What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is Google’s version of Yelp or Yellow Pages for small businesses and there are many benefits of using Google My Business. It doesn’t replace your website, but it showcases it along with other relevant information on your business. Having a listing is an easy way to get your site showcased on page one of search results. Google My Business listings show up at the top of the search engine results page (or just below any ads that might be running) in a section called a “map pack,” which lists three local businesses:
If you would like assistance with setting up your Google My Business listing, we are here to help. Click here or call 617-539-6528 to get in touch.
What Are the Benefits of Google My Business?
Google My Business is the single most effective aspect of local SEO for small businesses and there are many benefits of using Google My Business. As we mentioned, it gives you first page real estate where you can put helpful information such as hours, offers and sales, a description of your business,photos of your business and reviews. All of this information can compel users to take the next step to visit your location and call you.
Clicking the “directions” button connects users to the Google Maps site or app if they are on mobile, which gives people convenient directions to your location. Clicking on the “website” button links users to your site, which can increase overall traffic to your site.
When getting more traffic to your site, it is essential to have an impressive website to set your business apart from the competition and to convince potential customers to go with your product or service.
Do You Qualify to have a Google My Business Listing?
Before setting up your Google My Business listing, make sure that you qualify.
You qualify to have a Google My Business listing if you:
- Own business
- Can meet in-person with people during your stated operating hours
- Give your service/sell your product in the area where you’re listing yourself
- Have a physical location
You do not qualify to have a Google My Business listing if you:
- Have a business with properties for rent or sale
- Are E-commerce only
- Don’t own the business
- Host ongoing events such as classes or meetings when it’s not your property
- Have virtual offices
Steps to Setting Up Your Listing
Here are the basic steps for setting up your listing
- Log in to your Google account.
- Visit google.com/business and click the “Manage Now” button.
- Type your business’ name into the “Type your business name” search box.
- If your business’ name automatically populates, follow the steps that Google gives you to set up your account, such as choosing a category that your business fits into, where you serve your customers, contact details to show your customers, and your website URL. Be sure to sign up with your business’ email domain.
- You’ll have the choice to appear in Google Searches and Google Maps, or only in Google Searches.
- If there is a listing for an old business at your location, don’t claim it. Suggest to have it marked as closed and create a new listing for your business.
- In just a few steps, your Google my Business account will be set up.
- If your business’ name does not populate in the “Type your business name” search box, click on “Add your business to Google” and add basic information about your business such as the address and business URL.
Tips for Your Setup
We have some tips for you as you set up your listing. First, if your business has multiple locations, you should know that you can set up a unique listing for each location.
Also, you can add multiple service areas if you serve customers outside of your business’ physical location. For example, if you own a bakery located in Cambridge, MA that serves customers in-store but also does catering and delivery throughout Boston, Somerville, and Medford, you can add each of these cities as a service area.
Finally, If your business serves an area but does not have a physical location, you can choose to add only a service area and not a specific address. To do so, select “I deliver goods and services to my customers” and then list your service area(s).
Verifying Google My Business
After you set up your listing, you have to verify it in order for it to go live. There are several ways to verify your listing, so you can choose the method that is most convenient for you.
One option is to verify your listing with a postcard. Google will mail you a postcard with a verification code. Then, you log in and enter the code to verify your account.
Some businesses are eligible to verify their authenticity over the phone. If you qualify for this method, Google will send you a text message with a verification code for you to enter into your account. Similarly, certain businesses are eligible to verify their authenticity over email. Google will email you a code to enter into your account if you qualify for this authentication method.
Instant verification is another method. Many times when you are already using Google Search Console for your business, you qualify for this authentication method. In these instances, you can receive and approve a notification within Google asking you to validate the authenticity of the request.
Bulk verification is used for someone operating ten locations for the same business. For this method, you must fill out a verification form which takes up to one week to receive an answer from Google.
Once you create your listing, it is important to take advantage of all of the benefits of Google My Business. We have some best practices to help you make your listing successful. First, be sure to add plenty of information and media such as your business category, the date you first opened, your hours, attributes such as free WiFi, your phone number, and your website’s URL. The more information that your listing has, the more helpful your listing will be to potential customers.
When you are adding your business category and attributes to the listing, think about your keyword strategy. Add important and relevant keywords without “stuffing” your listing. Keyword stuffing refers to adding an unnatural amount of keywords just to help SEO. Doing this will actually hurt SEO. Also, there are many business categories and they are very specific. Take the time to look through them to make sure you’re defining your business as accurately as possible.
Also, check your Google my Business dashboard regularly to make sure that all of the details are correct. Our advice is to get the Google My Business app so that you can change your business hours and other info, update statuses and pictures, and look at how search is doing on the go. You can’t make setting changes or other large changes from the app, but it is a convenient tool to have on your hands to remind you to engage with your Google My Business listing regularly.
It’s important to respond to all the reviews that are left on your listing. One of the benefits of Google my Business is that your engagement will encourage future customers to leave you a review and you can show positive reviewers your appreciation, answer any questions that reviewers may have and proactively and apologetically address negative reviews or issues.
Learn from Your Results
You can use metrics on Google My Business to see how your business is doing over time as a result of your listing. You can learn more about how customers find your listing by seeing if they were searching for your general business category or for your specific business.
You can also see what most users do after viewing your listing. Do they visit your site, ask for directions, call you, or look through your photos? This can help you understand which part of your listing to focus on.
Looking at your phone call info can also give you information on your customer base. Pay attention to how many phone calls you are receiving versus site visits. Also, think about from which area code you are receiving calls.
Google My Business is a powerful tool that can help potential customers learn more about you and lead to more conversions. If you would like assistance with setting up your listing, making your website more impressive, or marketing your business, give us a call at 617-539-6528 or click here to get in touch.