Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing: A Step-by-Step Guide
No matter what industry you’re in, Google My Business can help you reach more people and increase foot traffic. Because of the importance of this undervalued platform, we’ve created this ultimate guide to help you get set up and optimize your listing. It’s time to start taking advantage of all Google My Business has to offer.
This guide will cover:
WHAT IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business directory tool that allows you to manage your Google Business Listing on the web and across multiple Google properties, including Google Search and Google Maps.
Business Profiles in Google Search Results:
Business Profiles in Google Maps:
Creating a Business Profile is as simple as providing Google with a business’s name, location, and category – it doesn’t have to come from the business owner. Once Google confirms the profile, the public is able to leave reviews, add photos, and ask and even answer questions. Without having a verified Google My Business listing, you don’t have the ability to manage the information being left on your profile.
By creating a Google My Business listing, you not only get access to the profile, you’re also able to manage and add even more details about your business to optimize it. A well-optimized Google My Business listing helps make it easier for customers to find you and for you to share up-to-date information with them about your business, such as your hours, website links, address, and timely information through posts. In 2019, 90% of people searched the internet when looking for a local business – so you want to make sure you show up correctly in Google’s search results.
Google My Business also acts as a social media platform in that it allows you to post photos and interact with customers by receiving and responding to reviews. It also gives you insights into how people are finding and contacting you, so you can continuously improve any marketing campaigns for even better results.
Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing
Google walks you through each of these steps with prompts, so no need to panic if it sounds confusing. If you don’t already have a Google account using your business email domain, it’s best to create one first and then use that address to sign in to Google. After that, you can create a Google My Business listing.
Enter your business name, and then your location’s address. If you physically serve customers at an address, you can choose to have it appear on Maps. If you don’t, then after entering your address, select “I deliver goods and services to my customers.”
Finally, choose a business category and enter either a phone number or website address (or both) – and that’s it.
Verifying Your Business
Why bother verifying your business once you’ve set up your profile? Verification will help ensure the accuracy of your information, plus a verified location is twice as likely to be trusted by consumers. Typically, you’ll have to verify your listing by receiving a postcard from Google. You also may be able to use another method to claim your listing, like receiving a text or phone call. If you see that option, you can follow the prompts given to you.
If you don’t, then after signing up, look for the word “Mail” in the top left corner of your screen, and click it. Google will send the postcard to the address you have provided with your listing.
If you are coming back to verify your business listing sometime after creating it, sign in to your account (google.com/business) and click on “Verify Now” to the right of the red banners. After confirming your information is accurate, click on “Mail,” you’ll be brought to the same steps outlined earlier.
The postcard usually arrives within 12 days and will have a verification code for you. Sign in again at google.com/business and click either Verify Location or Verify Now and follow the steps to enter the card’s code.
Once that’s done, you’re officially verified!
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR LISTING
Now that your Google My Business listing is live, you’ll want to make the most of this free tool – and take advantage of the free advertising it offers. You’ll need to make sure your listing is optimized by providing more details and highlighting relevant services.
Now, log into your Google My Business profile and head over to the “Info” tab on the screen’s left-hand side to add more depth to your business information. Here you’re able to add subcategories to your business, fill out your business’s hours and add additional service hours. The more information you can give potential customers, the more likely they will be to come into your location.
Next, head to the “Services” tab on that left-hand side menu (about five or six spots below the “Info” tab) and add all of your services. Be as specific as possible here. For example, instead of ‘physiotherapy’ say ‘sports injury rehab’ and ‘chronic pain management.’ Be sure to include descriptions of all of your services.
Suppose you’re a service-based business (like a physiotherapist). In that case, you can link customers directly to an appointment booking page to allow them to discover your business and instantly book an appointment with you.
Sharing posts to your Google My Business is key to letting Google know that you’re involved with your listing and active on their platform – and Google likes that. Posts can include text, photos, or videos, and are visible to consumers under “Updates” or “Overview” on mobile, or under “From the Owner” on desktop.
Consistent activity on your account is important because it helps show you are an active business, which helps build trust with customers. Knowing this, and knowing how important the trust factor is with consumers, Google prioritizes businesses with active profiles in search results, so make sure to share new posts regularly. Posts that are more than a week old automatically get archived, unless a date range is specified (for example, with events), and newest posts always show first.
There are five different types of posts you can share on Google. Each one allows you to add a Call to Action button, but keep in mind that Google may reject posts that include a phone number.
- What’s New
This is an opportunity to share general information about your business.
Event posts require a title, start and end dates, and a time (without a set timeframe, Google will automatically set it to 24hours on the day of).
These posts provide an opportunity to tell potential customers about special offers or sales and require a title as well as start and end dates. The Call to Action Button is automatically set to ‘View Offer’, and you can also include additional info such as a link, coupon code, or terms and conditions.
Use the product post to add items to your “Product tab”. Note that this doesn’t actually create a post to share on your profile.
- Hours Update
If your business hours change or your business is reopening after a closure, you can update your hours and a post will automatically be created to confirm the change. If you want to add more information to the post, you can edit it after.
It’s always a good idea to review Google’s Content Policy for Posts.
