In this guide, I’m just going to be as simple as possible to help you set up your Google My Business Page.
So, what is Google My Business?
According to Google,
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help potential customers find you and tell them story of your business.
If you ask me, Google My Business is the best solution to create your online presence if you’re just starting off. If you’ve heard about SEO, you will know it takes 3-6 months to see results depending on the competition within your industry. Other than that, Google My Business will help you build awareness among the audience around the city your business is located.
Even if you’re starting off your SEO initiatives, Google My Business is the best place to start off. People often search for products and services nearby them unless they want to purchase something online from Amazon, Lazada, or Shopee. When people search for your product or service in your city, you should show up to those people if you want to stay in the game.
Your information on the Google My Business page needs to be complete, accurate and optimized for ranking.
If you want to learn the fundamentals to create your Google My Business account listed on Google Maps, read on.
We will cover the following aspects of this guide.
- Create Google My Business Account and claim your local business
- Verify your local business
- Optimize your Google My Business Page
- Utilize Google My Business app
GMB is 100% free but unable to utilize its full potential if you’re operating online. You need to have a physical location for your business operation.
Update: Google might charge to offer Premium Features according to Search Engine Journal. Check out the article here
Create Google My Business Listing
Step 1: You need to log in to your Google Account that’s associated with your business ( if you don’t have one create a Google Account by clicking here)
Step 2: Once you log in to your account, go to https://www.google.com/business and click on “START NOW” either in the top right corner or scroll down and click on the button.
Step 3: Enter your business name (refer to the above screenshot) and click Next.
Step 4: Enter your business address which includes your country/region, street address, city, state, and zip code.
Step 5: If your business is to provide products and services at customers’ locations rather them having them visit you make sure to check the box ” I deliver goods and service to my customers”. If you’re working from a co-working space or from home and don’t want to publicly show your address, check the box ” Hide my address (it’s not a store). Click Next once you’re done.
Step 6: Just make sure your location marker is positioned correctly on the map. Click Next.
Step 7: Specify the distance your business covers from your business location. It will help you appear in front of customers you can serve.
Step 8: Choose the best category that represents your business. So, make sure to choose the most accurate category. It will provide an indication to Google on which type of customers should see your business listing.
Step 9: Enter your contact number and website URL. If you want to implement SEO, you need to have a website. I won’t suggest you click on ” I don’t need a website”.
Step 10: Once you’re done with all these details. You can click next and verify your business listing.
How to Verify Your Business Listing on Google
There are a few ways to verify your Google My Business listing:
- By phone
- By postcard
- By email
- Instant verification
- Bulk verification
Verify by phone
Only some business can verify their location by phone. If you’re eligible, you’ll the “verify by phone” option on the verification page. It looks something like the following screenshot.
Step 1: You can either choose “Call” or “Text” if you had entered a mobile number. The text feature won’t be available if you entered a local phone number.
Step 2: Click on Call or Text depending on your phone number.
Step 3: If you choose text, you will receive the verification code. If you click on Call, you will receive an automated call with the verification code. Write it down and enter the verification code.
Verify by Postcard
Verifying by postcard is one of the most common ways to verify your Google My Business Listing.
Step 1: Enter the contact person’s name (should be your name in most cases). It is not a pre-requisite but better to have a contact person’s name.
Step 2: Re-check your business address and make sure it is correct.
Step 3: Click on “Mail” once you’re done checking your details. Your postcard should reach within 1 week if you’re located in the United States. I’m located in Malaysia. When I used to help businesses in Malaysia to get listed it took almost 2 weeks to get the postcard.
Step 4: Once you receive the postcard, log in to your Google My Business account. Click on “Verify Now”.
Step 5: In the verification code field, enter the five-digit verification code that’s stated in the postcard. Click “Submit”
If you fail to receive your postcard or misplace it, you can request the new code again. Just sign in to your Google My Business account and click on ” Request another code” at the top of the screen.
Verify by Email
Google let some businesses verify their account by email. If you’re eligible for this verification method, you’ll see the “verify email” option on the verification page.
Step 1: Log in to your Google My Business account.
Step 2: Double-check your email address and make sure it is correct. Click on ” Verify by email”.
