What is Google My Business?
Do you have a local business? If so, do you know what happens when you say to your customers “Just Google my business, all the info is there.”
Is it really? – You may want to take a look for yourself. Sure, your website and Facebook pages may come up along with any local listings/citations, but you can have so much more!
This article will help to explain:
- What Google My Business is.
- How to create a Google My Business page.
- Benefits and advantages of having one.
- Tips to get the best out of your page.
There are a range of other features which are designed to enhance the customer experience, as well as help you showcase your brand. Some of the main features are listed below.
Benifits for Customers:
- Allows your customers to leave reviews.
- Upload images.
- View opening hours.
- Find your location in Maps and get directions.
- Get contact details and call you directly from the search results.
- Share your business details to their phone, or send them to other people.
- Visit your website.
Benifits for local business owners:
- Provides more control over what is displayed in Google about your business.
- Interact with customers, respond to reviews.
- Post photos of you, your team, office, branding, and much more to show off your business.
- Allows you to appear more reputable.
- Improves Google Rankings.
- Opportunities to appear in the “Google Map 3 Pack” at the top of the results – If your page is good enough!
How do you get a Google My Business Page?
Applying for a Google My Business (GMB) page is fairly simple, as part of my SEO service, I include the setup of a GMB page if it is needed, as it takes me a very short amount of time to set one up and begin the verification process.
One of the good things about Google My Business is that it is 100% free to set up and use. All that is required is for you to verify your business address.
First you will need to go to the Google My Business page and sign into your Google account, or click start now. You may want to click start now if you have never created one, as you will be guided through the process.
Basically if you have an office, clinic, shop, store, or even a home business where customers come to you, then you leave it at the default “no”.
Alternatively, if your customers do not come directly to your business and you serve them, then you select “yes”. An example would be tradies who go to customers, and operate within a service area like Auckland.
The other reason you may want to select this is if you do not wish for your address to be displayed.
An example is a photographer. Although they do their main amount of work at home editing and compiling pictures, they go to the customers location and take pictures. Sometimes you do not wish for your home address to be out in the open for all to see.
Something that you can NOT do is use a fake address, or a P.O. Box. Google picks up on these pretty quick and removes them since they are against the Terms of Service.
Once you have entered all of your details, Google will request that you verify your listing. This must be done otherwise it simply won’t be accepted. The most common way to verify is by address verification. If you have listed your correct business address, then you can request a letter to be sent to that address with a verification code included.
Google will then send out a postcard to your listed business address. This usually takes around two weeks to arrive. As soon as it does arrive, you want to verify the code by either sending it to the person who set it up or entering the code in your account if you regestered the GMB page.
Make sure you verify it, as the code expires after a month and you will need to request a new one.
Is That All? Yes & No…
Once you reach this point and your Google Business page is 100% filled out and verified. Essentially it’s job done! However, there are a range of things that I highly recommend you do to help improve your rankings. Some of these are pretty easy, while others can be a little technical.
This is something that is often overlooked. I recommend that before you upload any images to GMB that you add correct titles to the image, along with geo-tagging. An image with a title like “img24174.1.6” tells Google absolutely nothing about what the image is.
Although Google may be getting better at reading images, you want to help them out by providing good image titles to show what you are about .
The other thing that I recommend is to geo-tag your photos. iPhones have this feature built in so where ever you capture a picture, the iPhone can tell where the picture was taken since they can insert the geographic location into the image.
If you don’t have any cameras or images set up with that feature, you can use this free online Geo Tagger to update your images geo location.
Select the right category for your business:
Often times there can be multiple similar categories for your business in GMB. It can make a big difference if you select something different than what your business is about or what categories your competitors are using.
A good idea is to check what categories your competition are using, and as long as they are the same services you provide then it can be worth using the same category as them.
Be as specific as you can, and if necessary use multiple categories. Just don’t over-do it and start adding all of the services you offer in here.
Keep your listing up to date
Google loves the most relevant and up-to-date content. If you decide to change your operating hours and edit them on your website, make sure to also update the GMB page!
This is the same for any details about your business since this page is mostly the forefront of your online presence. There is nothing more annoying than calling in to a business only to find out they had moved and not updated their details, or they are closed when they say they are open.
This is one of the reasons why Google loves up to date text since it is more reliable.
It is a good idea to get the login details or shared access to the GMB Page from whoever may have created it.
Start Generating Reviews
- GMB Reviews are out there in the public for anyone and everyone to see.
- They are very difficult to fake.
- Most industries 5 or more reviews gives you a gold 5 star rating in Google under your business.
- They can help you to rank higher in Google with enough of them.
- Not many businesses know and utilize the value of Google Reviews.
Reviews are something that can be difficult for you to get your customers to do, but the effort is well worth it. Some industries may get 1 in 3 people you ask to actually leave a review, while others may be 1 in 20. Either way, it is very important to do so.
There are some things that are against the TOS such as incentivising reviews. Basically you can’t offer people a discount, reward, or anything in return for leaving a review. Google wants honest reviews and these things don’t help to provide them.
There are ways to make it easier for both you and your customers. I recommend generating a review link. This is a link that you can send and share with your customers. It takes them straight to the review page and if they are signed in, it will even popup with the review.
The tool that I use to generate reviews even auto-fills the 5 stars. This is good because it helps to prevent customers who always seem to give less positive ratings such as 4/5 stars no matter if they were happy or not. Here is my review link which you can check out to see how it works.
Google are always making changes and adding new features to their services. Google My Business is no different. Just recently they added the ability for businesses to create their own free website using the information from the GMB page. You can even create posts from your Google My Business page which expire – perfect for special offers or anyone selling new products and services.
As a local business, I hope that you can now see the importance of having a well optimized and up to date Google My Business page. If you get stuck creating one, or have any more questions/comments feel free to get in contact with me or leave a comment below.