The Google My Business Bible (Updated): Everything You Need to Know




Google My Business (GMB) is a great way to put a name tag on your small business' online presence. It is a FREE tool that lets you add VALUABLE information to your Google listing that customers can use in making a business decision.

GMB lets you add your business name, location, office hours, and much more for people to get to know your business at a glance. It also lets you monitor and reply to online customer reviews which we all know is very critical to businesses today.

Google My Business lets you add photos for better visual appeal and educates you about where and how people are searching for your business which you can use to leverage your strategies like SEO.

In this article, I will tell you how to set up and optimize Google My Business and reveal a few tips and tricks to help you with this tool.

Let's jump right in...

How to Set Up Google My Business 

Setting up a Google My Business listing is very easy. Here are 8 easy steps on how to successfully set up your GMB listing...

Step 1:

Create a Google account or Have the Google account info you want to be linked with your business.

Step 2:

Go to and select “Manage Now” in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Step 3:

Enter your business name.

GMB Image 1

Step 4:

Choose a “Business Category”.

Google My Business - Business Category

Check out this list of business categories that you can choose from when you set up Google My Business.

Step 5:

You will be asked if you want to add a business location such as a store to appear on Google Maps. This is a yes or no option.

GMB Image 2

Step 6:

Select your Delivery area.

GMB Image 3

Step 7:

You will be asked to provide delivery services outside the address you previously provided. This is another yes or no option.

Step 8:

Add your business phone number and/or website.

Step 9:

Choose a verification option.

Note: Some of the steps above may change slightly depending on the choices you make in the process. If you follow the prompts and complete the information accurately you'll be in good shape either way.

How to Verify Your Business on Google

Verifying your GMB listing is very important. It's a way of telling Google that you are a real person and your listing is legitimate.

There are several ways to verify your GMB listing:

  • By postcard
  • By phone
  • By email
  • Instant verification
  • Bulk verification

For additional info, you might find the video below helpful.


Get the outside eyes and feedback you need to get on the right path with your marketing.

Gain clarity and understanding. You'll leave your discovery call knowing where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return on your investment.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing 

The idea of optimizing a GMB listing may seem difficult, however, it's actually very simple. It's as simple as filling out as much information in the listing as possible.

Let me show you what I mean...

From the GMB dashboard for your company, you will see navigation that looks similar to this.

Google My Business Navigation

Obviously, the more information you provide, the BETTER!

You should know that anyone can "suggest an edit" to your listing so you need to make sure that ALL THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE ALL THE TIME.

Let's run through some of the options you have in your Google My Business listing.

1. Google My Business Posts

Posts are a really cool, free way to promote your business on your GMB listing. I would highly recommend taking advantage of this feature.

From the Post section in GMB, you will have the option to "write your post". When you click on this area you will see a pop up like this to create your post.

Google My Business Post

From here it's as simple as completing the required fields to publish your post. Keep in mind the following tips:

  • Posts will automatically be deleted after 7 days to ensure fresh content.
  • Events will stay live until the event has occurred.
  • Your newest posts will show first.

Take advantage of posts to promote offers, new products, events, and news updates for your business.

For more in-depth info, check out this guide to google posts for google my business.

2. Google My Business Info

This is the section where you define your company name, category, address, phone number, email, website, hours, and much more.

Fill out as much of this information as possible. The more information you provide, the more detailed and helpful your listing will be for visitors.

One of the options in this section is "add photos" and it warrants a little deeper dive...

Google My Business Photos

According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don't have any.

Here are the main types of photos you can upload to your listing:

1. Profile Photo

Adding a Profile Photo to your listing is very important. Just like on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, a profile photo helps other people to identify your business.

Your profile photo is what shows when you upload new photos, videos, or review online responses on your Google My Business listing.

2. Cover Photo

The Google My Business cover photo shows up front and center on your listing. If you don't give it enough importance, then your listing is as good as nothing.

Choose a photo you really want people to see and one that will make a great first impression.

GMB Cover Photo
3. Google My Business Videos

People love video! It's a great way to further optimize your GMB listing and make your business stand out.

The types of photos and videos you choose to add for your business may depend on who your customers are and the type of business you are in. But, make no mistake about it, you MUST take advantage of the visual elements available to you to engage and convert your visitors.

3. Google My Business Reviews

Online reviews are very important in growing a business, especially with today's stiff online competition. GMB lets you respond to online reviews real-time.

GMB Online Reviews

Google My Business promotes a healthy environment by showing both negative and positive reviews to all visitors.

GMB Online Reviews 2

Responding to all types of reviews on your listing is a great way to show people your business is legitimate and responsive.

