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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 offers.

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 can leave reviews, add photos, and ask and answer questions.

If you don’t have a verified Google My Business listing, you won’t have the ability to manage the information on your profile. So, by creating a Google My Business listing, you get access to the profile and can 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 social media links.

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. In addition, you can use the account to post timely updates, the same as you do for other social networks. 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.

Besides all the essential features that Google My Business provides, the bottom line is that your location’s online presence has the power to make or break your business. And with a majority of consumers using Google to find business locations, Google My Business is a powerful tool for boosting your business’ visibility. In 2020, 93% 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.

GETTING STARTED

Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

Setting up your Google My Business listing consists of a few steps. Fortunately, Google walks you through those steps as you’re setting up the listing–so there is no need to be alarmed.

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, 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 should you bother verifying your business once you’ve set up your profile? Because 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. However, 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.

If you don’t verify through text or phone call, 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” (located to the right of the red banners). After confirming your information is accurate, click on “Mail.” You’ll then see the same steps as outlined earlier.

The verification 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 exposure to your business location. But, first, you’ll need to optimize your listing by providing more details and highlighting relevant services.

First, you’ll 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 can 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 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.

Creating Your Google Business Description

Once you’ve got the basics of your Google My Business listing set up, it’s time to write a business description for your listing. Your Google business description is one of the best free tools for optimizing your listing.

Your Google My Business listing description gives your business credibility and allows customers to learn more about your business authentically. Here are a few tips for making the most out of the 750 characters you have to create the Google business description:

  • Use the characters you’re given: Google gives you 750 characters for your business description. Try to use as many characters as possible and fill the space with relevant terms that accurately describe your business.
  • Make clear what you do: Your description is your business’s chance to let customers know who you are and what you can do for them. So your business description should make that clear.
  • Add keywords but keep them natural: Add in relevant keywords to attract organic attention, but make sure you don’t overdo it. The copy should flow naturally. Adding too many keywords might cause Google to flag your listing as a robot, which would get your listing taken down.
  • No links or URLs: Links won’t appear in the description once published, so adding them will waste time and characters.
  • No misleading info: This might sound obvious, but avoid writing any false information in your description. Publishing disinformation goes against Google’s policy.
  • Don’t add your NAP info: Your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP), and other contact information are already available in the listing, so there’s no need to waste characters repeating this info in the description.
  • Avoid the sales pitch: Your Google Business description isn’t the place for special offers, promotions or sales pitches. Being salesy goes against Google’s policy and will likely lead to your description not being approved.

So now that you know what to add and avoid putting into your Google business description, you’re probably wondering how an optimal business description looks. Here are some fantastic Google business description examples:

Bustling American diner specializing in authentic American dishes. A local favourite for over 30 years. Our casual eatery offers a lively retro setting for people to enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family. With over 50 items on our menu, there’s something for everyone at Diane’s Diner. So come on in for some authentic American comfort food.

A trendy full-service hair salon for the entire family. We offer salon services for men, women and children. We specialize in hair styling, updos, stylish cuts, hair colouring, and blowouts. Our experienced staff is vibrant and upbeat, and we always stay up to date with the latest hair trends.

Your business’ description can undoubtedly be shorter or longer than the above example (as long as it’s under 750 characters). Just include any information that customers should know about your business.

Your Google business description should also definitely include any information that makes your business unique. If anything about your business sets you apart, have it in your description.

And make sure to keep it upbeat and authentic. You want something that will catch customers’ attention while still giving them an accurate feel of your business.

Check out our blog post for more advice on optimizing your Google business description.

Sharing Posts

Creating 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 in your Google Business Profile Manager listing.

Consistent activity on your account is important because it helps show you are an active business, which helps build trust with customers. Knowing how important the trust factor is with consumers, Google prioritizes businesses with active profiles in search results, so post new content regularly. Posts more than a week old automatically get archived unless a date range is specified (for example, with events), and the latest 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.

