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...
Setting up a Google My Business listing is very easy. Here are 8 easy steps on how to successfully set up your GMB listing...
Create a Google account or Have the Google account info you want to be linked with your business.
Go to google.com/business and select “Manage Now” in the top right-hand corner of the page.
Enter your business name.
Choose a “Business Category”.
Check out this list of business categories that you can choose from when you set up Google My Business.
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.
Select your Delivery area.
You will be asked to provide delivery services outside the address you previously provided. This is another yes or no option.
Add your business phone number and/or website.
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.
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:
For additional info, you might find the video below helpful.
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.
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.
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.
From here it's as simple as completing the required fields to publish your post. Keep in mind the following tips:
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.
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...
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:
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.
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.
People love video! It's a great way to further optimize your GMB listing and make your business stand out.
I think 360 virtual tours are a must have for local businesses.
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.
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.
Google My Business promotes a healthy environment by showing both negative and positive reviews to all visitors.
Responding to all types of reviews on your listing is a great way to show people your business is legitimate and responsive.
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.
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.
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 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:
What I love about Google My Business is the Insights feature.
GMB Insights displays key stats like:
To access the Insights feature, click the Insights option in the left menu bar:
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".
Google My Business allows users or customers to add photos to a specific listing using the Add A Photo button.
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:
To request removal of user-generated photos in your account:
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.
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.
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:
Once you create a location group, you can now add locations.
To add a new location, follow these steps:
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.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.
Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help small businesses & entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. All you need is a plan.