What is Google My Business Listing? A Complete Guide
Google My Business (GMB) is an opportunity for businesses to show their products or services in the local search results among target audiences looking for them online. It is free, which makes them an affordable marketing tool for every type of business.
This comprehensive guide will help you understand what Google My Business is, how to set up your GMB account, and optimize your Google My Business profile to get the best search results.
What Is Google My Business?
You may want to know what a Google My Business Listing is to determine whether to invest your time and efforts into this SEO tactic. Well, Google My Business is a free marketing tool provided by Google where businesses can list their business profile to ensure their appearance in the local search results as well as on Google Maps. This is why more & more businesses hire SEO services for increased local search results.
Whenever a potential lead searches for terms related to your business or even reaches your business on Google, you want to be visible in local search queries with all the important information a customer would require before contacting you or making a purchase. For example, your name, address, contact details, opening & closing time, or link to your website, etc. Here, Google My Business Listing allows you to display all that information about your business. This is how it helps businesses create & manage their Google listings which customers can find on Google searches and Maps when looking online.
Google My Business Listing makes it easier for businesses to:
- Communicate with visitors
- Provide crucial information about the brand & its offerings
- Guide visitors through directions to their location
- Promote company events, offers, and latest news
- Add photos or other details
Undoubtedly, it is a valuable marketing tool for businesses willing to showcase their brand in the local search queries made by customers.
Is Google My Business Free?
Yes. Businesses can sign up for Google My Business for free as well as can claim and manage their listings for free. It can be accessed and updated on the go with Google My Business mobile app for Android & iOS devices. If anyone is contacting you about your GMB profile being expired or requiring payment, they are more likely a spammer. Google itself sends notifications regarding any changes in Google My Business listing requirements.
How To Set Up Google My Business?
Setting up a Google My Business is an important part of Local SEO. So, you need to make sure that you get it right the first time. Now that you know what a Google My Business is, get ready to create a profile by following these steps. Here is the procedure:
Step - 1: Sign-In to Google My Business
Visit the official website: www.google.com/business or go to Google and type in “Google My Business” to sign up for your account. You can either sign in with a pre-existing account or create a new one. In case you have already signed in, skip to the next step. Remember to sign in with your Google business email domain.
Step -2: Add Your Business
After logging in, you need to enter the name of your business. In case there is another business with the same name in your region which is uncommon, Google will suggest those businesses for you under the autocomplete function. This function prevents the duplicate listing of the businesses that already exist.
Step -3: Enter The Address
The next step is to enter the address of your business only in cases where the businesses are involved in face-to-face interactions with customers. You can enter the address if you want to receive customers at your office premises, otherwise, you can leave the address field blank.
Step -4: Specify The Business Category
You need to be very careful & attentive while working in this field. It will not only affect the type of search terms you appear in Google for but also appear within the GMB profile. Getting this step right is essential if you want to appear in the local search results when the customers are searching for a related product or service. When you see “categories”, you would be able to set both primary and secondary categories. Correctly describe your service category to get the best results.
Step -5 - Enter Location/Service Area
Before choosing the service category, be sure of the areas where you serve your products or services so that Google can accurately track your business for searches in those areas even in the absence of a physical address. For more feasible results, enter one or more regions, cities, or ZIP codes where your business serves.
Step -6: Add Contact Details And Website URL
The next step is to enter the contact details and the URL of your website to make it easier for your customers to find more about you online. In case if you don’t have a website, you can add your Facebook page, etc. Adding contact details are strongly recommended if you want to take advantage of GMB functionalities like Call Tracking, etc.
Step - 7: Finish and Manage Business
Don’t assume that it is over now. After clicking “Finish”, the next step is to verify your business, which may take a couple of days. Let’s read how.
How to Verify Business on Google?
Google wants to be satisfied with the existence of your business to know where you operate from. For wholly-new GMB profiles, Google may provide business owners with different options to get their business verified. Here they are as follows:
Step -1: Sign in to Google My Business
Go to www.google.com/business to sign in.
Step -2: Choose a Way to Verify
Depending on the type of business listing you are seeking, you may have a few options available to verify your business:
- Postcard Verification - This is one of the most common GMB verification processes which is available to all types of businesses. In this process, a verification postcard will be sent to the address that you have entered earlier. It will contain a code that you need to enter into your GMB account to verify the business. If the code doesn’t show up, just click on “request another code”.
- Phone Verification - If your business is eligible for other types of methods such as Phone, then prefer it. Here, the verification process for the listing takes place on the phone. Click on the ‘Verify by phone’ option to know whether you are eligible at the beginning of the process. Google will send you an automated message with a verification code, that you need to enter into GMB.
