Set up Google My Business
For our first one hour hero session, we will start with a basic, but often neglected online business step. Setting up Google My Business.
During the next hour, we’re going to go through a few steps, make sure you have control of your listing, update your hours, and respond to reviews – all things that will help your business show up higher in search rankings!
- Understand what Google My Business Is
- Log in to Google My Business
- Update the Basic Info
- Update your Hours
- Find out where to set special hours
- Add some pictures
- Respond to reviews
- This lesson also contains the topic “Google My Business for Service Areas“
We’ve included easy to follow links throughout this lesson to get you exactly where you need to go.
Here’s an important part about the One Hour Hero. Everything we do will build upon the next thing, right now we’re just showing you the basics of Google My Business, but this will become an important tool that we will use in several other parts of this course.
What is a Google My Business Listing, and why is it important?
Google My Business is an easy way to showcase your business in search listings. When you create a Google My Business listing, your store information shows up when someone searches for your store name.
Your business listing contains a few very important features.
1: Business Name, Pictures, logo, and videos – you can add pictures of your store location, your shop’s logo, and even videos to your business listing.
2: Address information and contact information – your store address, and your shop phone number can easily be added here.
3: Store hours – when your business is open, as well as special hours.
4: Reviews – other users can leave reviews, and you can respond to those reviews. Reviews are an important source of ranking for your store, and can help you get ranked above others. Replying to reviews helps Google to recognize that you value your customers and the feedback they leave about your business.
These instructions are for a desktop or laptop, you can do this on a mobile device, but you’ve got more options on an actual computer.
All right, let’s get to it!
Step 1: Log Into Google My Business. To log into Google My Business, you need to have a Google Account (like a Gmail Address), if you have an existing Gmail account, you can use this to set up your account. I prefer to have a Google account specifically for my business.
Use the business email address that you have for your business
Step 2: Enter your business’ address. If your business doesn’t have a physical location, or if your business is mobile (like a plumber, or delivery service), you can list the service area additionally to, or instead of your physical address. – see the topic “Google My Business for Service Areas“
Step 3: Choose if you want your business address to appear on Google Maps. If you’re running a business without a physical location (for a remote business, a home based business, or one that only does mail order for example), you will want the pin on Google Maps.
Enter your business address, click next.
Step 4: Enter your business category. There are tons of different categories, but you have to select your primary business. If you’re a physical shop with a mix of products (say comics and games), select your primary focus. If your business is accounting and tax preparation, select the one you do the most work on here.
Don’t worry too much about this, you can add other categories later.
Step 5: Enter your phone number, and website URL for your business and click Finish.
Step 6: Select a verification option. If your business has a phone number, this will be the simplest verification, someone will call you and confirm your information within a couple of days. How to Verify Your Business, in other cases you may be prompted to have a post card sent to your location.
For this episode of One Hour Hero, we’re only going to focus on doing this once. I want to get you some rewards for one hour, and multi-location will take a bit more time. If you have multiple locations, you will need to create multiple locations. There is a great article on Search Engine Watch detailing how to do this.
Review your business information
The info setting is where you can add tons of other options, including other categories for your business, update your hours, changing your address, and much more.
Add other categories – Click on the pencil underneath your store name, you can add other categories to your business.
Post and Update Your Hours – You can add your regular hours, as well as special hours for closures. Keep in mind that this information can take up to 48 hours to show up on Google.
Add Business description – Towards the bottom of the page you’ll find an option to add a business description. This is a valuable feature that gives extra context to your business and helps people know more about you.
Add Opening Date – Google loves established businesses. Add when your business opened here.
Other important Google My Business features
Insights – This shows you how often your location is coming up in searches. It’s a valuable indicator to let you know if you need to spend a little time sprucing up your Google My Business page.
Add Pictures – Showing pictures of your store is a great way to give people a glimpse inside your location. A picture of your storefront helps them orient themselves when they arrive, and ensures that people come in.
Reviews – Another feature that helps rise you in the ranks is the reviews feature. High quality reviews helps Google see that your place is jumping. Responding to reviews is important because it sends a signal that you value customers opinions.
4 Ways to Optimize Google My Business
Optimize Google My Business
The following are the steps you need to take to optimize your listing to get the most out of it.
1. Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date
There are many different parts of your Google My Business listing, so let’s start with your core business information:
- Phone Number
It might seem ridiculous but you need to ensure your information is not just completely accurate, but consistent formatting and spelling with your website. If you have discrepancies will massively affect your rankings.
After you’ve provided information, you need to focus on two very important pieces of your listing: your business category and your company attributes.
These areas require you to be specific in regards to what type of business you operate. There is no room to get the business category wrong or to use your description to “stuff” keywords so I don’t recommend trying.
After completing this part you can now modify the brand and visual elements on your listing. You can easily add photos to you listing which will make it stand out from other entries. Often times I see a very quick effort by companies because their images are small, or fuzzy, or sometimes even stretched out. Not only does it look bad but it will give customers the impression that you don’t care.
Posting images of your brick and mortar including the outside, signage, store shelves and maybe even shoppers will make your store more inviting and encourage people to visit.
Add Cover Photo
A cover photo is the largest image that will appear on your listing. I’ve seen many companies use a large picture of their building or a picture of staff here. Both are good options, although we chose to use an image more representative of our brand.
Here is where you’ll add your logo. It shows up beneath the three main images, beside your name.
You can see the final entry for NorthIQ below.
2. Ask for reviews (and then respond to them)
I cannot stress this enough – you need reviews from customers. Your prospects will see them and decide to buy from your based on that. Research suggests it’s more important than ever.
The hard part obviously is how to get reviews. The truth is they rarely happen without your intervention unless they are bad. Sometimes they do happen naturally but you can’t rely on that. The best way to do this? Ask!
Sit down and think about who your best customers are – the ones you’ve gotten to know the best and really like what your business offers. Those are the first people you need to ask.
Additionally, don’t just randomly ask for a review on Google because most people won’t know what that means. Once you’ve completed your listing the best way to accomplish this is to google your own business name and click on the blue “reviews” link. On that page you can copy the URL and send this to people view email.
Once you do get reviews you need to ensure you respond to every single one of them. Even the bad ones. Make sure you take the five minutes it would require – this is a small amount of effort to put in that shows you’re a real person and that you actually really do care.
3. Speak directly to your customers through Google My Business Messages
Now that you’ve completed your listing and customers can find you it’s important to realize you’re only halfway there. You need to provide them the easiest and most convenient way for them to connect with you if they have questions of any kind. GMB enables users to call you but sometimes they don’t want to call. That’s why Google implemented a Messaging capability.
I’ll be honest I found that setting this up was a little confusing because you’ll need to go back and forth between your desktop where you are managing GMB and your phone.
On the Google Play Store or the App Store you’ll need to download the Google My Business App and log into it with the same credentials as your GMB account. Once you are in go to the Customers > Messages section and enable it.
You’ll be required to enter a number that you’ll message with. I used my own personal phone number and it never actually displays anywhere online. Once you’ve done that it will require a confirmation to verify it.
You’ll be able to turn this feature on and off as required if you are unable to fulfill messages for whatever reason.
Google also calculates a response time for you that will be shown on your listing. This is averaged from the length of time it takes you to respond to inquiries.
You can also add a “Welcome Message.” This is what users will receive when they start a message to you.
A sample message could read, “Thank you for contacting us. We’ll respond as soon as we’re able.”
Now that you’ve completed this you will receive text messages when a customer interacts with this functionality.
4. Add posts to share business updates
You can easily add posts to your GMB listing. Communicate your event, new product, or other information that will be interesting and engaging for your customers. It’s easy to post and I recommend you do it any time you have something interesting to say.
By clicking Posts on the left hand menu you’ll access all the functionality to begin creating posts and events of your own.
Click Create your first post. You’ll have several options here including Add Offer, Add Event, Add Update, and Add Product. Once you choose the appropriate option you’ll have the opportunity to enter the details, create a button and create a link. Feel free to explore each option and try what’s right for what you’re trying to achieve. I have included below a couple of examples of what I’ve done.
You’ve completed the basics of what Google My Business has to offer and it will begin to help immediately, either by enabling customers to engage with you, bringing them to your physical location, or by supporting your SEO efforts.
It’s strongly encouraged to continue adding content, products, events and posts to keep your content fresh and exciting.
In my experience implementing this for my own small business as well as other businesses oftentimes you’ll see a slow but growing trickle of opportunities from this. Stay patient because it will pay off in the long run.
Best of all this tool is free!