Guide Table of Contents
- What Is Google My Business & Why Is It Important?
- How to Setup Google My Business & List My Business on Google
- Google My Business Guide – How to Optimize Google My Business
- GMB Review Guide
- Google Reviews & SEO
- Google My Business Posts
- Welcome offers in GMB
- Product Catalog
- Short Names & URLs
- Additional Info
This Google My Business Guide is here to first help you understand GMB and then to help you improve your Google Map rankings, control your online presence, communicate with existing customers as well as generate new leads.
What Is Google My Business & Why Is It Important?
GMB is Google’s free tool to help business owners manage their contact information, business hours, services, photos, and much more. It is important in your marketing journey because it will help your business to appear more prominently in the Google Maps results.
Having an optimized Google business listing provides useful information about your location, driving directions, business hours, and most importantly, it will increase the online presence of your business.
The thing is, that, anyone can enter your business name and register it on Google. But why would you like someone else to be managing your business online? That might seriously affect how customers will get the first impression of you.
How to Setup Google My Business & List My Business on Google
The following steps are quite easy to follow in other to set up your GMB yourself
Go to Google and type in “google my business” or just click here
Click on the Manage Now button, and sign into Gmail. If you do not have a Gmail account, make sure to create an account that is associated with your Google Business listing.
Setting a Name
Once you are logged in, enter the name of your business.
Your listing may appear itself only if someone has already listed you on Google. If that is not the case, click the result that has the text under your business name that says: Create a business with this name.
If the business does pop up, just click on it.
After completing this step click next.
Setting the Address
To set up the address of your business, you will have to choose between a Brick-and-Mortar Business or Service Area Business (SAB).
Brick-and-Mortar: If you have a physical store/office where your customers/clients come to do business with you, then leave the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” checkbox blank.
Service Area Business (SAB): If you are a Service Area Business, click the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” checkbox. After clicking this checkbox, another box will appear asking you if you’d want to hide your address.
Click the Hide your address checkbox if you don’t want your address to show, for example, if you work from home and you don’t want people to see your personal address. Otherwise, leave this box unchecked.
If you are not sure about your type of business, see the explanation below:
Service Area Business – A business that delivers things to customers/clients but doesn’t use the business address to attract clients (e.g., plumbers, mobile dog grooming, electricians) OR If you serve customers/clients at your business address AND deliver to them (pizza shops, outlets, gift shops)
Brick-and-Mortar Business – Restaurants (that do not deliver), Gas Stations, Doctor’s Offices, Lawyers, Accountants, etc.
Setting the Location
Setting the location of your business will be different for storefront business and a service area.
Setting Location for Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
With these kinds of businesses, you will have to set your business location on a map by dragging the marker to the exact location on the map. Place your marker and press the “Next” button.
Setting Location for SAB
With these kinds of businesses, you will have to let Google know what area you serve customers/clients. You can set your service area based on the city, country, county, zip-code, state, and so on.
For example, if your SAB is concentrated in Scottsdale, Arizona you might consider adding:
- Paradise Valley, AZ.
- Tempe, AZ.
- Mesa, AZ.
- Phoenix, AZ.
- Gilbert, AZ.
…and so on.
Categorizing Your Business
Getting this step right is crucial, so do not rush and take your time to do it right. This helps customers find you if they are looking for business/services like yours.
In this step, you will be able to set your primary and secondary categories.
Adding Additional Information
This step is also especially important because customers will gain trust more easily if they see all business info right away. Not providing your essential information will lose customers’ attention.
Add your website & List your phone number
Make sure to always list your website using the sable URL structure. For example, if your website is https://example.com do not list it https://www.example.com.
Google recommends having an https website, which will require you to have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate installed.
If you don’t know how to do it, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]
If you are done filling in the information, click the “Next” button.
Verifying your business
To verify your business a postcard will be mailed to you from Google with a verification code on it. Sometimes, Google might give you another way for verification, like by phone, by email, bulk verification, or instant verification but that’s very unlikely.
