Whether you’ve just started a new business or have been in the industry for years, the key to success is visibility. You need to stand out from the crowd to get more attention and more customers. One of the first steps on your marketing journey should be to create a Google My Business account and profile.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an array of free tools and interfaces that allows you to submit and control information about your business. Google regularly pulls information from these profiles to provide users with relevant search results, and you can even use GMB to interact with clients via posts, photos, and video content.
It’s important to note that a Google Business Profile isn’t the same as a Google My Business account. The Business Profile is a collection of business information, including contact details, address, opening times, and location. This profile shows up on Google Maps and in related Google search queries.
However, in being as customer-friendly as possible, Google will try to find this information from any source, including automated listing generators and third parties.
The only way that you can control the information of the business profile on Google is to link it to a dedicated Google My Business account. Once you’ve set up the account, you can access, customize, and enhance your Business Profile to meet your needs.
The Benefits of a Google My Business Account
Even though it’s free, managing a GMB account takes time and effort. If you’re still unconvinced if your business needs a Google My Business listing, here are some very compelling reasons to get one.
Most customers use Google search to research and find services and products. Increasing your online presence can dramatically increase the interest in your business, and one of the easiest ways to do so is with Google My Business.
Having a business listing ensures that people will see your company on Google Maps and their searches. A comprehensive listing will also make it easy to find information like your phone number, address, and hours. It’s also a great place to put your menu or product list so that people can shop with ease.
Build Customer Trust
Research shows that customers trust businesses with a Google listing, especially if it includes reviews. Google will automatically pull any reviews left about your business, and any business with a star ranking get priority in searches and map visibility.
Since you can engage with customers, you can respond to reviews, connect with local clients and post stories to help your engagement and local SEO. Customers will take this as a sign that your company is trustworthy.
Gain Insight into Your Customer Base
A My Business listing also offers valuable insights into your target audience and local search performance. Every My Business account comes with a host of powerful, free business analytics tools to help you fine-tune your marketing strategy.
Setting Up Your Google My Business Profile
Set Up a Business Google Account
Before you start adjusting your profile, you’ll need a Google account. We recommend using a dedicated business account. One of the features of a business account is that you can manage a list of owners and managers and apply a wide range of permissions.
For instance, you can give the owner complete control over the account while still giving managers the ability to post, add photos, and respond to comments.
What Information You Need
Once you have a Google account eligible for My Business, you can start filling out the online local business form. Google has a streamlined process, but it still requires a lot of information from the business.
While you can get away with only filling in the bare minimum, such as your business name, website link, contact details, and location, more information is always better.
Here’s a list of information you should cover in your Google My Business profile:
- Business name
- Photos (including one of your business’s sign) and videos
- Maps marker (make sure the pin is in the right place)
- Website link
- Address – for physical locations, provide the full location or provide the city and state for service-area businesses
- Phone number
- Question and answers
You can also add industry-specific information to your Google My Business profile, like a menu link, price summary, booking, and even a live chat feature.
The more accurate your Google My Business profile, the better. Google prioritizes listings with accurate information, as well as those where the company interacts with customers.
Verify/Claim Your Business on Google My Business
Once you’ve set up your account, the final step is to verify your business. There are multiple ways to verify your profile, including:
Postcard by mail
Once you’ve selected your preferred method, complete the form and enter the five-digit code you receive with your chosen verification method. Once you verify your business, it will take a couple of weeks for your listing to appear.
If your business already has an existing Google My Business profile, you need to claim it to get the necessary access to create new content and edit existing information.
Sign into your Google My Business account, and then search for your business. Click on the listing and follow the steps to claim the listing. Alternatively, you can use Google Maps by finding the “Manage this Listing” button on the Google My Business profile.
You may find that someone else has already claimed the business. If it’s the owner or someone you recognize, you can simply get them to add you as a new user on the existing Google My Business account. However, you may need to take further action to claim your business from an unknown third party.
Making the Most of the Google My Business Dashboard
Once you’ve created your profile, it’s time to optimize it using the insights from the Google My Business dashboard. You can do simple tasks like manage and review information or start working on engagement and local SEO.
Try to create new content regularly, such as posting news, reviews, visual content, and special offers on your Google My Business profile. Use the Google My Business account dashboard as a tool to identify what works and what doesn’t in terms of SEO and consumer engagement. You have enough information to optimize your business on Google, leading to increased leads and better business growth.
Having a Google My Business account is an excellent first step to increasing visibility and starting a serious SEO campaign. Even if you just create a simple business profile, you’ll quickly find that it’s a useful tool in a wide variety of ways. If you’re interested and want to create your own listing, give us a call for more information today!