How can Google My Business help my business?
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google to help businesses better establish themselves so that they can increase their visibility to their audience across all of Google’s platforms.
No matter the industry that you are in, you want your audience to access your brand as easily and as much as possible. Whether people are looking for your opening times for your restaurant, an emergency number for your plumbing business or a potential guest wants to read reviews about your motel; this tool can help you.
It is not meant to replace your website. Rather, it compliments your existing website by giving it a public identity and presence on Google.
The benefits of having a listing include:
- Prominently stand out when you appear on the top right-hand side of the search engine results page when a user searches for your business name.
- When users do this search on mobile devices, they may instantly see all your details including your hours and phone numbers; in which they can contact you straight away.
- People will be able to easily find you on Google Maps; which is by far the most popular map app these days for people searching for directions to go somewhere. They will be able to click to get directions to you easily.
- Your business listing will automatically connect to Google+ (Google’s social network) in which you can share updates about what is going on in your business.
- Manage your online reputation by responding to reviews and ratings and enable you to track your ratings over time.
If this sounds like something that can benefit your business, continue reading to find out how to set up and optimise your Google My Business listing.
How to set up your Google My Business Listing
1) To get started, go to the Google My Business sign-up homepage here: (www.google.com.au/business/sign-up/index.html). This is the page that you will see:
2) After clicking Continue, you will have the option of either signing in to your Gmail account (if you have one) or creating a new Google account.
If you currently have a Gmail account (or pre-existing Google account), simply sign in and skip to step 3.
If you do not have a Google account, click the Create account button to get started. It is relatively simple to complete so just fill in the relevant details to create your new account.
Google will ask for a verification code so simply enter it in.
To get to the next step, simply click Continue to Google My Business as below:
3) You will be taken to a map of Australian screen where you can search for your business name and address.
It is possible that your business listing may already be on Google but simply unclaimed. This is due to Google using third party data sources such as the Yellow Pages or YELP which recognise that your business exists.
4) Start typing your business name to see if it is automatically generated. An example is below:
For illustrative purposes, suppose the first listing is the business name that Google already recognises but you want to claim ownership of it. Click on the link and you will be taken to the location in maps.
If your name doesn’t appear, then click on the Add your business at the bottom of the search menu.
You will be able to add your main business information.
If you are a service-based business, in which you drive to serve customers at their location, then tick the box at the bottom of the form. You will be able to set service areas based on postcodes or cities; or a given area around your location. After submitting this, skip to step 6.
5) If the address or number is not 100% accurate, just ignore it for now as you can fix it when you claim ownership of it. Simply click on the location to be taken to the next step:
6) The next step is to get ownership of this business, simply click to agree that you are authorised to manage the business and click Continue.
7) You will need to verify your business. Verification exists to protect your business listing in that only an authorised person at the address can receive the verification code to take control.
Verification can be done by phone in which case Google calls you with a number code to enter or by postcard where Google sends you a code by post.
You can choose to verify later but be aware that your updates will not be reflected on Google search, Google maps or Google+ until your business listing has been verified.
Whether you choose to verify now or later, you will be able to access the Google My Business dashboard:
How to optimise your Google My Business Page
The following steps detail how to completely optimise your listing by completing the necessary information.
1) To begin adding information methodically, click on the EDIT INFO tab to view the appropriate fields to fill in.
3) The below fields will need to be completed (explanation below):
- Business Name – If you need to, you can update your business name. Note that your name must reflect your business’ real-world name according to the Google guidelines (https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en)
- Address – You can access the map to move the icon to your correct location. Alternatively, you can simply enter in your address details.
- Contact Info – Ensure that your phone number is accurate (including the state area code) and your website address is correct.
- Category – Pick a category from the list of suggestions to help Google to show your business for the right searches.
- Hours – Select the hours the opening and closing times for your business.
- Introduction – Add a brief description of your business here. This section lets you introduce yourself to your customers and teach them about your business.
Click Finished Editing when you have completed the relevant sections.
4) To add photos and images to your page, click the PHOTOS tab at the top of the dashboard:
5) There are different categories of photos that Google My Business recommends that you upload in order to give a complete insight into your business. If you want to completely optimise your listing, then it is recommended that you upload photos to all categories.
Your photos will look best on Google if they meet the following standards:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
- Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720px wide
- Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no Photoshop alterations or excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.
6) The first type of photos to upload are your identity photos:
- Profile – Your profile photo should help people recognise your business. This could be an entrance shot.
- Logo – This to help people recognise your brand and should be a square logo.
- Cover – Showcase the personality of your business with an interesting cover photo.
7) If possible, show customers what your business location looks with interior and exterior shots. Interior photos help your customers see the ambience and décor of your business. Exterior photos help customers recognise your business when they approach it from the outside.
8) You can add product photos to give customers a better understanding of the kinds of goods that you offer.
9) You can show a more personal side of your business with team photos to show your management team or employees.
10) Lastly, you have the option to upload additional photos that do not fit into any of the other categories such as shots of your business in action (if you are a service-based business):
By following the above steps listed to get your Google My Business page up and running, your business listing will start showing up across Google. To access more ideas and resources, check out the official Google My Business Help section located here. Read up on their quality guidelines to be sure you’re optimized for success.
About the Author
Leigh-San Mo is an SEO Specialist with Indago Digital, a marketing agency that specialises in running acquisition campaigns and the channels that drive low cost conversions. SEO and SEM are at the heart of what we do but we’re also experts in Display, Mobile and Social Media.