Google My Business Guide
A helpful guide to understanding, verifying, and optimizing your GMB page
By Clay Dellos - Owner of Dellos Marketing
The first part of this Google My Business Guide covers the background and “what” behind Google My Business. The second part of the guide covers the tips and “how”.
Click here to jump to the ‘How to Claim and Optimize’ section for GMB or read on for the full story.
What is a Google My Business Page?
A Google My Business page is an online service that has been available for business owners and organizations since 2014. By using this service you get to control what shows up when someone searches for your business on google search or Google maps. As we discussed in our blog post on Local SEO, setting up your google business account is an important part of local SEO.
Google My Business is also referred to as GMB or Google Business and was previously named Google Places.
At its simplest terms, GMB is a very important online directory for your business. Google states that you can:
- Manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps, using Google My Business—for free.
- Interact with customers new and old and tell them the story of your business.
Managing your Google My Business page helps you take control of your online presence. This allows more potential customers to find you online and see what your business is all about.
How does Google My Business Work?
Google My Business works in four key ways:
- As arguably the most important online listing for your business
- As a social media platform specifically made for businesses
- As a business monitoring tool
- As a way to engage with your customers
Google takes the information that you fill out on your Google My Business listing and it funnels it out to a variety of places. Which is why it’s important for you to have your page optimized and completed accurately. Google also offer insights about your customers like what your customers are looking for specifically and how they found your business.
Social Media platform
Google My Business also is a social media platform for your business. You can share posts about your business with an image to highlight your brand. In the posts you can add a call to action button, for example, ‘Learn more’.
Your call to action button can link to whatever it is that you want your customers to see, for example, your blog. This allows you to control the online appearance of your brand by keeping your images and text in line with what you want your customers to feel when they see your posts. Google makes interacting with your customers easy with this feature allowing you to post updates about your business in real time.
Monitoring for your business
Through your free account, you also get insights on how your customers are engaging with your profile. The insight analytics tracks a number of items including:
- Phone calls
- Photo views
As a business owner, it’s important to know how your customers are finding you. Google Insights lets you see this first hand. The insights break down by direct and indirect searches, which just means people are searching for you by your business name (direct) or they are searching for your business category or the services you offer (indirect).
Engage with your customers
Utilizing your free business account will allow your customers to call, message, post questions, follow, and leave reviews. Engage with your customers by responding to questions, posting valuable content that they can follow and responding to reviews is key to getting more customers.
Other Features – The GMB App
The GMB App is a free App that allows you to access and manage your Google My Business locations with android and iOS devices. Google states that with the App you can:
- Manage how your local business appears on Google Search and Maps
- Edit your business information (e.g. address, phone number, and hours)
- Respond to reviews, questions, and messages from customers
- Share new photos and post updates on special offers and events
- See how customers find and interact with your business on Google
As with most apps, there are some capabilities that you have on desktop that will not be available with the app. For example, being able to remove a business listing or transfer ownership cannot be done through the app.
Location groups are currently not available in the mobile app. Likewise there are features that you can access on the app that are not available on desktop like: being able to see your followers.
The App is very convenient and user friendly we recommend you download the app on your phone or tablet to have quick access to your customers. Check the Google’s GMB app about page for additional information.
Google My Business Support
Google My Business support is very helpful should you ever run into a problem with your account. When it comes to verifying your business there are some common problems that many business owners encounter:
- Trouble verifying your account
- Duplicate listings for your business
- Problems accessing your account
There are many options you can choose to get help with your listing:
- On the left hand side of your GMB dashboard at the bottom there is an option to click Google Support
- When you click on the left hand side of your screen will pop up with a menu:
- Frequently asked questions
- Help forums
- Request access to a business
- Browse all articles
- Need more help
- Send feedback
- If you have read through all of the help material and still need assistance when you click on the send feedback link you can take a screenshot of your problem and add notes to get specific help.
- They also have a free customer service number 1-844-491-9665 that you can utilize for free help setting up your account or navigating through a specific problem like the ones listed above.
- If you should need to use this number please note their hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm EST
How do I manage my Google business account?
Add or Claim your listing
The first thing you need to do is add or claim your business listing to gain access, making sure to complete the verification process. When Google has verified your business you can optimize and manage your account.
- Go to Google My Business
- Sign in to your Google Account or create one (sign up with your business email domain if you have one)
- Enter your business or organization’s address. If you have a physical address you can position a marker directly on the map. If your business doesn’t have a physical location, but serves a specific area, you can list your service area instead.
- If you don’t serve customers at your business address you still enter it but check the ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ and then list out the areas you serve. This also allows you to hide your address which is very helpful for home based businesses.
- Enter your phone number or website url
- Make sure that your name, address, phone number and website address (NAPW) is accurate. Using consistent NAPW across all your business listings will prevent customer confusion and provide a boost in your search rankings
- Select a verification option. Many times the verification has to completed by Google mailing you a postcard with a verification code that you enter after receipt. If your business has already been claimed, you will need to request ownership and follow the steps provided by Google to gain access to your account.
There is also a Google My Business FAQ page that provides answers to many common questions that may be helpful for you.
Optimize your Google Business listing
Below are key areas to focus on when optimizing your GMB listing:
- Choose a relevant specific business category & sub-category
- Load quality, high resolution images that represent your brand
- Double check your name, address, phone number and website url (NAPW) are accurate and consistent with what you use on your website and other business listings
- Use a local number when possible
- Encourage reviews from your customers and respond to them. This is an important step that helps you communicate with customers. It also shows future customers that your customer service is on point.
- Add posts to share things about your business in a variety of ways:
- Highlight a product
- Talk about upcoming events
- Share updates
- Share reviews
With theses posts you can add text, photos, and even a call to action button. Google posts expire after seven days. Posting regularly helps you stay top of mind with customers and also improves your search rankings.
Why is GMB important?
There are a number of important benefits claiming and optimizing your Google My Business page. A few of the big ones include:
- More customers contacting your business online
- More foot traffic to businesses with brick and mortar locations
- An advantage over your competitors that have not setup and optimized their GMB pages
- Improved branding and reputation for your business
Google accounts for almost 90% of the online search volume for U.S. businesses. If you are not in control of your online presence on Google, then you are missing out on customers. If you are missing out on customers, then you are missing out on money for your business.
According to Google, every month there are 5 billion searches for ‘restaurants’. FIVE BILLION PER MONTH!
There are customers searching online every day for the services and products you offer. The question is whether they will find your business and like what they see or do business with one of your competitors.
Want Help With Your GMB Page?
We hope this Google My Business Guide was helpful for you! As always, we want to make improving your online presence easier for you. We developed a free Google My Business Optimization checklist to help you get started. The checklist will help you to start small with claiming, setting up and optimizing your GMB listing.
If you’d like help optimizing and managing your Google My Business Page, give us a call today. Freeing up your time to scale your business can be a game changer. Let Dellos Marketing optimize and manage your GMB page so you can create more opportunities for your business.
If you have any additional questions or need help with optimizing your GMB page, give us a call at (214) 560-4483 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.