GMB Online Reviews 3

Spending the time to put a system in place to gather and monitor your online reviews will be invaluable for your business. Don't have the time for this? Don't worry...

Many companies like ours offer online reputation management services that will do this for you and save you a ton of time.

4. Google My Business Messaging

Google My Business allows you to chat directly with customers who find your business listing on Google Search. This can be a great way to answer questions and engage potential customers.

GMB Messaging

You can turn messaging on by selecting the Messaging option from your GMB main menu.

Important: If you turn this feature on please make sure you use a cell number you will respond to quickly. There's nothing worse than reaching out to a business and hearing...silence.

Google My Business Tips & Tricks

Tip #1: Google My Business App

Google My Business is available on mobile. It's available for both Android and Apple users. GMB mobile makes it super easy for small business owners to view and edit their listings anytime and anywhere.

You can use the GMB app to:

  • Update your business hours, location, contact information, and description
  • Post statuses and upload pictures
  • View search insights

Tip #2: Don't Forget to Check GMB Insights

What I love about Google My Business is the Insights feature.

GMB Insights displays key stats like:

  • How customers search for your business.
  • Where customers view your business on Google.
  • The actions customers take from your GMB listing.
  • The places where customers request directions to your business from.
  • When and how many times customers call your business.
  • The number of times your business photos have been viewed, compared to photos from other businesses.
  • The number of photos that appear on your business, compared to photos from other businesses.

To access the Insights feature, click the Insights option in the left menu bar:

GMB Insights

Tip #3: Schedule More Appointments With the Booking Button Feature

The GMB Booking button is an awesome feature that small businesses should take advantage of. Your customers can easily book an appointment with you with a single tap of a button.

The Booking button works great especially for businesses like salons, spas, and other similar businesses.

If you are using one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, the booking button is added to your Google My Business listing automatically.

You can always load the URL for your booking/scheduling software from the Info section in GMB. You'll see a spot to load an "appointment URL".

Tip #4: Managing User Generated Photos

Google My Business allows users or customers to add photos to a specific listing using the Add A Photo button.

Google My Business - Add A Photo

While user-generated photos could spark engagement and overall interest in your GMB listing, it could also violate Google’s content guidelines or the law.

There are a couple of actions you could take when this happens.

To remove user-generated photos:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business and choose the listing you’d like to manage.
  • Step 2: Click Photos from the menu.
  • Step 3: Click the photo you want to delete.
  • Step 4: Click Trash in the top-right corner. (This icon will only appear for photos you've added.)

To request removal of user-generated photos in your account:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Step 2: Open the location you'd like to manage if you have multiple locations.
  • Step 3: Click Photos in the menu on the left.
  • Step 4: In the top right corner, click Flag Report a Problem on the photo you'd like to flag.

Tip #5: Google My Business Support Line

It’s best to seek help from Google when you experience problems with your account. 

You can either select the Support tab in the left corner of your GMB profile or select Help at the bottom to get answers on issues like access and ownership, verification, suspended listing, etc.

Google My Business - Support

You could also type your questions in the Search Help box to find specific answers.

Access this link to request an email response or call back from a Google expert.

Tip #6: Google My Business Support Line

Need to add multiple locations in your GMB account? No problem!

First, you need to create a location group.

A location group is a group of GMB listings that are collectively operated by a user group. 

Classifying your locations makes it so much easier to manage and organize multiple locations. You can apply changes and share access to multiple listings at once.

To create a location group, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Step 2: Click Manage Locations. (Make sure to choose the right organization first if you're part of multiple organizations.)
  • Step 3: Click Create Location Group.
  • Step 4: Enter the name of your group.
  • Step 5: Click Create.
  • Step 6: Start adding locations.

Once you create a location group, you can now add locations.

To add a new location, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Step 2: Click Manage Locations.  (Make sure to choose the right organization first if you're part of multiple organizations.)
  • Step 3: Use the drop-down menu to choose a location group. (You will see a green checkmark next to any locations groups owned by a bulk verified account.)
  • Step 4: Click Add Location.
  • Step 5: Enter the business name, location, and other details.
  • Step 6: Follow the prompts to create the new listing.

There you go! Those are the important things you need to know about Google My Business to get started.

Here are a few additional Google My Business resources you might find helpful:

Are you ready to create your GMB listing? If you've already got a listing, double check to make sure you are making the most of it.

Is there something we missed? Let's discuss in the comments section and don't forget to hit that SHARE button.

Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.

Are you looking for more solid local marketing tips and tricks? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.

Need more local SEO tips? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local SEO.


Get the outside eyes and feedback you need to get on the right path with your marketing.

Gain clarity and understanding. You'll leave your discovery call knowing where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return on your investment.

Header image courtesy of Pexels.

About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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