06 Feb What You Need to Know about Google My Business
If you want your business to easily be found by customers searching online for your business by name or by the services you offer, then you absolutely need a Google My Business (GMB) listing. Google My Business is a free service offered by Google to all businesses that allows your business to prominently show up on Google Search and Google Maps, but there’s so much more to know if you want to make the most out of your listing.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about Google My Business listings – including why you need one, how to get started and how to verify your business.
Why Do You Need a Google My Business Listing?
As the top search engine in the world, there’s no way to avoid Google when trying to find success for your business online. You should use Google My Business as part of your integrated digital marketing strategy. You might argue that you work hard on SEO and that your search engine presence is good enough, so why do you need to bother about managing your Google listing? Google’s priority is to quickly deliver the information users need or are searching for, which is where your Google My Business listing comes in very handy.
Your GMB will prominently display the essential information of your business in an easily accessible way for users, who will then be more likely to interact with your listing by visiting your website, looking at your location on the map, or giving your business a call. This plays into improving your local SEO, since users searching for business are likely to be located nearby. Ultimately, a Google My Business Listing increases brand trust in your potential customers.
Here are just a few features of a Google My Business listing:
- Phone number display — This will increase direct calls to your business, especially for mobile users who can directly click to dial.
- Other contact info — As a manager of your GMB account, you can choose to display a direct link to your website, your business address for Google Maps accessibility, and your hours of operation.
- Customer reviews — Highlighting positive reviews along with the ability to publicly and kindly respond to negative reviews builds trust for new potential customers.
- Pictures — Google’s own statistics confirm that business featuring their own location and service photos see a drastic increase in customer interaction online.
- Short name/URL integration — This improves your online customer experience.
How to Get Started
Setting up your listing is the first step to creating a Google My Business account. Get started by going to Google.com/Business and entering the name of your business. Then, select “yes” for location and add your business address. Next, select your business category, followed by your business phone number and website URL. Finish up by clicking “Finish” to complete setting up your GMB account.
Keep these additional elements in mind when setting up your account:
- Your “NAP” data, which stands for your business name, address, and phone number. Keep this information consistent on all websites and search engines, such as Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
- Enter accurate business hours. Special hours for holidays can be added through your account when they occur.
- Choose specific and accurate categories that match or closely match your business and services, which will help customers more easily find your business through Google.
As mentioned earlier, your Google My Business account offers many options to customize and optimize your listing. Photos are essential for high customer engagement — including a profile photo, logo images, and any additional photos of your location, employees, services or products. Frequently updating your photos lets Google and users know that your business is active.
Your GMB listing can also feature updated posts (similar to social media) where your business can highlight the latest news, updates, events, promotions, products and more. Don’t forget to include an image, link, and call-to-action (CTA) to go with the text! Individually responding to reviews (not copying and pasting the same response message) will also show how your business cares for customers. Be sure to respond kindly and appropriately to both positive and negative reviews. Remember that potential customers are always watching.
You can edit and view your listing through your Google My Business dashboard, which will appear when searching for your business on Google while logged in to your GMB account. Listing insights through your account provide additional information about how users are interacting with your business listing, including how many users saw it, where they were searching from, what actions they took, and how your listing compares to your competitors.
Verifying Your Business
Setting up your Google My Business account is all fine and well, but it won’t be active until you verify your business with the account. Fortunately, verifying your business with GMB is not a complicated process. This process can be completed via phone, email, postcard, in bulk or instantly.
To start the verification process, sign into your account and choose your business to verify. Your business should already be set up in your account by this point. Then, review your business information to ensure it’s accurately listed — including your business name, address, phone number, and contact info. Finally, you will choose your preferred method for verification.
For mail verification, you will receive a postcard from Google within the next five days. Once received, enter the verification code listed on the postcard under “Verify Now” in your GMB account. You can always request another postcard if it doesn’t arrive. Verifying by phone means you will receive a text message with the verification code to enter. Email verification works the same way.
Once you’re verified, your Google My Business listing will go live!
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Get the most out of your Google My Business listing by optimizing results with the help of SEO and digital marketing experts. Virtual Stacks Systems UK can help you boost your business with a local SEO strategy fit for your industry and location — which includes keeping your Google My Business listing up-to-date! Contact us today to discuss your digital marketing needs.