Getting your business noticed online can be a challenge in today’s market.
Luckily, there are tons of simple, cost-free resources that can help boost your business’s reputation and set you apart from your competitors. One of the most basic and effective tactics to boost your online brand and increase traffic from search engines is Google My Business.
Google My Business helps brands manage how their business appears on Google search results and Google Maps. It is a completely free tool offered by Google where brands can easily claim their business and include information for consumers. This information can include contact information, business location and directions, business hours, photos, customer reviews, menu listings or services, a link to the company website, and more.
Google My Business is important for businesses of all kinds – especially local businesses that are often found by nearby searches.
Whether you claim your business or not, it’s likely it will be posted on Google My Business and show up in local searches. By improving your listing and adding your company information on the already listed page, you can increase consumer traffic from search engine results.
Think of Google My Business as free online marketing, because that is essentially what it is!
In short, your Google My Business listing can increase customers by conveniently giving consumers the information they are likely Googling to find out. Not only this, but encouraging reviews and managing those reviews can help your brand build further business and improve your already established business.
Claiming your Google My Business profile is easy. Once you’ve claimed your business, you can manage your Google My Business listing, including adding information and responding to reviews.
Follow the steps below to claim your business’ profile on Google My Business:
1. Search for your business on Google.
2. A listing that will look somewhat like the photo below will appear.
3. Click the “Own this business?” link.
4. Follow the steps Google requests to verify that you own the business.
Once you’ve claimed your business, you can dive in and personalize your profile.
While it is common for businesses to be listed on Google prior to a business owner setting up their Google My Business profile, there are times when this will not happen. If your brand has not yet been added to Google My Business, you will need to create a business name.
Fortunately, Google has made the process easy and nearly identical for those claiming a business and those creating a business on Google My Business.
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Below describes seven steps to set up a complete Google My Business profile for your brand that will help your customers find out all the information they need in one Google search.
Step 1: Go to Google’s Business Site
There are two ways to get to the Google My Business profile setup page.
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/, or
- Search for “google my business” in the Google search bar.
Once you land on the Google My Business homepage, log in to the Gmail account you want associated with your business and click the “Manage Now” button.
Step 2: Naming Your Business
Type in the name of your business that you want users to see when they search for your brand on Google.
If your business is already listed on Google My Business, it will show up as you’re typing with a location below the name so you are sure it is the right business.
Step 3: Choosing Your Business Category
What type of business are you running?
Add in all the categories your business can fall under in order to increase your visibility in local search results.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, list what kind of food you sell as a category and even how fancy or casual your establishment is and the meal time you offer your services.
The more specific your tags, the more likely you are to gain a lead from consumers who find you in their search results.
Step 4: Setting Your Business Location
First, tell Google My Business if you have a brick and mortar shop you want your online consumers to find or not.
If yes, add in your business address.
If not, move on to setting your available service locations.
Step 5: Setting Your Available Service Locations
Whether you have a brick and mortar shop or not, if your business offers services such as deliveries or home/office visits, you can let Google know to help expand your visibility when your business category is searched.
If yes, include general areas you offer your services in. You can go back and add more or edit these area listings at any time.
Step 6: Adding Your Contact Details
Often, customers search for a business to get in contact with someone at the shop.
Adding in your phone number and/or website can help build an easier customer experience when consumers Google your business.
Step 7: Start Managing Your Google My Business Profile
Your business will now appear in Google My Business search results for local consumers to browse.
You can continue to manage, edit, and monitor search analytics through your Google My Business account.
In order to complete your Google My Business listing as a reputable location, you will need to verify the business. You will need to verify your new Google My Business profile before you can make any edits on your Google My Business page information.
The following steps will guide you through the verification process.
Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business Dashboard
If you already set up your Google My Business profile and didn’t choose “Verify now” at the end of signing up, you can easily sign on to your Google My Business dashboard, and start from there.
Step 2: Click the “Verify Now” Button
There will be a red banner at the top of your dashboard, which will be your Google My Business homepage.
Click the “Verify Now” button on the red banner to begin the Google My Business verification process.
Step 3: Mail Your Google My Business Verification Postcard
In order to verify your business, Google will send you a postcard in the mail.
You will see a “Mail” button appear after beginning the Google My Business verification process.
Confirm you provided the correct mailing address and click “Mail”
The screen will then ask you to provide an optional name to include on the postcard.
Once you are sure you’ve provided the correct information for the postcard, click “Send Postcard” and wait for your postcard to arrive in the mail.
Step 4: Receiving Your Google My Business Postcard
Within the next few weeks, your postcard will arrive with instructions to follow on your Google My Business account page.
Sign in to your Google My Business homepage and click “Verify Location” or “Verify Now.” Follow the instructions to enter the verification code listed on your postcard and confirm your location and business is legitimate.
Now that you’ve set up and verified your account, there are three extra tips to help boost your Google my Business profiles and attract more customers.
Like most pages online, adding more information and media can boost your search results and increase site traffic.
Tip 1: List All Public Business Information
The more information you provide on your Google My Business profile, the more likely your business is to get noticed online.
Consider the following informative sections to include in your profile:
- Business Hours
- Business Description
- Contact Information (phone number and email)
- Website Address
- Menu (Food or Services)
- Booking URL (Reservations or Appointments)
TIP: Learn how to add a menu to your Google My Business account and its benefits.
Tip 2: Add Photos and Videos
Media is one of the best ways to entice online consumers to learn more about your business. Adding a cover photo and photos and videos to your Google My Business profile can grab consumers attention and show consumers exactly what to expect when visiting your establishment.
Tip 3: Encourage Reviews
Reviews are always helpful on any listing website your business may appear on.
Consumers like to hear what other visitors have to say about your business. Hearing feedback from customers can also benefit your business. You can learn what your business is doing well and what it can improve on. Be sure to respond to reviews and interact with consumers to build your image and maintain positive relationships in-person and online with consumers.
While the above tips will help boost your online image on Google My Business, there are guidelines to ensure the images, videos, and reviews are all up to Google My Business standards.
Photo Sizing Guidelines
- Profile Photo Size: 250 x 250 pixels
- Cover Photo Size: 1080 x 608 pixels
- Share Images Size: 497 x 373 pixels
While video can be one of the best forms of content online, make sure your video is good quality and offers content that will add positive branding to your business.
On top of the content and quality, your video on Google My Business must be:
- Less than 30 seconds,
- 100 MB or smaller, and
- 720p resolution or higher.
Google Reviews Guidelines
You likely will get both negative and positive reviews on your Google My Business page.
As a general rule, it’s good to thank users for their feedback whether positive or negative. If the feedback is negative, rather than getting into an argument or disagreeing, explain how you plan to fix the issue this visitor encountered at your establishment and apologize for any inconvenience.
You’re Ready to Take Advantage of Google My Business!You now have a complete guide to claiming, creating, verifying, and optimizing a Google My Business profile. Google My Business can be a great, free resource to boost your online and in person visitors and increase sales.So, what are you waiting for? Claim and set up your Google My Business page today and watch your business boom! Make sure to visit and monitor your Google my Business profile regularly to respond to reviews and keep your information up-to date.
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