Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing that allows you to manage the information seen when someone searches for your business, product or service in Google. According to Google, businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search they will see information about your hours, website, photos and street address. GMB also gives you the opportunity to interact with customers by responding to reviews and questions.
Creating a Google My Business listing will help with your online visibility especially when people are searching for a local business of your type. The majority of organic searches come from Google (approx. 90% worldwide) making this free listing very valuable.
When customers search for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search you want to be visible. GMB lets you post short articles and updates, respond to reviews and questions and add photos.
After you complete your GMB listing, Google will send you monthly reports on how customers searched for your business and where the customers are coming from. If you set up your phone number for direct dialing you can also see how many people called from your display.
Once your listing is created it generates a Google Maps location in Google Search.
Create Your Listing
If you come across a listing for your business click on “Own this business?” and claim it.
You can set up your account from your computer or download the mobile app. To get started, go to https://business.google.com/
Enter the name of your business, your address and email. If you have a service area check the box next to “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Skip this step if you are not limited to a specific area. When you are creating your account, provide an email address that is regularly monitored. The email address will receive the insights, questions, reviews, etc. and will not appear on the live GMB listing.
Next, choose your business category. Google offers a wide array of categories, choose what is closest to what you do, you can add more detailed information at a later step.
Enter your phone number and your website address.
Verify your business by mail or phone.
When the screen for “Preview your free website” appears, you can ignore this. This option would take you to Google’s website builder, but you already have a website! No need for two sites and that will not help your SEO.
Now you will be on the screen that allows you to customize your listing, add users, add an additional location, edit your settings and more.
Use the Post area to highlight company news, services, promotions, new products or events.
According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. Google gives you options to add photos of your location – interior & exterior, team, video and identity. Use JPG or PNG format
Profile image – 720 x 720 pixels, the most visible of the images, use your logo
Cover image – 1080 x 608 pixels, use an image that showcases your brand
Additional images – 497 x 373 pixels, highlight services or products
Video – tell your story with video up to 30 seconds long, 720p or higher resolution, file size up to 100 MB
When creating posts you have the option of choosing What’s New, Event, Offer or Product. If you would like to list your services, use the Product category. If you have a new product, service or blog post use the What’s New category.
Questions & Reviews
Questions and reviews should be attended to promptly.
If someone takes the time to post a review, respond to it. If you receive a negative review don’t ignore it, respond in a positive manner and ask how the issue can be resolved.
If you do not respond to questions that come in then Google will ask Local Guides for answers. A recent analysis showed that 91% of questions go unanswered by business owners. Respond to questions quickly rather than leaving it to Google’s Local Guides who may not provide accurate information.
Optimize Your Listing
Google likes to deliver results based on search intent. While writing your descriptions use the top keywords and search phrases that your customers would be using in their search. Don’t overdo it, make it logical and easy to read.
GMB updated the Services section beyond restaurants. Adding your services gives searchers more incentive to visit your site and/or local business.
Monitor Your Insights
Watch your inbox for emails from Google My Business with monthly insights. Or check your account for information including:
- How customers find your listing – Direct Search or Discovery (searches by category, service or product)
- Where customers find you on Google
- Customer Actions
- Direction Requests
- Phone Calls