Google My Business can significantly help with local SEO, and as such, it is a valuable tool. However, it is not the easiest thing to set up and optimise, especially if you are a beginner in online marketing. Not to worry, as we will explain everything you need to know when setting up your profile so you can get the most out of it.
Why use Google My Business?
The majority of people use the Google search engine when undertaking local searches for businesses in their area. Let’s face it; Google is the king of search engines.
Therefore, you need a My Business profile, more so if you have a brick and mortar store. When you have a profile on Google My Business, it can help you rank higher in search results, which means people can find you.
When people search online for local businesses, it is generally because they want to make a purchase.
For instance, a person might need a decorator in London. They go online to search for decorators in London, and providing you have an optimised GMB profile, your decorating business stands a better chance of being found on the first page.
Ranking high on Google search is essential, as most people don’t look past the first page or even scroll down on the first page, checking only the top ones.
Therefore, it is no good for your business to be listed on the fifth or sixth page, as you will not be found.
To get the most out of it, your profile has to have up to date information and this information needs to be accurate. So let’s take a look at how you can do this.
What exactly is Google My Business?
The first thing to know is that it doesn’t cost anything. Yes; it is totally free to join and set up through a Google account.
GMB is the latest iteration of Google Places and it helps people that search for local businesses to find you. It does so by using the following information.
- The name of your business;
- Your business phone number;
- The address of your business;
- The opening hours;
- A link to your website;
- What category your business falls under;
- Photos of your business.
Claiming your spot on Google My Business
So you know what it is and how your business will benefit, so now let’s take a look at how you can claim your spot on GMB.
GMB is a must-have tool for brick and mortar stores, including businesses run from home offering services locally. It helps all size businesses, big and small.
There are just a couple of things required to begin setting up your profile and these are:
- A registered business operating out of a brick and mortar building;
- You have a Google account (if you don’t have one, you can make one free).
Now let’s take a look at the few steps to take to set up your Google My Business profile. Head to google.com/business/ and then follow the steps below.
- First, log in to your Google business account by clicking on the “Manage Now” button or make a Google account and then go ahead and sign in;
- To make a business profile click on “Manage Now”;
- On the next page type in the name of your business and then click on “Create a business with this name” from the drop-down box;
- Type in your business name and choose a category for the business and click “Next”;
- Tick “Yes” when asked if you want to add a location that will show your business on Google Maps, then click “Next”;
- Make sure you enter the correct address for your business as this is the address shown where customers will head to if visiting your business;
- Type in the area/areas you offer services or products and click “Next”;
- Add a contact telephone number along with the URL of your website if applicable and click “Next”;
- Enter your address for verification. The address is not shown to the public. Click “Next”;
- Choose how you want to verify your address. If you choose the postcard to be sent to your address, bear in mind, it can take days to arrive. When it does, simply go back onto your profile and enter it online to verify the address of your business;
- Add the services you offer and be as specific as possible;
- Choose your business hours and opening days;
- Add in messaging allowing customers to send a message to your business;
- Add in a description of your business to help customers find out more about your business;
- Upload photos of your business. Upload high-quality images showing the outside and inside of your business along with photos of products and finally click on the “Continue” button;
- You should now see a notice welcoming you to GMB. Click on the “Get Started” button.
You will now be on the dashboard of your profile. This tells you everything you need to know, including the percentage of your profile you have completed and what is left to do, whether you are verified and more. Your profile is not visible on the search engine until you have verified your business.
Optimising your business profile
Now that you have your Google My Business profile set up, it is time to make sure it is optimised.
Spending some time now on your profile will ensure you can reap the benefits later by maximising the results to bring in even more customers.
Bear in mind that your business will be competing with others offering the same services and/or products in your local area. Therefore, optimising is essential if you want to stand out above competitors.
So, let’s take a look at how you can do just that.
Your business name
As when building anything from the ground up, you have to start with solid foundations.
In this case, the foundation is your business name. It might sound simple entering your business name, but mistakes can be made, or you might be tempted to embellish.
You should make sure you have spelt the name of your business correctly, yes; mistakes can be made in spellings.
