It’s all about visibility online. In a world where people use “let me Google that” several times a day, if you have a business or a website where you want more customers and visitors, you need to get found on Google. This especially applies to local businesses trying to compete against online retailers and big box stores. That’s why it’s key to create and manage a Google My Business account, especially for a local business.
People who use “near me” search language, like ‘sink repair near me’ or ‘bicycle shop near me” are far more likely to visit a store or make a purchase that same day. Local searchers are high-intent. Meaning they’re ready to take action. So for any small business, being prepared for those local searches is crucial. Having a Google My Business (GMB) profile for your business means you’re more likely to show up in those “near me” searches, and have a greater chance of reaching your customers looking for your business or services.
This article will go through everything you’ve ever needed to know about Google My Business:
- How to claim a Google My Business account
- How to set up Google My Business
- Verification steps
- Ways to optimize your listing for local search
- Google My Business FAQs
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to create a business listing to be posted on Google Search and Google Maps. You can connect with your customers, post updates, change your hours, and provide needed information right from the profile. And yes, it really is free. It’s part of a giant digital directory of businesses. The results can come up differently depending on where you are located. For example, a search for Boostability will be very different depending on if you’re searching in Utah in the United States, or in Berlin in Europe (our two offices).
The Google My Business listing includes things like website, NAP (name, address, phone number), business hours, customer reviews, photos, and more. All these things are crucial in the world of local search and helping your business stay visible. When you claim your business on Google, you start to show up on Google Maps. You can start soliciting reviews (which is crucial in today’s online world).You can also update your listing with posts like your latest blog, viral social media post, or sudden changes to business operations.
On the back end, Google provides insights for you as a business owner. It lets you see when people are searching for your business or services. Insights gives you information and suggestions around optimizing customer engagement and data to help you make informed decisions about your business.
It’s also important to note that you don’t actually need a physical location in order to claim your profile. Even if you are entirely online, you can still claim the benefits of managing a Google My Business profile and optimizing it for local search even if customers can’t come visit you in person.
4 Ways to Manage Your Google My Business Profile
- Claim My Business on Google
- How to Add My Business to Google
- How to Verify Google My Business
- Set Up Google My Business with Additional Details
Claim My Business on Google
If you are taking over an existing Google My Business account but don’t have the logins for it, start by going to https://business.google.com/create and type in the business name. If you see yours, click on it and go through the steps to claim your business on Google.
If the business has been claimed by someone else, you will need to request access. A confirmation email will be sent to your Gmail account that you’re trying to claim the Google My Business page under.
If you can infer the email that’s associated with the account (see example below), reach out to the account that is managing this Google My Business profile to obtain access to it. Otherwise, Google will contact the current account holder’s email. This process should take about 7 days, but if you don’t hear back after that, you can contact Google Business Support for additional assistance.
How to Add My Business to Google
For those who do not have any existing Google My Business listings, we will cover the steps on how to add your business to Google below.
Step 1: Login
Start by visiting https://www.google.com/business/. You’ll be brought to this screen and will be prompted to log in with a Google account. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one. You’ll then be prompted to look for your business if they already have some information for it, or enter in your own data.
Step 2: Add Business Name
When adding your business to Google My Business for the first time, you’ll first be prompted to provide the name of your business. I’m just using an example here. But if you operate as a different name than your DBA (doing business as), be sure to enter your brand name.
Step 3: Add a Business Location (or Not)
The next step will prompt you to add a business address if you have a physical location that customers can visit. If you select ‘Yes’, you’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:
If you are a service-based business that delivers its goods rather than having customers visit a physical location, select ‘No’ and enter in the location(s) you serve your customers in. Add as many locations that are relevant to your business.
Step 4: Provide Contact Information
The next step in adding your business to Google is providing contact information where your customers can reach you at. While there’s the option to not select a website, it’s basically a necessity in this high-tech, digital world we live in. Consumers expect businesses to have websites that they can visit, research their services and products, find information and answers to their questions, reach customer support on, and much more.
If you don’t have a website, you should strongly consider creating one in the near future to stay relevant and competitive. Business owners now have the option to create a website on Google My Business
Step 5: Verify My Google My Business Profile (Or Save for Later)
To finish setting up your listing, you will need to verify your Google My Business profile now or at a later date. There is now the option to verify it later, but you will need to formally verify this profile before it goes live on Google and is visible to searchers.
There are several options to verifying your profile:
- By postcard
- By email
- By phone call
By postcard: This is the most commonly used method for verifying Google My Business pages and it’s exactly how it sounds – a postcard with a verification code is mailed to the address you provided. It should be delivered within 5 days and once you receive it, you can input the verification code into your Google My Business page.
By email: This isn’t available for all businesses, but some may be allowed to verify their Google My Business profile via email confirmation. You will know if your business is eligible for this verification option at the beginning of the verification process. The verification steps will be delivered to your Gmail inbox associated with your Google My Business listing, so remember to have this open before you start this process.
By phone call: Similar to verifying by email, verifying by phone call is not an option provided to every business. If this is a viable option for yours, it will be listed as one at the beginning of the verification process. If you take this route, you will receive an automated message with a verification code that you can enter into your Google My Business page.
