What is Google My Business? Do I need it?

If you’re confused about the many names and options for managing your Google presence, you aren’t alone.  Google Places used to be Google’s tool for owners to manage their business profiles, but it was retired in 2014. Now Google My Business is the central hub to manage how your business appears on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.

Do you need a Google My Business account? If you’re targeting local customers, I highly recommend it.

GMB is a free tool that lets you customize how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes adding your business name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos, and offers you some insight into how people are finding and selecting your business based on your SEO.

I have posted a few blogs about how important SEO is to any business. If you’re just getting started with local SEO, Google My Business listing is a great place to start.

While the setup is pretty intuitive, here are the step by step instructions to set you your GMB. All the steps are listed below so you can set up your page as quickly as possible. If you need help, holler on our FB page and we will give you a little free advice.

Once your claim your business, you will see your landing  page with a menu on the left side with all the customization options:

  • Step 1: Log in to the Google Account you want to be associated with your business (or create a Google Account if you don’t already have one).
  • Step 2: Go to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
  • Step 3: Enter your business name.

Step 4: Enter your business address. 

Note- If you deliver check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” If you have a home business you have the option to check “Hide my address (it’s not a store) Only show region.”

  • Step 5: Choose your business category. Try to choose the most accurate category possible, if you don’t see your category, utilize the custom business category option to type in your category.
  • Step 6: Add your business phone number or website.
  • Step 7: Choose a verification option. If you’re not ready to verify your business yet, click “Try a different method” → “Later.”

There are several ways to verify your GMB listing:

  • By postcard- You will receive a verification code in around 5 days.
  • By phone-Log into your GBA. Grant a phone call to your business line. This will only take a few minutes.
  • By email- You will receive a verification code in around 5 days.
  • Instant verification- This is through email.
  • Bulk verification- If you have more than 10 businesses, select this option.

According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps. 

Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files. Use high quality images that reflect your business. Your cover photo needs to be your top priority.

You are allowed to add:

Profile photo- This should be a professional photo of the business owner(S)

Cover photo- This is your main photo. Make sure it’s one that sells.

Video- Select a video that showcases what your business is about. 30 seconds or shorter, 100mb maximum, 720p or higher.

Additional photos- Google lets you upload 2 photos. Include an exterior photo of your parking lot so people know where to park, if you don’t have designated parking. Take a photo from the street, so people recognize your business immediately.

One of the best ways to encourage future customers to leave positive reviews and to respond to the good and bad reviews, quickly.  

Here’s a sample reply to a satisfied customer:

Thank you for your business, [name]! We’re so glad to hear you liked your  [product/service] — Hope to see you back at [business name] soon. OR this is a great time to throw in an offer such as 10% off a service or product.

You should also respond to negative reviews to show you take them seriously and placate the unhappy buyer. But make sure you’re extremely courteous — attacking them back will only make you look unprofessional and their review more credible.

Thank you for the feedback, [name], and I’m incredibly sorry [product/experience] did not meet your expectations. [If you’ve made a change, mention it here -such as, “we took your excellent feedback and changed our check-in process]. If you’d like to come back in, we’d be happy to give you [service/product] on the house. In any case, thanks for your business, and I hope we can do better next time.