Do not be tempted to add on such as a tagline, keywords related to the business, slogan or any products, or your business’s location. Stick just to the business name.
Address and phone number
Check the business address and phone number once you have made a profile on Google My Business.
Again, it can be easy to make mistakes, miss-spell the road or location or miss a number from the phone number. Any errors in these will lead to disaster, as people cannot find you or contact you.
You should also be consistent with the address concerning how it is shown in other directories.
Check to make sure that you have listed your business under the correct category. This is important when people search for a company, and it helps Google in ranking your business for specific search terms.
Visual content can significantly affect your business, and it is a superb marketing tool. With this in mind, take your time when taking photos.
Only use a high-quality camera and take professional photos showing off your business in the best light possible.
Don’t be tempted to use filters or edit the photos to make your business or products look better.
When uploading photos, you should save them as JPG or PNG, be a minimum of 720 x 720 pixels and be less than 5MB.
Photos you should upload include general shots of the interior and exterior, products, a profile photo and a cover photo.
The cover photo is one of the most important. After all, this photo reflects your business, and it is the one shown in a thumbnail with your competitor’s image. The best size for your cover photo is 1080 x 608 pixels. It goes without saying it should be of excellent quality.
The profile photo is the avatar and is only shown on any posts you make or when replying to customers. As a rule of thumb, this should be a business logo but some people choose to use a professional headshot.
Google also allow you to upload a video of your business and you should take them up on this. Videos are extremely engaging to customers. You might give a virtual tour of your business premises or show off products. However, please don’t go all Steven Spielberg, and try to make a movie, keep it under 30 seconds. The maximum file size to upload is 100MB.
Maximise your business description
The business description is a great place to show off your business and it is a great way of adding in keywords.
There is a short description and the full description. The short is limited to 250 characters, and the longer is 750 characters. Make an impact with the brief description so that your business stands out, and you can embellish with the longer version of the description.
Above all, make sure your description is compelling and honest.
Optimise your business profile by obtaining business reviews
Obtaining positive business reviews is crucial for any business. Understanding how reviews affect your business is essential, so here we talk a little about optimising your business by obtaining reviews online.
About 90% of consumers check out online reviews before making a purchase. While over 65% of consumers admitted they are more likely to purchase and trust a business after reading positive reviews. Therefore, obtaining positive reviews is critical to bringing in customers.
Positive customer reviews don’t just apply to Google My Business, but it helps, as this is one place where you can gain them and people can check them out.
There are different factors to consider for generating reviews for your business. To ensure good reviews, which are the type you want, you need to consider the following business ethics:
- Offer a superb level of customer service;
- Offer quality control;
- Have a positive business culture;
- Offer robust staff training.
To encourage customers to leave good reviews, you could ask them through:
- Leaving flyers on desks;
- Asking for them to leave a review on a business card and hand them to customers;
- Leave a message asking for a review on a till receipt;
- On banners in-store;
- Asking for reviews on your social media pages linked to your business;
- Through email marketing.
Take advantage of Google Posts.
Finally, but by no means least is to take advantage of Google Posts. This is one thing that many people fail to overlook but which can be valuable.
You can keep your audience and customers up to date using Google Posts and thereby improve business visibility.
Google Posts are similar to the posts you make on such as Facebook. They are just short snippets of text that can be used to share any information you want about the business.
You might use the posts to show off new products, offer discount codes or announce competitions or promote an event in the store.
The posts are generally seen when people do a local search for the type of service or products you offer. They not only show on search results but also Google Maps. When considering this, try to make your posts SEO friendly using a keyword. Making regular posts can also boost your chances of appearing at the top end of searches.
You can find the “Posts” button on your Google My Business account page. Posts are 100 words minimum and 300 maximum, and you may add photos or a short video.
Aim to make a post every week. That way you will constantly be updating your account, which search engines see as a good thing. However, bear in mind that the posts you make should be of good quality, so always be mindful of your spelling and ensure they are compelling.
So, there you have it. Now you know how to set up and optimise your Google My Business profile. If you’d like help increasing your GMB rankings why not take a look at our GMB rankings package