provide.
So take your time and choose accurately:
Then click next.
Google My Business will ask you whether you want to enter your location or not.
Adding a location is not necessary. You can skip it by clicking “No”. However, you still have to enter your country and contact number or website URL.
For this example, let’s assume we have a brick-and-mortar store. Select “Yes”, click “Next”, and move forward.
Step 4: Set your business address
Enter your business address like country, street address, state, etc.
Step 5: Set your location
Simply place your marker to the exact location on the map where your business exists.
Press the “Next” button again.
Then it will ask if you offer deliveries or home and office visits. If you select “Yes”, you can add areas where your business provides deliveries or visits. It appears on your Business Profile. It’s optional, though.
Let’s select “No” here:
Step 6: Add your contact information
Adding your contact information to your GMB account is optional. But it’s highly recommended as it gives your customers a direct way to get in touch with you.
Visitors can contact you directly using your phone number. Or they will know more about your products or services through your website, where you have many opportunities to convert them.
In extras, your local ranking will elevate a bit each time a visitor lands on your website, gets directions, calls you, or even places an order.
Note: You can select “I don’t need a website” if you don’t have one. Or choose the “Get a free website based on your info” option. It will allow you to create mobile-optimized websites. Click “see details” to read more about how the process works.
Let’s click “Next” here and tell GMB whether you want to receive updates and recommendations for your business.
Choose your option and click “Next”.
Step 7: Verify your business
It’s time to verify your business.
Google needs proof that your business exists where you say it is, and it’s entirely new to GMB. For that, you have five options to verify your GMB listing:
Postcards are the easiest way to verify your business. Just add your business address to Google My Business, and it will mail you a postcard with a verification code.
Note! Don’t edit your business name, category, or address while you’re waiting for the verification postcard. This may slow down your verification process.
Don’t edit your business name, address, or category, or request a new code while you’re waiting—this may delay the verification process.
While phone verification is the fastest way to verify your GMB listing, this option is not available for everyone. Eligible businesses can see the “Verify by phone” option in their verification process.
You can request a text message sent on your phone or choose to receive an automated call. The system will provide a 5-digit code to enter into the given code field.
Again, only eligible businesses can see the “Verify by email” option available during the verification process. If you have this option, make sure the email id presented on the screen is correct, and you can access it.
Once you enter your email address and click “verify now”, you will receive the verification code with an activation link in your inbox.
Instant verification is available for businesses that are already verified with the Google search console. Sign in to your Google My Business account with the same account you use for Google Search Console to avail this option.
If your business exists in more than 10 locations, you can proceed with Bulk Verification. Let’s say you have a cafe chain with 20 locations; your business might be eligible for this.
Once you sign in to your Google My Business account, click “Get verified” next to one of your branches and then choose “Chain”. Submit all your details along with the verification form. Google may take a week to review your details and check your form.
And that’s it. You have your GMB listing all ready and verified.
Now let’s learn to optimize your business profile to bring more value to your business.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing?
Submitting the basic information to Google My business is just a foot in the door.
As you know, showing up at the very top of a Google local search results is like gold dust.
So request customers to write reviews by creating a link they can click and leave feedback for your business.
Let customers message you
It may feel uncomfortable sometimes, but allowing customers to message you improve your conversion rate.
Google My Business lets you enable customer messaging. Tap “Messages” in your GMB account and then click “Turn on messaging”:
Once allowed, customers can message you via the Message button that appears on your Business Profile.
You can set customized automated responses to welcome your messaging customers. It encourages responsiveness, and hence visibility increases.
For maximum benefit of messages, keep your response time within 24 hours as customers don’t like to wait for days to receive answers to their simple queries. A fast response can put you ahead of your competitors.
Create Local Posts
Local Posts are mini-blogs in GMB listings. You can publish your products, services, upcoming offers, and events directly to Google Search and Maps via Google My Business.
To create posts, click “Posts” in your GMB account:
Local Posts help you engage with the audience and keep your profile fresh on Google. You can create them on the go with your phone, tablet, or computer using the Google My Business app.
Here are some more tips to get the most out of your Google My Business Posts:
Keep your posts free from grammatical errors, broken letters, or pointless information.
Use respectful and non-offensive language.
Add visuals and links but make sure the links redirect to trusted sites.
Links leading to viruses, malware, or pornographic sites are not allowed.
Businesses operating on goods and services, like alcohol and tobacco, can create posts but can’t publish content relevant to their products.
Stay updated and connected during COVID-19
COVID-19 has been the biggest jaw-dropper of the year. If such situations arise, businesses should update their GMB profiles with necessary COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions to deliver accurate customer information. You must be knowing the SEO techniques to recover from the covid 19 situations.
Along with customizable business hours, Local Posts, you can:
Make your store closed.
Maintain various delivery options.
Add healthy and safety features.
Frequently Asked Questions for Google My Business
How do I access my Google business page?
Visit the link: https://business.google.com/ to find your business. Or sign in to your Gmail account and search for “My Business” in Google apps at the top right corner. You can also download Google My Business app to manage your account.
Is a physical address essential to create a Google My Business profile?
You can create Google My Business only if you have a physical location where customers can visit or travel to customers where they are. An SEO agency could help you in this regard.
Is Google my business shutting down?
Google My Business is here to stay. Google+ will shut down.
How long does it take for my business to appear on Google?
It takes 3-4 days (plus the time you take to set up a GMB account) for a new business to show up on the GMB listing.
Can I list more than one location on a Google My Business account?
Yes, you can create, verify, and manage multiple locations using a single Google My Business account.
What if someone has already claimed my Google My Business listing?
If someone else has already claimed your Google My Business Listing, you have to find out who owns it and submit a transfer ownership request.
How do I change the address on a Google My Business profile?
Sign in to your Google My Business account. Tap “Info” in the left-hand menu. Find your address field and click the pencil icon to edit or update your address.
How do I add questions and answers to a Google My Business listing?
Google search your business and navigate your listing to find the “questions and answers” zone. When you see them, select the “answer” to the question you want to respond to.
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