ADDING PHOTOS TO YOUR LISTING
Thanks to the rapid rise of Instagram, we know photos catch people’s attention – so it’s crucial to take advantage of this feature and add images to your listing. According to Google, businesses with photos get 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks through to their websites compared to businesses without photos. You can upload a logo and cover photo that best represent your business, and then add additional photos that demonstrate your features and the services you offer to help attract your ideal customers.
You can add photos from either your desktop or smartphone. On your computer, sign in to your Google My Business account, and from the left-hand menu, select the “Photos” tab. In the top right corner, click “Post”. You can choose the type of photo or video you’d like to add, and then upload it from your computer. Photos should be at least 720 pixels by 720 pixels, and either in JPG or PNG format. To remove images, select the photo you’d like to delete and in the top right corner and click “Trash.” It’s important to note that you can only do this for photos you added yourself.
Customers can also tag your business in photos, which is excellent for building trust with consumers. However, you will want to make sure that the images are appropriate. If a customer image violates content guidelines (or the law), you can flag them for removal – but you can’t delete them, as we mentioned above.
Not sure what to post? Here are some ideas:
|Description||Minimum number to add||Tips|
|Exterior photos||Exterior photos help customers recognize your business as they approach from different directions.||Add at least three great exterior photos to help customers recognize your business.|
1. Capture a photo from each direction that customers might approach your business.
2. Try uploading photos that show your business at different times of day.
|Interior photos||Interior photos help your customers get a feel for the ambiance and decor of your business.||Add at least three great interior photos to show customers what your business feels like inside.|
1. Capture photos that truthfully show what it’s like to stand inside your business as a customer.
2. Capture the atmosphere of your business in your photos.
|Product photos||Great photos of representative or popular products give customers a better understanding of the kinds of goods you offer.||Add at least three photos of products that you sell.|
1. Showcase the items that are most popular for your business.
2. Try taking evenly lit photos of your products.
|Photos at work||Photos help customers quickly understand the type of work you do.||Add at least three photos that are representative of the services you offer.|
1. Capture photos of your team providing different types of service to customers.
2. Capture photos of the specialty services you deliver.
|Food & drink photos||Food & drink photos add color and detail to your menu and help customers plan where to eat.||Add at least three photos of the food or drinks you serve.|
1. Showcase the food items that are most popular for your business.
2. Try taking evenly lit photos of your food items.
|Common areas||Photos of your common areas help attract customers who are planning business or leisure travel.||Add at least one photo of each of your common areas.|
1. Add at least one photo of each common area (for example, spa, gym, or breakfast room).
2. Capture the atmosphere of the common area in your photos.
|Rooms||Customers rely heavily on photos of guest rooms when deciding where to book their next hotel for business or leisure.||Add at least three photos of your most popular guest rooms.|
1. Try showcasing all the different types of rooms that you offer to guests.
2. Capture photos that truthfully show what it’s like when you are in the room as a guest.
|Team photos||Team photos are important to present a more personal side of your establishment.||Add at least three photos showing your management team and your employees.|
1. Show something a little less formal to humanize your business.
2. Show yourself and any staff to highlight your personalities and give potential clients a feel for what you’re like.
The final piece of the puzzle is Reviews. Remember when local businesses survived on customer service and word of mouth? The same is still true, except that conversation has moved from the local coffee shop to the internet, so reviews are an incredibly important part of your online presence and Google My Business listing.
The problem is, people are more likely to complain publicly than they are to share praise publicly, so you have to give your customers a little nudge in the right direction.
Make sure you are on the “Home” tab of the left-hand menu after logging in to your Google My Business account, and look for the section called Get More Reviews or Get Your First Review. Click on Share Review Form and you’ll see a link you can share everywhere and with anyone you’d like to leave a review for your business.
Not sure where to share this link? You can add it to your website footer, email signature, in your email marketing, social media profiles, and share it in static posts on your feeds as well. You can also share a shortlink to your profile, which you can create in the “Info” tab. This allows customers to easily search for your business and be directed straight to your profile. It also allows you to direct customers straight to you with a clean, simple, branded URL. So choose wisely!
It’s important to respond to reviews as they come in. This helps show potential customers that you are engaged and care about your customer’s experiences. Simply hit the ‘reply’ button below a review, and submit your response. Received a negative review? Check out our blog for detailed steps on how to handle it.
ANALYZING YOUR DATA
The Google My Business platform has built-in analytics, helping you gain insights into your customers and the actions they are taking on your listing. You can discover the keywords people are using to search for companies similar to yours and find your business, whether they found you searching through Google Search or Google Maps, how your photos are performing, and any actions people take on your listing, like whether they clicked to call, got directions, or visited your website.
Having this data at your fingertips can help you not only optimize your Google My Business listing further, but can help you make improvements that will result in your listing ranking better – AKA, appearing higher in search results – as well. In order to improve your results, incorporate those keywords into your profile description, in your responses to reviews and questions, and in your post captions.
Still not sure if you set your listing up properly, or simply don’t want to add more things to your plate? Don’t worry, that’s where we come in. We handle all this plus more to ensure your listing is fully optimized and bringing more foot traffic to your business. Send us an email and let’s get you set-up today.