Note: There are two other methods you can use to verify your Google My Business page – instant or bulk verification. If you have already submitted and verified your website into Google Search Console, you can instantly verify your Google My Business listing as long as you’re logged into the same Gmail account associated with your Search Console. With that in mind, try to use the same Gmail account!
Step 6: Specify Business Hours & Additional Information
From here, Google will start to ask you for more information, like business hours, holiday hours, whether you accept messaging from customers through your Google My Business listing, and more.
This is the time to get as detailed as possible to enhance the user experience and give people as much information as possible upfront. Today’s consumer prefers instant gratification – they want information now and we cannot expect them to sift through pages and pages to find what they’re looking for.
Some additional information you can provide includes:
- Specialty services beyond the business category
- Service area radius
- Amenities you offer
- Special needs your business caters to (i.e. wheelchair accessible)
- Business description (see note below)
- Photos (add both interior and exterior photos of your business so people can see what your business is like immediately, as well as photos showcasing your brand and employees)
Note: A well optimized Google My Business can also help your SEO, so don’t forget to include keywords where they fit naturally throughout your listing and business description. Though you have a 750 character limit, it’s important to remember that people may not read a long description. So we recommend getting straight to the point in telling people how your business can help them, what they can expect from your business, what’s the best way to reach support, and all while incorporating your focus keywords into the description. Learn how you can optimize your Google My Business for SEO here!
Set Up Google My Business with Additional Details
Once you have your Google My Business page set up, there’s a few key things you need to do to optimize it and really help attract new customers looking for your business or services. Consider this your first introduction to what you do before they visit your website or give you a call.
Today’s word of mouth comes from reviews. People want to know that other people have had a good experience with a company or brand. Google My Business is one of the most popular review platforms. As you show up in these local searches, people can immediately see your star rating then read how others feel about your business. You can’t turn reviews off. And it’s important to monitor and respond. If you have a high review, make sure to say thanks. If it’s bad, respond and see if you can rectify the problem. Reviews are a crucial part of maintaining your Google My Business profile. A series of bad reviews can hurt your business. But good reviews can bring in more leads than just about anything else. So make sure to stay on top of those reviews. Learn how to increase your Google reviews here!
Add Details About Your Business and Products
Add details about your products and services. They can learn more from your website, but make sure you list what types of things you offer at your location. You can also add in benefits like “Free Wifi” or “ADA Compliant”.
The GMB profile gives you a chance to upload photos of your business. You have a logo or profile image and a cover image that can be added. But don’t stop there. This is a chance to really show off your business, your employees, and what you do every day. People love to see behind the scenes photos. Or you can showcase some of your products. Be creative and show through the GMB listing what your business is all about.
Download the App
Google My Business also has an app. This could be one of the easiest ways to keep track of your listing and update it. Your listing isn’t something you should just set up and forget about. Take the time to optimize it and show why you’re the best at what you do.
Why Google My Business Listings Matter
Not just on Google, but every business directory listing matters. The more your business gets listed, the more likely it is that potential customers will find your business. There’s places like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, CitySearch and more. Adding your business to Google and other places boosts your local search rankings. Most directories have reviews, so it’s a chance to manage and secure your reputation. And essentially business listings can bring you more traffic and more leads from people looking for businesses like yours.
Need help setting up your Google My Business page or optimizing your website for better SEO performance? We can help! Boostability is the leading provider in both SEO services for small businesses and white label SEO services for established agencies looking for expertise, extra support, and data-driven strategies for their clients.
Google My Business FAQ
Can I Hide My Address on Google My Business?
If you decide to hide your address from people altogether on your Google My Business profile after it’s been created, good news! You can and it’s easy.
Step 1: Access your Google My Business Dashboard
Step 2: Select ‘Info’
Step 3: Edit your address
Step 4: Clear your address and hit ‘apply’
Step 5: Update your service area to include all the locations you cater to
It will take 24-72 hours for your changes to be published, but you don’t have to take any more steps after this to hide your address on your Google My Business page.
How Do I Add Users and Managers to Google My Business?
Step 1: Log in to your Google My Business account
Step 2: At the bottom of the dashboard menu, select ‘Users’
Step 3: In the top right corner, click on ‘Invite new users
Step 4: Enter in the name or email address of the person (or people) and choose the role – owner or manager
Step 5: Finish this by clicking ‘Invite’
How Do I Remove Users from Google My Business?
Similar to the steps above, you will need to do the following to remove users from your Google My Business account.
Step 1: Log in to your Google My Business account
Step 2: At the bottom of the dashboard menu, select ‘Users’
Step 3: Click on the ‘X’ next to the users name to remove their access from the listing
Note: Only owners can remove other owners and managers. And if you try to remove an owner from a listing, it will prompt you to transfer ownership to another individual.
Why Business Listings Matter
Not just on Google, but every business directory listing matters. The more your business gets listed, the more likely it is that potential customers will find your business. There’s places like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, CitySearch and more. Listing your business through GMB and other places boosts your local search rankings. Most directories have reviews, so it’s a chance to manage and secure your reputation. And essentially business listings can bring you more traffic and more leads from people looking for businesses like yours.
Need help setting up your GMB profile or optimizing your website? We can help! Contact us at Boostability to learn more.