  1. COVID-19 Update: Let customers know about any changes to your business due to COVID-19
  2. What’s New: This is an opportunity to share general information about your business.
  3. Event: Event posts require a title, start and end dates, and a time (without a set timeframe, Google will automatically set it to 24 hours on the day of).
  4. Offer: These posts provide an opportunity to tell potential customers about special offers or sales and require a title and start and end dates. The Call-to-Action Button automatically sets to ‘View Offer.’ You can also include additional info such as a link, coupon code, or terms and conditions.
  5. Products – Use the product post to add items to your “Product tab.” Note that this doesn’t create a post to share on your profile.

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 to their websites than businesses without images. You can upload a logo and cover photo that best represents your business and then add additional images that demonstrate your features and your services 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. Then, in the top right corner, click “Post.” Next, you can choose the photo or video you’d like to add and upload it from your computer. Photos should be at least 720 pixels by 720 pixels and in JPG or PNG format. To remove images, select the photo you’d like to delete and in the top right corner, 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.
Via support.google.com

Reviews

The final piece of the puzzle is Reviews. Remember when local businesses survived on customer service and word of mouth? The same is true, except that conversation has moved from the local coffee shop to the internet, so reviews are vital for your online presence and Google My Business listing.

People are more likely to complain than 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. Then, 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, email marketing, and social media profiles and share it in static posts on your feeds. You can also share a short link to your profile, which you can create in the “Info” tab. These tactics allow customers to search for your business efficiently and be directed straight to your profile. It also allows you to lead customers straight to you with a clean, simple, branded URL. So, choose wisely!

It’s vital to respond to reviews as they come in. Doing so helps show potential customers that you are engaged and care about your customer’s experiences. So 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.

Receiving more reviews–especially positive ones–really helps optimize your Google My Business listing. Fortunately, there are tools available to help generate more customer reviews. For example, tools such as Review Robin help businesses generate positive reviews. Using this kind of technology makes managing the review section of your Google My Business listing much simpler.

ANALYZING YOUR DATA

The Google My Business platform has built-in analytics, helping you gain insights into your customers and their actions on your listing. For example, you can discover the keywords people are using to search for companies similar to yours and find your business, whether they found you exploring through Google Search or Google Maps, how your photos are performing, and any actions people take on your listing–such as whether they clicked to call, got directions, or visited your website.

Having this data at your fingertips helps optimize your Google My Business listing further and make improvements that will improve your listing ranking (AKA, appearing higher in search results). To improve your results, incorporate those keywords into your profile description, in your responses to reviews and questions, and in your post captions.

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING

Simply put, your business’s Google My Business listing has the power to shape your business’ online presence completely. If used correctly, Google My Business has enormous potential to increase your business’ visibility, which will increase foot traffic and revenue. But trying to find the best route for creating optimal visibility in Google may seem like an overwhelming task. So, how do you make the most of your Google My Business Listing for better online visibility? Listing software is the solution.

With Local Listings Management, our specialty here at 10|20 Marketing, optimizing your business’s online presence is a more straightforward and effective process. Our listing management solution uses a single, central source to ensure your online listings (AKA Google My Business) are up-to-date, complete and consistent across over 125 relevant online directories. This optimization helps make the most out of your online presence to improve ranking in local searches and boost customer interaction. 

The central-source listing software will boost visibility in “near-me” searches and other local searches. You can be sure that customers will easily find all your business locations online through critical location data- such as addresses and opening hours across all platforms and directories. 

Our Local Listings Management service also keeps a consistent image through effective data cleansing across all platforms. The data quality management process removes duplicates, which will optimize your location data. The listing software also uses precise automatic and manual techniques to check and correct formatting and geocoding in your content. All of this helps to ensure greater location accuracy and visibility. 

Not only does Local Listings Management significantly boost your business’s online presence, but it also makes the process of optimizing your Google My Business listing much more manageable. With Local Listings Management, making the most of your Google My Business Listing has never been easier.

So how can you get started? That’s where we come in. 10|20 Marketing will get you set up with Local Listings Software so that you can fully optimize your business’s online presence and visibility. We handle all this plus more to ensure your Google My Business listing and other online listings are optimized to bring more foot traffic to your business. Send us an email, and let’s get you set up today.