Your Ultimate Google My Business Guide

Internet users perform over 2 trillion search engine queries each year. There are over 213 million people using search engines in the United States alone. That number is expected to rise to 236.4 million by 2019.

Search engine marketing is incredibly important for any business with a digital presence of any kind. Search engines deliver 10x more traffic than social media, for starters. No matter how many brand-building campaigns you’re engaging in, search engines and search engine marketing should be at the core of your digital marketing efforts.

Google My Business is an important component of your website showing up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

We’ve compiled a thorough guide to Google My Business to help you make the most of this powerful new program.

The Ultimate Guide To Google My Business

Here’s everything you need to know about using Google for your business. We’ll discuss the program itself as well as the technicalities on how to set up and optimize your GMB profile.

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business lets you configure the way your business appears on Google Maps and search engine results.

Google My Business lets you list:

  • Business name
  • Physical location
  • Hours of operation
  • Customer reviews
  • Photos of your business

GMB also offers business owners a dedicated dashboard to monitor where search engine traffic is coming from.

Why Google My Business Matters

An overwhelming majority of online searches are conducted through Google. Google processes over 4 billion searches every day. They regularly account for up to 90% of all online searches.

Clearly, considering Google is important when it comes to people finding your online presence, no matter what kind of website you’re running. If you’re a business owner, it’s important to understand the Google My Business program, to comprehend the way it impacts SEO ranking, paid search results, and other quickly-shifting metrics.

Google My Business is an important aspect of local search. Claiming and verifying your business with Google increases visibility on local search results and regularly drives customers to your business, both online and in real life.

Surprisingly, only 44% of businesses verify Google My Business profiles, according to the Local Search Association. That’s a vacuum just waiting to be filled, to help you spring ahead of your competition.

Your GMB profile is what’s going to help your business show up when someone searches ‘[business type] near me.’ Considering that 50% of customers who search a local business will visit a physical retailer that day, this is an asset that simply can’t be overlooked.

How To Create A Google My Business Listing

To start, you’ll need to login to the Google account you want to be associated with your business. You’ll need to create a dedicated Google account if you don’t want to use any of your pre-existing accounts.

Once you’re logged in, sign in to https://www.google.com/business/ and click on “Start Now” in the top-right corner. You’ll be prompted to enter your business name and location.

You can also modify your “customer’s location,” which is important for businesses that deliver goods and services. You can also choose to hide your physical address if you’re working from home. Select “Hide Your Address” and only your region will appear.

You’re also able to customize your delivery range. You can specify if you only deliver locally or if you ship to different regions.

Next, you’ll be asked to choose which category your business falls under. This helps Google to know which customers to show your listings.

Finally, you’ll be asked to enter your business phone number and website information.

Now you’re ready for Google to verify your business.

How To Verify Your GMB Account

There are multiple ways you can verify your Google business listing.

Postcard Verification

To start, log back into your Google Business account. If you’re already logged in, you’ll probably already be at the Verification stage.

Check to make sure the listed business address is correct. You’re also able to add a contact name, which is the name that will be listed on the postcard.

Click the blue “Mail” button on the right. The postcard should reach you within five business days. Make sure not to modify any of your business info in that time, as it could delay the process.

When you receive your postcard, log back into your Google Business account. Select the location you want to confirm and click ‘Verify Now’. In the code field, enter the five digit confirmation code on your postcard. Click “Submit.”

If your postcard never shows up you can request another. Sign into your Google Business account and click the “Request Another Code” banner at the top of the screen.

Phone Verification

If you’re eligible for phone verification, you should see a “Verify By Phone” option when you begin the verification process.

Once you’re logged in, make sure that your business phone number is correct. Click “Verify By Phone.” Then simply enter the five-digit verification code you receive by text.

Email Verification

Similar to the phone verification, you’ll see a “Verify By Email” option if your business is eligible for email verification.

Make sure your business email is correct then select “Verify By Email.” Go to your Inbox and look for the confirmation email. Open the email from Google My Business and click the verification button.

Instant Verification

If your website has already been verified with Google Search Console you may be eligible for instant verification. Google Search Console is an analytics tool that lets you measure your site’s performance.

Log into the account you’ve associated with your Google Search Console. You should see an option for “Instant Verification” if you’re eligible.

Bulk Verification

If you manage more than 10 locations from one business, you may be eligible for bulk verification. This is as long as long as you’re not offering management services to outside businesses.