Once your postcard arrives follow these steps:
- Go to google.com/mybusiness
- Click Verify Location, or the Verify Now button
- Enter the 5-digit code from your postcard
And that’s it! We’ve set up the listing. Now it’s time to optimize it. With optimization, you can leverage the value that brings to your business.
Google My Business Guide – How to Optimize Google My Business
This Google My Business guidelines will show you the best way to represent yourself on Google. Even if your business is not verified yet, you can still work on the optimization. The goal in optimization is to show up at the very top of a Google Search.
Several factors influence how you rank in the local pack. Below are some of the best practices, so let’s get started.
Optimizing Info Section
Open your GMB and click on the “Info” option. It’s on the left-hand side of the dashboard.
Populate with as much info as you can. You should add your Address, Business Hours of Operation, Phone Number, Website Address (if applicable), Services, Appointment URL (if applicable), Photos, Business Description, and so on. You can always edit the information but be careful when you apply business hours of operation during holidays, weekends, or other special days.
To edit a section, click on the pencil icon.
Advanced – Tracking the Organic Traffic from GMB in Google Analytics
It is not easy to track the traffic that comes to your website if you do not have the UTM parameters to your website URL in the GMB dashboard.
Attach the following at the end of your URL:
With this, you will be able to identify which traffic came from your GMB listing.
Optimizing Services Section
The services section allows you to add content to your listing. By adding keywords, you increase your chances of organic traffic. Note that services do not show up on the desktop, but they do appear on mobile searches.
To optimize your Service Section open Google My Business Dashboard and follow these steps:
- Go to the Info Screen
- Scroll down to Services, click on it.
- Create a section or add a service to a pre-existing section.
- Add a Service that you offer.
- There’s an option of listing a price.
- Click Add and that’s it!
Attributes & Highlights
This section allows you to add items depending on the industry your business falls into, for example, Woman-Led, Veteran-Led, (Free) Wi-Fi, Wheelchair Accessible, Dine-in, Takeaway, Delivery, and so on.
Be honest about your services. Don’t attempt to stuff it with keywords. Make it sound natural and human.
Some types of business can include additional information in their listings. For example, restaurants can add menus, hotels can add the book option or check availability. Make sure to find all that is available for your industry type.
Google My Business Photo Guide
Format: JPG or PNG
Size: From 10 KB to 5 MB
Minimum Resolution: 720px × 720px
Quality: Use high-quality images, in focus, and well lit. Avoid excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.
It’s very important to add a profile photo to your listing. Customers are less likely to click on a listing that doesn’t include a photo.
Also, optimize your photos by naming them appropriately. Do not upload images with generic file names (or file names like IMG_2020_02_03). Instead, think of a proper name like (red-bouquet-gift.jpg).
You can add Cover Photos, Profile Photos and Other business-related photos to GMB.
- Profile Photo Size: 1:1 Aspect Ratio, 250 x 250 pixels (120 x 120 min; 5200 x 5200 max)
- Cover Photo Size: 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 1080 x 608 pixels (480 x 270 min; 2120 x 1192 max)
- Shared Images Size: 497:373 Aspect Ratio, 497 x 373 pixels (497 min width; 2048 x 2048 max)
- Logo: Set your logo from GMB Dashboard by clicking on Photos in the left-hand navigation menu.
Your customers/clients can add photos but the good thing about this is that you can easily remove those photos if you don’t like them or if they are not depicting your brand.
Use photos that perform well in both landscape and square mode. This is important because people use both desktop and mobile, so the photos will be formatted as needed.
A cover photo is a primary image that appears when your business is viewed. Get a professional cover photo and always use high-quality and relevant photos.
Google My Business Video Guide
Videos are the most consumed content format, and they perform very well online. Videos should be high-quality and recorded in landscape mode.
- 30 seconds or shorter
- 720p resolution or higher
- 100MB or smaller
GMB Review Guide
Online reviews are very important for your business credibility and they are always welcomed. Encourage customers to leave reviews by asking them to do so. It’s also important to respond to those who already left one. Engage with people who post on your listing. That will encourage others to take part in your community.
