According to Google, there are over:
As a business owner, accuracy, responsiveness, and detail all contribute to a better customer-facing online profile. Customers base their purchase and visit conditions on the availability of parking, how busy your business is depending on the time of day, as well as whether or not there is a public phone number for them to reach out to. Maintaining all of the above and more is the importance of Google My Business (GMB).
The following guide will give you a better idea of what GMB is, why it's important to maintain it, and how to set up your GMB from start to finish.
Think of it this way: Google My Business is a free tool from Google. It allows you to manage how your business shows up in search result listings on both Google Search and Google Maps. The types of information you can add to your listing are:
Another way you maintain your GMB listing is by monitoring and interacting with customer feedback and ratings. Customers who see your business when they enter a search query will also be able to see that you responded to a review! Finally, adding photos to your search result significantly upgrades the details of your business to the outside world. Many consumers like to see an image of your storefront and the inside of your business before visiting, after all, as the old proverb goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Aside from the more public facing features of GMB, you also have the analytics of how people are searching for your business (mobile browser, mobile assistant, desktop, etc.) as well as information on when they are searching for you. These insights give you guidance on how you can further optimize your customer engagement for even better results. Fortunately, Google has an entire “Customers” tab to help you do so. Turning this data into actionable insights is the key here. By learning how to read the data and understand what it means, you can capitalize on your business’ strengths and fix your business’ weaknesses.
As you can see, for a free tool, this can be surprisingly useful to track digital metrics for your business, and give customers as much information about your business as possible!
When people are searching online for a product or service that is near them, its safe to say that they are nearing a purchase decision. For many searches, the customer might even decide to visit a store that same day!
This is why it's extremely important to maintain and update what customers see when your business shows up on a Google Search. You can even keep your profile updated with photos of new products or renovations, as well as share special offers and promotions to attract even more people. Make a good first impression, and help customers choose you by filling out as much information as possible!
To set up your own Google My Business listing, follow these steps:
The next step in your GMB setup process is to verify your business. However, if you’d like to skip this for now, you can click on “Try a different method” then click on “Later.”
Google provides several ways of verifying your listing. Pick the one that is the fastest or most convenient for you. This section contains subsections on how to get verified with each one.
Google lets you verify your business by email. This is especially useful if you don’t yet have an official business phone number. If you’re eligible for email verification, you’ll see the “Verify by email” option at the beginning of your verification process. Here are the steps to continue:
Google also gives you the option to verify your business location by phone number. You’ll be able to see the “Verify by phone” option as soon as you start the verification process. The steps are:
If your postcard never shows up, requesting a re-send is easy. On Google My Business, click on the blue “Request another code” banner on the landing page.
Another option you can use to verify your business is instant verification. The only requirement for this option is to make sure you’ve verified your business on Google Search Console already. If this is true for you, you’ll be able to instantly verify your email.
After logging in to Google My Business with the same email you used in Google Search Console, you’ll get a notification for instant verification if you’re eligible for it.
If your business has more than 10 operating locations, and you’re not an agency or service that's currently managing these locations, you will probably be eligible for bulk verification.
Submit your completed form for verification! Be patient, Google can take up to a week to review and process your verification.
As a general rule of thumb for Google My Business, the more information you add, the better. After you’ve verified your business with one of the above methods, you can move on to fully fleshing out your search result listing.
From the Google My Business dashboard, select the listing you want to edit / manage, select “Info,” and then choose the section you’d like to fill out or update. Here are a few important categories we recommend filling out early and updating regularly should anything change:
Fortunately, if you do make a mistake while updating this information, Google has an option for your eagle-eyed customers to “Suggest an edit” right from your search result listing. Even so, we strongly recommend getting all the information correct the first time around (this prevents random spammers who keep suggesting changes), and regularly checking your Google My Business dashboard to make sure all the information remains correct.
At any point in time, editing your Google My Business profile is easy. Simply log in to your dashboard, click on “Info” in the menu, and click the edit pencil next to the category or field you’d like to edit. After making your edit, click “Apply” and you’re done!
Google reports that business profiles with up-to-date photos see 35% more clicks to their website, and 42% more requests for navigation directions in Google Maps. Pictures in Google My Business profiles help customers get a better idea of how to get to your physical location, how your menu is presented, as well as what parking is potentially nearby. It also allows customers to learn whether or not they are interested in visiting your business, that way they don’t feel like they are taking a big risk by taking time out of their day to visit your business for the first time.
Photos on Google My Business should be 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high minimum. Make sure to save these photos in the highest possible quality JPG or PNG formats.
Another option for a more personal approach to your business profile is to add a video. Try to make sure your videos are:
Videos add a different flair to your profile and allows you to be creative with what is shown as well. However, keep in mind that this is not a necessity or a “must have” for the success of your business.
When you respond to current reviews on your business profile, you start a cycle that keeps on giving of more customers leaving positive reviews on the future. Responding to current reviews shows your appreciation for their feedback, demonstrates your attention and awareness of any potential complaints, and allows positive reviews to be spotlighted.
An example of an appropriate way to respond to a happy customer review is:
“Hi [customer name]! We’re really glad you enjoyed [product name]. It’s one of our favorites, too! Looking forward to seeing you again at [business name]!”
Don’t let negative reviews sit there unnoticed! You should respond to all negative reviews to show how seriously you take unhappy customers. However, make sure you are respectful and courteous throughout this process. Remaining professional is the key! An example response template is:
“Thank you for your feedback, [customer name]. I’m sorry that your experience at [business name] didn’t meet your expectations. We’ve started double checking all orders to make sure everyone gets exactly what they paid for. If you’d like to visit us again in the future, we’d be more than happy to give you [product name] on us. Either way, thank you for your business. We hope we can do better next time.”
The Google My Business mobile app cannot:
For many customers, your Google My Business search result listing is the first thing they see about you. First impressions are extremely important, and an up to date listing is an important factor in what influences the customer’s decision to visit your business or not.
All in all, Google My Business is an all-in-one central hub to manage how your business appears on Google. Its free, it provides valuable search result insights and analytics, and can help you interact with Google users who search, visit, and review your business.