What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that enables businesses, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google services, including Maps and Search. It's an easy-to-use interface that helps your customers find you and helps you better communicate your brand to your customers.
If you've ever searched for something like "coffee in Atlanta", you've seen Google My Business in action. When someone searches for a business that is registered with Google My Business, they see a rich snippet with contact information, photos, and customer reviews like the example below.
Google My Business provides a simple way for businesses to manage their appearance in the Google ecosystem. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from using Google My Business.
Why is it valuable?
GMB has value for every business, regardless of size. Here are a few reasons why:
Yes, free. Google My Business is available to use at no cost. You can't beat free for cost-effectiveness.
Google My Business brings all your information together into one simple dashboard. Your presence on Search, Maps, and Google+ can be accessed and managed from here. In addition, the dashboard allows you to see customer reviews and provides you with insights into how customers are interacting with your business on Google services (including clicks, phone calls, and views).
It's invaluable for capturing micro-moments.
According to Google, micro-moments are "the moments when we turn to a device—often a smartphone—to take action on whatever we need or want right now." Google My Business is a valuable tool to help you be present for customers in those crucial moments.
Google found that "76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase." A monumental step toward converting those potential customers is simply being present. By utilizing Google My Business, you are able to provide rich information to people searching for your business and businesses like yours. They can see your address, location in Maps, your business hours, phone number, and customer reviews. Providing a quick source of essential information to customers pushes you toward the top of the list when people are searching locally.
It's essential for local SEO.
Google My Business is the first step in local SEO. Without it, you don't exist on Google, or your risk the possibility that the information on Google about your business is incomplete or incorrect. In an article for Search Engine Watch, Graham Charlton writes the following, “GMB is incredibly important for local SEO. Without it you won’t be appearing on any local map listings in the SERPs which Google displays for the vast majority of local queries.” Simply signing up for Google My Business won't guarantee that you'll appear in the top three local listings, but it's a start toward optimizing your business for local Google search results. For information on how to optimize your local search ranking, read this helpful article by Google.
How can you get started?
1. Add or claim your business.
Getting started with Google My Business is actually quite simple. To begin, head over to the Google My Business page. You will need to find and claim your business listing on Google. Search for the name of your business and look for the “Are you the business owner?” link beneath the listing. If the link appears, click the link to claim your business listing. If the link does not appear, you'll need to add your business. You will be prompted to sign in to your Google account or create one.
2. Add your business information.
Next, you will be prompted to add your basic business information. Here are a few important things to remember:
Category. It's important to choose a category that fits your business because Google uses this information to match searches to your business.
Standard address. Be sure that the address you use on your GMB profile is consistent with the address on your website (if you have one) and other directories, such as Facebook and Yelp. Consistency will help you rank higher in searches.
Local phone number. Instead of a toll-free number, use a number with a local area code. A local phone number helps to add credibility to your listing as a local business.
3. Verify your business
Once you’ve claimed or added your business, you will need to verify your listing with Google. Google will send you a postcard with a verification code which you'll need to enter on your GMB profile. Once you've completed the verification step, you'll receive access to the reviews and insights portions of your profile.
4. Set your business up for success.
After you've claimed your listing and verified it with Google, it's time to fill out your profile with the rest of your business information.
Website. You will want to add your website so that users can be redirected to your website. If you don't have one, find out how we can help you create a website that meets your business's needs. Google requires that you verify your website's URL to ensure that you are the authorized owner of the website.
Hours of operation. The information you provide here will display across all Google services, so it's important to be as accurate as possible. If your hours change, be sure to update them as promptly as possible.
Description. Your description should be brief and on-topic. Try to include terms people might use when searching for your business, such as "custom printing", "digital marketing", or "website design".
Profile photo. This is the picture customers will see in Google search results. While this is typically a picture of your storefront, don't let that limit you. Use a photo that will stand out to your customers.
Pictures. Photos are important to help customers get a feel for your business. You can include photos of products, team photos, or your menu. Use the highest quality photography available to you. Quality pictures will help improve your credibility, but blurry, pixelated, or dimly lit photos can have a negative impact on your image.
Virtual tour. This is optional, but including a virtual tour can help your Google ranking and bring people to your business by giving customers a feel for your business before they arrive at your physical location.
5. Get back to business.
You're all set. You've claimed and verified your business and thoroughly filled out your profile. Now you can be sure the information your customers see is complete and up-to-date.
Setting up your GMB profile is quick and simple, but we know that running a business is no easy task. That's why we're here. If you need someone to build a website, manage your Google My Business profile, or create a custom social media campaign, talk to us.