There are two main rules for responding to reviews:
- If customers leave a positive review, thank them
- If customers leave a negative review, be kind, and try to soothe things.
It’s better to resolve complaints before they become bad reviews. Don’t get into a war with someone because of a bad online review.
Can I Remove Negative Review from GMB?
No, you cannot. No one can. That’s why you have to be extra careful if someone complains. What you can do, is to dispute fake reviews but there’s n guaranty that Google will remove them.
Let your customers know that you listen to what they have to say and do your best to help them.
Another thing you should know is that you cannot turn off reviews for GMB. Always respond kindly to people even if it’s a fake review. Respond and then flag it for a dispute.
It seems scary, that your reputation is in the hands of the customer, but it has always been this way. Don’t fear the bad reviews, maintain a professional manner online by responding kindly and you will look good to people who matter – your loyal and ideal customers.
Embedding GMB Reviews on Websites
There are many options available to embed your Google reviews on your website. Tools like EmbedReviews make it very easy for a developer to do it. Another option is to create your own connection to Google’s API.
Google Reviews & SEO
Google says that positive reviews from customers will improve the business’s visibility and increase the possibility for potential customs o visit your location.
Activating Booking Button
The booking button on your listing can be a great way to generate new leads. Businesses in supported regions that use one of Google’s supported reservation/booking partners can activate this feature. Hotels usually choose the “Check Availability” button.
You can enable messages/calls only if your business has been verified. Even if you’re still waiting for verification, keep working on the optimization. Enabling messages allows your customers to text-message you, without knowing your cell number at all. It is a powerful tool to utilize, especially if you are trying to reach out to younger generations. They are more likely to text rather than call. Don’t lose leads under the age of 35 just because that can’t text you.
There are third-party apps just like the official Google Voice app that allows your customers to text you via the app, not directly to your cell phone. They will never know the difference, and the great thing about it is that you can restrict the times in which the app will send you notifications.
Enable Messaging for GMB
From Dashboard, click on Messages and then Click Enable
Once enabled, the option to message you will show up. The option is available for users on mobile and desktop.
The downside is that you can reply to your customers only by using the GMP app. But, Google has partnered with several customer service solutions to provide communication with customers from the same platform they are using.
Click Here to see the list of available partners.
Google My Business Posts
Google offers posts as a way for you to approach potential customers through writing. This way, you can provide info about your business and/or services. Keep things up to date on Google because these posts may also appear on Maps, Overview and Search. The posts can contain text, photos even videos. Think of GMB posts in a similar way to Facebook posts.
Types of GMB Posts
What’s New Posts: General info you want to share with the public.
Event Posts: If you’re hosting an event, you can use this post to promote that. These types of post require:
- Start/End Dates/Times
Offer Posts: Just as the name suggests, use these posts to promote a deal.
Product Posts: Use this type of post to highlight a specific product/service your business provides.
To improve Local SEO ranking, it’s sufficient enough to post 2-3 times a week. This way your listing will always be updated with fresh info and you will keep you, customers, in the loop
Welcome offers in GMB
This feature can encourage customers to follow GMB listings. Businesses create this welcome offer as a sign of gratitude. This is a relatively new feature and is not widely known. Think of this as an advantage since your competition might not know it yet.
So, create an attractive offer and promote it on your GMB and social media. Remember, your goal is to attract followers so can later show up in their “For You” tab in maps.
You can display your products on your listing from the “Posts” section in your GMB account. Clicking on “Products” and follow Google’s guidelines. This feature is recommended for brick-and-mortar businesses.
Short Names & URLs
Adding a short name to your profile is a great way to promote your business listing. With the link provided, your customers can leave you a review more easily.
You can set the short name from the Info pane of your GMB Dashboard.
Download the App on your phone so you can edit your listing, review insights, respond to messages, create new posts, and more.
If you have any questions about how to set up and optimize your GMB listing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]