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We cannot get enough of Google My Business. If you aren’t on there, you NEED to be.
The thing is, why wouldn’t you want to capture those prospective clients who are exploring local search terms that are relevant to you and your business? More often than not, these consumers have already made the decision to purchase.
If looked after well and kept up to date, Google My Business can help you improve your visibility amongst local customers and help you rank better for locally searched terms. That’s a big tick for brand awareness.
In this article, we introduce you to what Google My Business is, what a listing includes, why you need it, the power of optimizing it and how to get set up on it.
What is Google My Business?
Google is a living, breathing online ecosystem. It is a world within a world and in that world, resides Google My Business. You guessed it; it is an online platform that lets businesses manage their online presence across Planet Google. Once you create an account, you can add what is called a ‘business listing’.
You won’t be a complete stranger to it. A Google My Business listing is the information box that appears on the right-hand side of a Google search engine page whenever you search for a business name or location.
In another life, Google My Business was called Google Places and Google+ Business.
Google My Business is a platform that intertwines other aspects of Google that include Google search results, Google Maps, Google+ into one customised listing. This is all a recipe to show a potential client’s information about your business.
Considering Google’s stamp on the online world and its place in search engines, every business really should be on here.
What does a listing include?
Your Google My Business can include:
Business name, address, and phone number
Google Map pin on their location
An official link to your business website
Your business’ operational hours, inclusive of holidays
Business category and industry
Photos and 30-second videos of your business
Call to action links like online orders or reservations
Additional features and attributes like if pets are allowed, outdoor seating, WiFi facility etc.
What are the costs associated?
There are no upfront costs. That is right, Google My Business is free. If you are a company that desires to use Google ads to advertise and increase visibility, then there are of course costs involved. But to create an account and to keep it up to date will cost you nothing. Yep, no excuses now!
Why is it important?
We are sure you must know by now that Google My Business is important. The aim of Google’s game is to smoothen the user experience. Their entire business model is about being the unparalleled best search engine in existence. If you were hopping on the internet and never found what you were looking for, you would be going to another search engine right? Google wants every user to get what they are looking for ASAP.
Now, wouldn’t it be imperative to communicate all the relevant information to your potential customers immediately? Yep, we think so too.
Google My Business will make you more accessible to prospective customers! As a local business, you need local folks to know you exist. This powerful tool puts local businesses in front of the eyeballs of potential customers in your area. This is your chance to come in best dressed and to build a strong foundation with new customers. To top it all off, this is your sure-fire chance to ensure your listing on Google is accurate and up to date.
You have heard us rave about how important optimizing your business website is. The same rule goes for Google My Business. Yep, you will appear in local search results, but what about those outside the location boundaries set by Google? This is where you got to optimize it!
How do you optimize your Google My Business page to get found by people outside the specified range? It does involve a bit of a complex algorithm, but for starters, you should get your business to be on other third-party directory listings. Ask us about this and we can get you sorted.
How to Create a Google My Business Listing?
It is actually extremely easy and was made for seamless user experience. We have created a fast and simple 8-step guide to setting yourself up on Google My Business.
Log in to your Google account
If you didn’t already know, GMB listings are directly tied in with your Google account. The account that you use here will have the administrator rights over the listings from this point forward. Make sure you have this step nailed with adequate security measures. The last thing you want is to lose access to your GMB listing, it can be a complex process to recover.
Go to the GMB page
Once you get here, click on the ‘Manage Now’ button that can be found on the upper-right hand corner. You can sign in your Google account from step one here (if you haven’t already). Follow the prompts from here.
Fill in the details and tell Google the name of your business
As we mentioned before, Google My Business was called Google My Places in a past life. If you had a listing on Google My Places before, you’ll be able to select your business from the menu as you begin typing your business name.
If you don’t have one, now is the time to create one. Follow the prompts!
Enter your location
You will be asked if your business has a physical location that customers can visit. If you do, then select ‘Yes’ and then proceed to ‘Next’. You will then be taken to a page where you can enter your physical address details. Ensure you fill this out accurately!
Ensure to tell Google if you serve your customers elsewhere too
Now is your opportunity to inform those prospective customers if you are more than just a local hustle. This option is perfect for companies that might have home-based services, like pest control or plumbing. This option is also ideal for those businesses who serve customers in other locations, like a car towing company or a shuttle service.
Once you answer this section, a window will pop up that asks more questions about your service area. It is imperative to take care during this step. After all, you want your business to be showing up in search enquiries within your service area, right?
Select your business category
After completing the above steps, Google will take you to a page that gets you to select your business category. Doing this step accurately will ensure that Google will sort out your business listing in relation to relevant industry searches.
Provide your business contact details
As the step might suggest, here is where you supply Google My Business with your phone number, website address and any other contact details for your company.
Did you know, Google also offers the ability to generate a basic website for those who don’t have a website a present?
Finish your submission and verify your details
We have arrived at the final stage of the process. When you have completed step 7, you are done. Now just click “Finish” to submit. Don’t worry, things change over time and Google acknowledges that. You can always go back and edit any information that needs to be corrected at a later date.
Optimize your Google My Business Listing
Now that you have set up your Google My Business (GMB) listing, the first step towards attracting traffic from local search, do verify the same before you optimize to make the most of this feature. It may take some time, but it’s never too difficult to optimize your Google My Business Listing. Here are a few easy steps to make your Google listing really effective:
Leave no stone unturned for your brand’s listing: Add as many details about your business as required by filling up the fields. Narrow down the details to the last bit so that users can find your business even when they drill down the search results.
If you’ve already researched keywords for your website’s SEO process, they can also be used as search phrases to your GMB listing. This is also considered as an important ranking signal for Local SERP.
Do you operate your business after 6 pm?
Keep your business operating hours as accurate as possible, and keep them updated in the event of changes. Use features to update hours for holidays and any specials events whenever required.
Listen to your customers first:
Customers usually leave their reviews and ratings based on either a satisfying or annoying experience with your product or service. Encourage your customers to leave a review on your GMB listing page, and provide a link that leads them to the same page. It is important to listen to your customers and address their concerns immediately based on their ratings and reviews.
An image can speak a thousand words:
What are the images that Google recommends businesses to post on the GMB listing? Start off with your brand logo image to identify yourself with potential customers. Next, post the cover photo—whose information can be edited in Google AboutMe—that reflects the brand page’s personality. Additional photos related to products or services, company environment, customer support, staff/employees in action or others that help promote your business are recommended. Follow Google guidelines for the proper image format for submission.
Last but not least, it is important to check your GMB Insights regularly and understand how your customers touch base with it online.
Now that you know why it is important and imperative for your business to be on Google My Business and how to get set up on Google My Business. Let us get your listing underway!