- Email Verification - Like phone verification, you can click on the ‘Verify by email’ option to know if you are eligible for this method. Using this method, you will receive a verification code in the inbox of the Google Account associated with the GMB listing.
The phone & email verification methods provide instant verification and are only available if your business website is already verified with Google Search Console and bulk verification. Keep in mind that it may take a few days to verify your business profile. So, why waste time? Download the GMB mobile app and manage accounts.
How To Claim Your Business On Google
Want to know how to claim an already existing Google My Business listing profile? You have three options:
- First, you can sign up or log in to your Google My Business account and search for the business. Select it and follow the required steps to confirm your ownership.
- Second, you can search your business on Google maps and click “Manage this Listing”.
- Third, search the business listing in Google and click “Own this business?”
How To Edit Your Business On Google?
You can also edit the details in your GMB profiles. Here is how:
- Visit the official Google My Business website
- Click on the pencil icon to change or edit information.
- In case of removing a section, click on “X”.
- After finishing, click on “Apply”.
It may take up to 60 days for the edits to appear.
Now when you have executed all the essential tasks to get your profile listed on Google My Business, it’s time to optimize the profile to get the best results. Here is how you can do it:
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing?
After you have set up your Google My Business listing profile for your business, the next step is to make sure that it is fully optimized and you have incorporated all the required information. Studies show that about 26% of all clicks focus on the first results listed not including ads or featured snippets. Otherwise, about 8% of the clicks go to featured snippets and 19% go to the first organic results. So, describe as many details about your GMB listing profiles. Here is how to do this:
1. Make a Complete Profile -
Make sure that your GMB profile depicts as much information about your business so that Google can easily find your business according to the relevancy of the customer queries. Simply, it increases your Google ranking. Various professional content writing services help generate high-quality & SEO-friendly brand descriptions that highlight businesses’ key characterics in engaging manners.
- Get a Pleasing Description - Take proper time to write a good description to add to your business profile and make it locally-focused so it is more relevant to the user. A well-written description acts as an overview of your business’s operations.
- Use Keywords - Don’t forget to use the relevant keywords in your description related to your business. It should be up to 750 characters but make sure to include the most relevant information. Insert 2-3 KWs that describe your brand best.
2. Add Photos Or Videos To GMB Posts
Let people see what your business is offering. While creating a Google My Business profile, you can add a logo or cover photo - just like you do on various social media platforms to promote your business, like Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In, etc. Don’t just stop here. Include pictures related to your products or services to provide more information about your project. Make sure they look professional & pleasing. You can add up to 10 photos or videos to your GMB posts to stand out from the crowd. Images and videos can help people relate to your brand as well as multiple images can have a big influence on the eCommerce business.
3. Add Posts, Updates, and Special Offers
Make sure your Google My Business listing has up-to-date information about your business such as an address, hours, and contact info. In case of any changes, edit the information. Apart from this, you can create posts, updates, and news for your businesses to attract more leads. Also, create a successful digital content marketing strategy for those posts to get the best local results.
- Depending on your business goals, keep your posts fresh, unique, and trending.
- You can write up to 300 words of text or include images to make it look engaging.
- Add a call-to-action with a variety of button choices including, “Learn More”, “Reserve”, “Buy”, or “Get Offer” etc.
- Since these posts last for 7 days, you need to keep an eye on them and update them weekly.
4. Invite Reviews
Reviews of your customers depict what people think about your business. Plus, if you want to rank higher in search results, then pay attention to collecting reviews. They are most likely to affect the ranking in local search results. Not only this, but they also act as social proof to your potential leads and help them decide whether to avail of your services or not.
5. Response to Reviews -
Only taking reviews is not enough. You need to be responsive towards all those reviews so that your customers could know that you care about them. This will also increase their trust in your brand.
Boost Local Marketing With Google My Business
You need to make sure that your business demonstrates an up-to-date and detailed GMB profile. Setting up a pleasing GMB page is one of the best ways to increase your visibility in local search results. Since more & more customers are making geographically specific queries to look for certain products & services, Google’s algorithms have become user intent. This is how Google My Business helps in Local SEO.
For example, while searching, “restaurants near me”, Google brings a list of a couple of locations based on your current location as these results have their GMB page. If these pages didn’t have a GMB page, then they would not have shown in the search results. So, in simple words, if you are willing to get your business in the local search results, make sure it has a verified Google My Business page.
Now that you have learned about Google My Business and its significance in local search results, it is up to you whether you are willing to manage your GMB profile on your own or get professional assistance from SEO services. A good Google My Business listing profile requires timely upgradation of posts, photos, news along with your products and services. Possibly, not every person is technically aware of all these things or have sufficient time to create & timely manage their GMB pages. So stop wasting time and search for the best SEO services now.