Start off by logging into the Google account associated with your business. Click “Verify Now,” next to your business. Then click “Chain.”

Fill out the verification form with your business name, as well as the parent company if there is one. Also fill out all applicable contact names, which is everyone who will be using the Google business account. You’ll need to specify the Account Manager and the business manager of the email.

You’ll also have to fill out the Google my business phone number.

Once you’re done, click “Verify.” You may have to wait up to a week for verification.

Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing

Now that your business is listed and verified with GMB, let’s take a look at how to help your business make the most of the program.

Start off by logging into your Google My Business account. Select the business you’d like to edit. Click on “Info,” and then choose a section to update.

Add as much information as you can to your GMB. Include a photo of your business. Remember to update the area you serve and business hours. Specify which special features your business offers, such as wheelchair accessibility or free wi-fi.

Confirm the day and year your business was started. Then add your phone number and website address.

Anyone’s able to suggest an edit to a Google listing. It’s important to fill this blanks in yourself. This will prevent random people from completing the information for you. In light of this fact, make sure to keep an eye on your GMB listing periodically to make sure your details are still accurate.

Adding GMB Photos

Photos are some of the most important assets for your GMB profile. Businesses with photos see up to 35% more traffic to their websites. Customers request driving directions to businesses with photos in their profiles 42% more often than those without.

Photos should be at least 720×720 and can be uploaded as either JPG or PNG.

Your cover photo is the most important, as it will be the first thing your audience sees when they search your business. Make sure to make it look its absolute best.

Your profile photo is the second most important visual asset. This is the logo that will appear next to your uploads, reviews, or any online comments you might make.

There are all kinds of other photos you can add to make your GMB more appealing.

Exterior Photos

Exterior photos of your business will help your customers recognize your establishment in real life. Google recommends uploading a minimum of three photos of your business’ exterior.

Consider uploading photos of your business at different times of the day or during different seasons. This will increase your business’ recognizability, no matter what time of day or year.

Interior Photos

Google also recommends you add up to three photographs of the interior of your business. Focus on any special ambiance or decor, that will help make your business appeal to your customers and stand out against the competition.

Consider taking photographs from multiple vantage points. This will give viewers the impression of physically wandering through your business and subconsciously make them want to visit.

Product Photos

Google recommends having at least one photo for every type of product you generally carry. Product photography is its own special art form, so take a moment to learn how to take the best photos of your inventory as possible. Research lighting, focus, and depth-of-field to learn how to get the most attractive photographs of your physical inventory without spending a mint!

Food And Beverage Photos

Food photography is notoriously tricky. They don’t pour Elmer’s school glue on cornflakes for no reason, after all. If you own a restaurant or food-related business, it might be worth your while to hire a dedicated food photographer to show off your wares.

If you’re going to take photographs of your food or drink yourself, remember to stick with bright, direct lighting. Shadows are not a good look for food photography!

Google recommends you feature up to three photos of your most popular dishes, as a general guideline.

Video For Your Google My Business Profile

Video is becoming increasingly influential when it comes to online marketing and promotion. You can feature videos on your Google My Business page, as well, although they’re not as important as the other information we’ve already covered.

GMB supports videos up to 30 seconds in length. There’s a 100 MB size restriction, as well. Google recommends uploading video at 720p or higher.

Business Reviews

71% of consumers report that customer reviews help them feel certain they’re making the right decision about a particular purchase. So how do you convince your audience to leave positive reviews on your GMB profile?

Start by responding to the positive reviews you already have. The response helps the reviews stand out on the page. It also encourages new users to leave reviews of their own.

Remember to be polite but also warm and friendly with your customers. Don’t be too formal. Using their first name will help build a feeling of familiarity and trust, which helps to convert them to loyal customers.

Respond to negative reviews as well, of course, and the sooner the better! 95% of dissatisfied customers will return if a matter is resolved quickly.

Following these steps will make sure your Google My Place is able to fulfill its function, helping customers to find your business. It also helps to build trust and ensure customer loyalty, as they can see that you exist and what others have to say about your business.

Want To Learn More Ways To Grow Your Business Online?

With over half of the world’s population currently online, and growing daily, the digital economy simply cannot be overlooked.

Whether you’re looking to master Google My Business or start a personal blog, we’re here to help you launch your online empire. Contact us today with any questions!