Google My Business is a free tool that enables you to create a listing for your business, which can be found on Google Search or Google Maps when people are searching for a product or service you offer. This gives you the chance to attract customers who have never heard of you before. Specifically designed for local businesses only, Google My Business is a fantastic tool to market and promote your business online.
Think of it like the old yellow pages book, but on steroids. The main difference is, instead of relying on people to find your business by flicking through hundreds of pages of the phone directory, with Google My Business, listing your business can be found on the most popular search engine on the planet - Google.
Google My Business listing can appear in multiple places within the Google search environment. Anyone conducting a search in Google with a local intent, such as plumber near me or beauty salon detroit, for example will trigger a set of results that includes a map and the three most relevant local business listings. This is known as the "Map Pack" and is a prime spot for any business.
Searchers clicking on the viewer links below the top three listings, will be taken through to what is known as the "Local Finder", where more local businesses are listed along with a much bigger map. Hovering on each listing will highlight the business location via a pin on the map, moving the map to a different spot will update the list of businesses that are located in that area. Clicking on a specific listing will open a panel and provide Searchers with detailed information about the very business.
Users can interact directly with the listing, call the business, visit their website, ask questions and much more. Your listing can also show up for people who are searching directly in Google Maps as opposed to the more conventional Google search box.
(1) CATEGORY AND DESCRIPTION: This is the single most important factor which helps Google to rank you for a particular search. It helps Google in understanding your business's core, so that it can line up your listing for most relevant search terms.
As for your business description, it's a great way of telling your audience what makes your business unique. Many of Google My Business looks and feels exactly the same, but this is one of the few elements that can be completely unique, so take your time and add flavours to your description. But, be sure to read Google's business description guidelines first.
(2) REVIEWS: This becomes a critical part for your business, especially when you are competing in a local search. Your online reputation is what makes you rank, that Google focuses on for local search. On the other hand, reviews please your customers in order to purchase from you.
But, how does these reviews can be generated? The answer to this question is quite simple: you ask for them! In store, you can ask via signage, you can ask in person after a transaction, you can ask at the bottom of your till receipts. Online, you can ask in customer emails, on your website and social media profiles, etc.
(3) PHOTOS: You can add photos to your listing to showcase your services or products. Photographs of your business and services plays a huge role in terms of GMB, especially when your business is all about looks. Photographs can be uploaded by the owner themselves or by customers. This leaves a great impression mark on your business.
(4) ATTRIBUTES: These are an evolving part of the information Google collects and displays about your business. They come in the form of simple statements or phrases that provide details about businesses in a way that makes it easy for searchers and Google Maps app users to make faster decisions.
There are mainly two types of attributes: Factual Attributes and Subjective Attributes. Factual Attributes are facts about the business which can be set by the business in GMB settings, and the attributes available will be determined by your business category. Whereas, Subjective attributes, are things that your customers have said about your business.
(5) POSTS: Each 'Post' is a simple box on your profile containing an image, some text and a call to action, and they're usually around the same length as a tweet. They're there to allow you to make announcements about new products, services, or even just be a bit social. Google Posts are creative, attractive and engaging, so they're definitely worth taking the time to experiment with.
(6) Q&A: Q&As on Google My Business profiles are, at best, an untapped opportunity to engage with your audience and to answer common questions, and at worst, a significant risk to your brand if not managed carefully.
Placed fairly prominently on the Google My Business profile, often near reviews, these are questions submitted by profile viewers about your business, and the intention is for your customers to answer them, rather than you as the business owner. In this way, Google aims to create a kind of subjective FAQ for your business.
(7) GOOGLE MY BUSINESS INSIGHTS: Finally, let's take a look at the performance data centre of Google My Business: the Insights section. While it's not considered to be 100% accurate, the various performance metrics provide a good sense of the direction your GMB profile is heading in.
For example, you can see from where and how profile viewers find your business and find out what actions people are taking when they interact with your profile, be that clicking a link to your website, making an in-app directions request or even clicking to call you.
STEP 1: Head over to google.com. In the top right hand side corner, click on the "sign in" button. You will be asked to sign in using a Google account. If you don't have a Google account, just create one. Choose the "To Manage My Business" option and start filling in your details. After completing the procedure, you will then be redirected to a screen confirming your account is all set up and you can now create your free business profile.
STEP 2: Click on continue, which will take you to the start of setting up a GMB listing. If you already have a Google account, log in to Google using your Gmail address and head over to google.com/business. Then, click on the manage button on the top right hand side window, which will also take you to the start of setting up a google my business listing.
STEP 3: The first step of the process start by entering your Business Name, to check if a Google listing already exists for it. If it does it should be suggested as part of the autocomplete function and you should select it. Confirm the Name of your Business. According to Google's policy your name should reflect your business's real world name and you shouldn't add additional details like address and or service area, business hours etc.
STEP 4: During the next step you'll need to choose a category that best matches your business's primary activity. This is a very important field as it will have a significant impact on the keywords your listing ranks for in google search and google maps results.
STEP 5: You will then be asked, if you want to add a physical location customers can visit, like a store or an office. It will then get displayed on your listing and in the form of a red pin on google map showing where your business is. If you are more of a service area, type of business that delivers goods and services to your customers and don't want people to know your exact address. You will want to choose the "No" option. At this stage you'll be given the option to specify the areas you're able to serve your customers.
STEP 6: You'll then be asked to specify the region where your business is based. Just use the drop down and scroll to find the appropriate country.
STEP 7: The next step is all about adding information that will display on your panel. You have the option to add a phone number as well as a website address. If you don't have a website, you can select the "Get A Free Website Based On Your Info." option and google will automatically create a web page for you.
STEP 8: You'll then be given the option to receive updates and recommendations for your business on Google. Just click on the finish button, which will take you to the verification process.
STEP 9: You now need to enter the physical mailing address of your business as Google will send you a "Postcard", which will include a code to verify your listing.
STEP 10: You can choose how to Verify a Business. Add the contact name you want to appear on the postcard which should take up to 4 days to be delivered. Then, click on mail. You'll be redirected to a screen confirming the card is on its way.
STEP 11: Congratulations your basic listing is now created. But, provide as much information as possible about your business to your visitors. So, click on continue. Depending on the business category you have chosen, Google will add services to your listing by default. You can show more or remove them all and even add your very own if you feel none of the suggestions are suitable.
STEP 12: Add your opening and closing hours. Then click on save. The following step allows you to provide a short description of your business.
STEP 13: Next step is to add photos that illustrate the service you provide. Use genuine images and not something you have downloaded from the internet.
STEP 14: Once you're done click on next. Add a logo and a cover photo. The recommended cover photo size is 1024×576 pixels and logo should be square (720×720).
STEP 15: In just a few days you will receive the postcards containing the code you'll need to use to verify your listing. Log in to your Google My Business panel in the pending verification box. Enter the code and click on verify. After this your Google listing will be live on Google.