It’s very important to have a professional presence in the online world, be it for yourself or for your company. Social media and a website are great examples, but then you also have tools like Google My Business(GMB). In this article you’ll learn more about Google My Business, what it entails, how you can use it, and why it’s a necessity for local businesses.

What is Google My Business?

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Google My Business is a tool created by Google that allows you to control how your business appears in their search engine. More specifically, you control your company’s appearance in Google Search and Google Maps results. Reference the photo above for an example of a Google My Business listing.

GMB is a must have if you are a business owner looking to dominate your local market. Nowadays people rely on Google for almost everything including where they’re going to have dinner or who they’re going to hire for a service they need. Search queries like “restaurants near me”, ”best realtor in Boston”, and other location based searches are being searched everyday. Local businesses need to adjust to these modern trends to stay relevant online and keep the traffic coming through their door.

Ranking your GMB listing for keywords is extremely powerful because the buyer intent is there. When people search for a product or service near them, they’re usually already prepared to make a purchase. Typically, one in two people who conduct a local search visit a store that day. And with over 60% of Google traffic going to the first couple results, it’s important to land your business in those top spots on the list.

 

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The photo above displays which restaurants have optimized their Google My Business listing to rank in the top 3 results of “restaurants in boston”. How does that impact their business? Anyone who goes to Google for help with deciding where to eat in Boston will most likely end up going to those top 3 restaurants.

How much will GMB cost me?

Google My Business is completely FREE! The trick is having the knowledge to rank your GMB listing or else it’ll never be seen! You can also run paid Google Adwords within the GMB application. This is a excellent 1-2 combo when working on increasing traffic to your website especially in a very competitive market or industry. Keywords tend to be fairly cheap and work extremely well with local service based small businesses like medical practices, law offices, car dealerships, restaurants, and real estate, just to name a few industries.

How to create a Google My Business account

1.)  The first thing you need to do is to either login with the company’s Google account or create a new one specifically for Google My Business.

2.) Then you will have to visit https://www.google.com/business/ and press START NOW

3.) Insert the business name

 

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4.) Enter your business address

 

 

5.) Insert the areas that you serve.

 

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6.) Choose the business category that best fits your company.

 

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7.) Fill out your business’s contact details for customers to refer to.

 

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8.) The last step to completing your GMB listing is the verification. See below for more information on that.

 

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How can you verify the Google My Business information?

Google gives you the postcard, phone, email, or instant verification. If you choose to go with a postcard, then add the right business address, click Mail, and they are sending it to you in 5 days. The postcard has a verification code on it, add it in GMB, and you are good to go.

The phone verification is very intuitive, you select Verify by Phone, and they send you a code. A similar thing happens with the email option, in this case, they send you an email with the code and then verify there. The Instant verification happens only if you already have a Google Search Console account.

Changing your business info

Sometimes your business expands, or you just forgot to add more business info in the first place. To edit your listing’s info such as service area details, simply log in to your Google My Business profile, select “info” on the menu options, click the pencil icon to edit or add whatever information is needed.

Make sure that you add all data

The challenge with having a complete Google My Business profile is that people believe some information is not that relevant. But the reality is that you should never leave anything behind. Include everything that might help customers reach you. Even some of the social media profiles that don’t have a lot of exposure might be relevant for you.

In addition, the information must be accurate. It’s crucial for digital marketing in general to double-check everything. And you need to make sure that you study the situation and constantly adapt and adjust it. Accuracy is key when it comes to local search, so you want to make sure that everything from the map location to the company information is always updated.

Then you also have to think about keeping the business hours accurate. You have to realize that most people won’t go to your website, they will rely on the information they see on Google My Business. And because of that, you need to update working hours. That’s especially true during the holidays or vacations. The last thing you want is someone to visit your business when you’re closed. It’s inconvenient for the customer, and you lose your credibility if you don’t update the working hours.

Photos are very important

Potential leads and customers will rely on your images, and that’s why you need to make sure that you show company photos. Google allows you to add interior and exterior pictures. Keep in mind that the image size is 720px by 720px. You’re not limited to a single picture so you can easily showcase the exterior for people that want to know what your business looks like. But you can also show off some of the interiors as well. The process is convenient and very helpful, and the customer will appreciate the great quality and experience every time.

A thing to note is that companies with images will get 42% more requests when compared to companies that don’t have images. Make sure that you always add in as many photos as possible. And the main picture should showcase the exterior of your business. If a person visits your company for the first time, they do want to know how to locate it. If you’re a restaurant business, you can showcase the restaurant’s interior and menus. It’s important to be original here, but at the same time, you need to represent your business in a way that will entice your customer base.

Videos and Google My Business

You are allowed to include videos to Google My Business. GMB is one of the few solutions like this to allow videos, which is very handy. There are limitations however. The video has to be 30 seconds or shorter, 100 MB or smaller, 720p in resolution or higher and so on. Another thing to consider is that you can download the Google My Business app for iOS and Android too. This way, you can customize the company info and reply to comments and reviews as you see fit.

Google My Business tips

1.) If you can, try to include a 360 view of your business. Or a virtual tour. It’s more interactive, it brings in more views and potential customers.

2.) Encourage people to leave a review. I’ve found that the best way to get reviews is by simply requesting your past clients via email.

3.) Aside from encouraging people to leave reviews, you also need to reply to those reviews too. This shows you care about your customers. That’s especially true if/when you have negative reviews. People will be eager to see how you reply to messages and how you handle negativity.

4.) Include products and services. GMB added this recently, and it’s a feature that showcases your products without that much of a problem. It’s definitely worth the effort and the best part is that you can customize and optimize everything in a way that works for you.

To add your company’s services, log in to your Google My Business profile and click on “services” in the menu options and add accordingly.

 

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5.) Add business attributes. These will be keywords that will make it easier for people to find your business. Any possible features and benefits provided by your business need to be showcased in your Google My Business presence. Yes, it might not seem the simplest thing to do at first, but it will bring you the necessary assistance and support.

6.) It’s important to be consistent with your company info. Consistency builds trust with not only your audience but also with Google which is important for ranking.

7.) When you use images make sure that they are of a very good quality. You can purchase a professional camera and create these on your own, or you can hire a photographer if needed. That will help immensely, so try to take that into consideration.

Conclusion

Using Google My Business is one of the best and fastest way to grow your company’s online presence. Yes, it will come with its fair share of challenges, but at the end of the day it’s a great way to build brand credibility attract more business. It’s also a proper manner to acquire reviews and show what customers think about your business. Here you can also have a great place to solve any issues and instill trust in your customer’s minds. If you’re a business owner and you want to bring more leads and customers through your store or office, start using Google My Business and optimize your listing to rank as soon as possible.