What is Google My Business
If you’ve never heard of Google My Business (GMB), it’s an easy-to-use and free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google search and maps. This includes listing your business name, location, hours, monitoring and replying to customer reviews, adding photos and more.
With the majority of individuals leaning on the internet for information, it is essential for you to have a google business profile.
Your Online Business Card
Think of your google business profile as your online business card. It’s a one-stop shop for your customers to get all the information they need about your business.
How often do you go on Google and check out a company’s information before committing to going there? We think it’s safe to assume, a lot. In fact, 1 in 3 people conducts a google search on their smartphone before visiting a store. Even more so 97% of consumers check a company’s online presence before deciding to visit them. Without a GMB presence, it’s a missed opportunity of exposure.
It also allows you to quickly give your potential customers all the information regarding your company. Your business listing shows your phone number, address (if applicable), website, store hours, products or services, reviews and a company statement. Instead of consumers having to go onto your website to find the information they need, they are able to find everything right from their browser.
Not only can a local business benefit from GMB but purely online business or service area business can as well! Although online businesses might not be able to take advantage of all the features, it’s still a great way to get in front of your customers. Plus a google business listing helps with local SEO which allows you to be found by more people!
Here’s an example of a GMB business listing store front of a cafe in Waterloo called Princess Cafe.
How to Set up your Google My Business Account
Now that you understand why you should have a google my business account, it’s time to set it up:
- Go to Google My Business
- Enter your Business Name
- Match your business or create a new profile (GMB may recognize you)
- Set your location and service area
- Enter contact information
- Do you want to receive updates?
- Verify your account
- Set your business hours
- Do you want to add messaging?
- Add Category Details
- Write your description
- Set your account logo and supporting images
Step 1 – Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “manage now”
Step 2 – Enter your Business Name
For this example we will use the name Bees Coffee. There might be a chance that your business listing already exists if you didn’t create it. This is because a Business Profile is simply a place on Google Maps, which any person or computer can add.
Step 3 – Business Profile (Match vs. Create)
If you don’t see your business profile come up, Google will ask you to create a profile as you’re entering a new business onto their database. Your business name is already filled out so you’ll want to add your business category. If you do have a business profile already listed it will most likely ask you to put in contact information.
Step 4 – Location Settings
It’s going to ask if you want to add a business location. For local businesses click yes and put in your address, that way you can appear on Google maps. For online businesses or service area businesses click no and put in your service areas. You can enter in any service areas you’d like (ie. country, province/state, city)
If you have an address it’s going to ask an additional question; do you service customers outside of your area?
Step 5 – Contact Details
It will then ask you to put in the contact details that you want to show up for your customers. You may skip this step if you want but it is recommended that you complete it. If you don’t have a physical address it will require you to put in either a phone number or a website.
Want to learn more about how to leverage Google My Business and get in front of your customers?
Step 6 – Updates
It will then ask you if you want to stay in the know and receive updates. This is up to your discretion.
Step 7 – Verification
You will now have to verify your account. GMB sends a postcard with a verification code to the address that you put near the beginning if you’re a brick and mortar store. Or it will ask you to put in your mailing address if no physical location was provided. Your Google my business listening won’t appear until it is verified.
Step 8 – Add your business hours
Step 9 – Messaging
Add messaging (not required). This allows anyone who finds you on google to send your business a message
Step 10 – Add Dining Modes
In the example provided, I selected my business category as ‘cafe’, because of this GMB asked me specific questions related to my category. As shown in the image below, Google wants to know whether we offer curbside pickup. The questions listed here will differ depending on your previous business information.
Step 11 – Add a business description
If you have one ready to go then that’s great! If you still need time to think about it you can skip this step and add it in later.
Step 12 – Add in photos
Similar to the previous step, if you have photos ready then that’s great, if not you can skip it and add photos later. You will want to add your logo, cover photo and a few general business images. The cover photo size is 1080×680 pixels, with a size range of 10 kb to 5 mb, JPG or PNG.
Step 13 – You’re done!
You have now set up your google my business account. This is your dashboard.
5 Ways to Optimize your Google My Business Account
Now that you have set up your Google My Business account it’s time to make sure you are using it to the maximum! Here are a few tips that you can use to optimize your account.
- Fill out your whole Google business profile
- Give google as much information as possible. Anything and everything you provide makes it easier for google to match your business to customer searches. In other words it improves your ranking.
- Standout with photos
- When you create your Google business account, you’ll be able to add a logo and cover photo—much like you would on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Without these images, it will be harder for people to recognize your brand online.
- Post news, updates and special offers
- Sign in to Google My Business and open the location you’d like to manage.
- From the left hand menu, click Posts.
- Choose the type of post you’d like to create from the options given.
- Enter the relevant information in each field. Copy should include necessary details and be concise. Avoid commercial slang and too much punctuation (!!!!!).
- Click Preview to double check formatting and spelling. If you need to make an edit, click the back arrow.
- When you’re ready, click Publish.
- Add special features, attribute, and services
- Hotels can display class ratings and list amenities offered
- Restaurants and bars can upload menus, showcase popular dishes, and add a link for online orders and reservations
- Service-oriented businesses can display service menus and add a booking button
- Small and medium-sized companies can add product catalogs
- By providing this information Google can match even more keywords with customer searches
- Encourage Customers to leave reviews and respond to them!