Step 3: Check your inbox for the verification email. Click the Verification button and complete your verification process.
Instant Verification Method
If you’ve verified your website with Google Search Console ( known as Google Webmaster Tool), you can instantly verify your Google My Business Page account if you’re using the same Google account for both.
Step 1: Log in to your Google My Business account and make sure you’ve used the same account for Google Search Console as well (unfortunately some business categories are not eligible for this method).
Step 2: Click on Instant verification and your business listing will be verified immediately.
Bulk Verification Method
If you operate your business in more than ten places, you might be eligible for the bulk verification method. (not 100% guaranteed).
Step 1: Log in to your My Google Business account. If you see Chain in your get verified page, click on it.
Step 2: You need to fill in a lot of information for each location with contact name, phone number, business manager email, and lastly Google Account Manager.
Step 3: Submit the verification form with the required details. You need to wait for Google to process your verification. It will take approximately 2 weeks max.
Once you’ve verified your Google My Business listing, you need to complete your business listing. You need to make your business page as appealing as possible and provide information that attracts the target audience.
Optimizing Google My Business Listing
You should explore every part of your Google My Business listing.
On the left side of your dashboard, you can see many elements; Posts, Info, Insights, Reviews, Messaging, Photos, Websites, and Users.
In this guide, I will cover Info, Photos, and Reviews. Other elements you can easily figure out yourself and it’s nothing related to optimizing your listing.
When you click on the info section, you can see the page like the following:
Just add as much information as possible in this section. Make sure to add all relevant information related to your business. This is because random people can easily suggest an edit to your Google My Business listing when there is inaccurate information about your business.
You don’t want other people to suggest an edit to your listing. Make sure all the information looks accurate without any spelling errors.
Photos For Google My Business
A recent study by Google shows that business with photos gains 35% more clicks to their site and 42% request driving directions in Google Maps.
You need to add appropriate photos related to your business in this section.
For your business logo, the resolution should be 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels in height. The image should be either in JPG or PNG format with a size of 10KB to 5MB.
Next, you should add your cover photo. One of the most important images for your Google My Business listing as it will show up on the search result. The resolution for the cover photo should be 1076 pixels wide by 608 pixels in height.
You can add additional photos in at work and team sections. You want to show the following features of your business:
- Exterior photos – Take photos of your store exterior from different angles. Use at least three images for the exterior of your store. The exterior photos will help customers to recognize your store.
- Interior photos – You want to create a huge impact on your customers. The first impression matters when customers visit your store. How about making that impression even before they visit your store? Add up to 3 photos of your store interior.
- Work photos – If your business is offering services like physiotherapy, you want to show your employees at work. Include 3 photos to showcase the services offered at your place.
- Team photos – Business owners should be proud of their employees. You want to add up photos of your employees from different departments. You can add 3 photos in this section as well.
Make sure to keep your photos professional to create a positive impression with your potential customers visiting your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business Videos
You can add videos to your listing as well. The videos must be:
- Minimum 720p resolution but the higher the better
- The video size should be smaller than 100MB
- It is better to keep the video 30 seconds or shorter
Following are the types of videos you can upload to your business listing:
- Highlights of your products and services
- Customer testimonials
- Tour of your store or office
- Showcase your awards and achievements
Adding videos to your listing will help you stand out from your competitors.
Google My Business Listing Reviews
You need to have social proof to improve your brand awareness while attracting more potential customers to visit your store. Businesses often ignore negative reviews and focus on positive reviews. As a business owner, you should respond to negative reviews as well.
Providing feedback on negative reviews will make your business look professional. Please stay away from attacking negative reviews as it will make you look unprofessional and unethical. You want to know what made the customer dissatisfied with your business and try to provide the best solution.
You can learn how to respond to positive and negative reviews from the following guide by HubSpot:
Utilize Google My Business App
Google has introduced Google My Business App for both Android and iOS. You can utilize this app to perform certain things:
- Update the info section of your business listing
- Publish posts and pictures
- View insights for your business listing
When you don’t have time to make changes using your desktop or laptop, you can use Google My Business App.
You can download them here
You might wonder whether it is necessary to have a Google My Business Listing? If you’re targeting local customers, It is a must and starting point for Local SEO initiatives.