In the modern era of technology, all businesses (both large and small) must know how to create a Google My Business page. In addition, there is free traffic to be gained just by setting one up.
Without this page, you risk losing customers over issues such as not finding your location or phone number. Not to mention, Google My Business traffic makes up a large chunk of Google's organic traffic now, so that you will be missing out on potential customers.
Let’s get started.
As you may have guessed, the first step to this process is creating your Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account for your business, it’s about time you got one.
Not only do Google business accounts allow you to start having your business’s emails sent to an account separate from your personal email account, but they also give you access to tons of valuable tools such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Search Console and many more.
To create your Google account, select “to manage a business.”
If you don’t have a Gmail for your business yet, you can create one at that point. If you do, you can assign that Gmail to the business account you’re making as well by selecting “use my current email address instead.”
Once that’s done, input the information required, accept the terms and conditions, and you’re in!
To do this, you’re going to go to google.com/business.
Once you get to this page, go ahead and click the “Manage Now” button to begin.
Occasionally, you’ll put in your business name only to be redirected to a page that says, “This business profile has already been claimed.” In this case, you’ll have to click the request access button that it provides and put in as much information as you can.
Unfortunately, in cases like these, it means you’re going to have to wait for Google support to get back to you on whether they believe you’re the owner of the business or not.
Once they have confirmed the business is yours, though, you’re free to move to the next step.
This first step is essential, ensure your business name, is exactly your business name as Google will use this name or brand name to cross-reference with other references across their index. So if your company is called "James Hill & Sons", use this name and not "James Hill & Sons Plumbing & Heating Engineers in London" You can provide this information in other parts of your Google My Business profile and from the content on your website. No need to force or manipulate anything now; it will have a detrimental effect. Even those businesses that are having some joy from manipulating Google My Business names are on thin ice and could get penalised as they are not following Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Choosing your business category is an absolute must, as it tells Google when they should recommend you for specific searches.
For example, if you search “Mexican restaurants near me,” you get a search result that lists several businesses in your area that serve Mexican cuisine. The same thing would happen if you were to search for estate agents or dry cleaners, etc.
By choosing your business category, you’re effectively throwing your hat into the ring with other businesses for searches like those. This can be an excellent method of obtaining new customers and views on your website, so make sure you select one!
There will be a search bar to type your business category into, and you’ll be required to select one of the suggested options as you type. Because of this, I recommend starting as specific as possible and working your way up until one of the suggestions matches your business’s category.
For example, if you are an accounting firm that mainly caters to small businesses, you might start with a “small business accounting firm.” If that doesn’t work, you might get a little broader and type “business-oriented accounting firm,” and so on.
Do this until you find the category that you think best matches up with what you’re going for.
This is perhaps one of the essential steps in this process. It must be precisely the correct address and telephone number for your business. If you have a landline, prioritise this over a mobile number.
Even if you don’t interact with customers at your business location (for example, a warehouse or factory), you’ll want to fill out the address anyway, as Google will use this address to cross-reference your Business Name, Address and phone number with other directory listings or citations throughout the web.
Skip this step if you don’t have a physical location (for example, website-only sales). Instead, you can state areas that you would like to service.
Go ahead and enter your business’s address at this point. You’ll see a box at the bottom of the form when you do this asking if you deliver. If you do, check the box. This will help Google tell customers you can come to them.
You may be asked to provide a service area as well, if applicable. If you don’t have a specific service area, forgo filling this out.
In the next step, you will need to list your various services. Do not go overboard here; list the top services that you offer. Google will suggest a handful of usual services based on the category you selected on step number four.
Ensure that your selection represents the essential services you offer, so you have a much better chance of showing up for these related search queries in Google Maps.
If your website has specific opening hours, for example, if you are a barber or restaurant, adding your hours will provide helpful information for your customers.
If opening hours are irrelevant and most of your enquiries are lead forms, then you can change each day to show open 24 hours a day.
Step #8: Direct messaging setup for customers
Google now provides an option for customers to message you directly from the Google My Business listing. You can choose to use this, and customers will send messages within your Google My Business listing on the website or within the Google My Business iPhone or Android App. It can be helpful to use this feature as it cuts down the barrier of a user visiting your website and getting in touch quickly. You can read more about using this messaging feature here on Google.
A good business description thinks about the customer. Imagine a customer giving your business 10 seconds to decide why they should use you. Identify a pain point for your customers, tell them why they should use you, keep this sharp, to the point and attractive for your target customers.
Paint a picture of your business, be creative. For example, if you are a hotel, upload your very best photographs to paint a picture for your target customer. If you are a manufacturer or service provider, show some professional images of your team, your product or your employees carrying out their services. Don't let your customer's minds fill in the gaps; make it easy for them to see your business in the best light possible.
After you’ve filled out all of your information, you will (of course) be asked to verify that what you’ve entered is correct and that you are who you say you are.
For this process, Google has three different options you can select to verify your business. Sometimes some of these options are removed, and you may have less.
The three options are as follows:
With postcard verification, Google will mail a postcard to the address you entered earlier in the process. After about five days, you should be able to find it in the mail and enter the code located on the backside of the card.
Go back to your Google My Business page (using the link you bookmarked earlier) and enter the code there. This will complete your verification.
This verification method won’t be available to everyone, and there’s no natural way to tell if it will be available to you until you get to the verification page.
If it is, though, you can easily select that option and receive an automated phone call with your code. Write your code down, then enter it in Google My Business, and you’re done!
Email verification is the least used method available, as a few certain businesses can only use it. However, it is the most simple.
With this process, you’re able to select the “verify by email” option and receive an email moments later containing your verification code. Once you have it, you can type it into Google My Business, just like the others!
If you have this option available to you, I highly recommend using this one. It is the easiest and quickest of the three, and it allows you to verify your business in just a few minutes.
Don’t be disappointed, however, if you can’t use email verification. The other two methods work just as well; they just take a slight bit longer.
Now that you’ve set up your Google My Business profile and finished verifying it, the possibilities are virtually endless!
You can go into your listing and add photos and videos, a business description, a FAQ, and more! Your customers will also have the option to ask questions and rate your business, and you’ll now be able to respond to them.
Additionally, you can increase the transparency of your business by adding service menus and products so your customers better understand you.
You can also make use of Google My Business insights to learn the statistics behind your listing, such as how many people asked for driving directions or attempted to call you from the listing.
You can pay to advertise your Google My Business Listing in Google maps for commercial keywords.
You can build your local presence by improving the content on your website, get listed on local and niche directories, increase reviews to your Google My Business listing and much more, which will increase your visibility in Google Maps.
Opening your Google My Business account and establishing your listing has opened lots of doors for your business, but your work is far from over.
If you’d like to keep this momentum going and elevate yourself above your competition even further, we can assist with SEO services, please get in touch with us to see how we can help you maximise your local marketing performance. You can either ask a question, or you can send us a request for a proposal.
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