Google My Business is the platform that Google makes available to insert your business into local search results. This is advantageous because your business will show up prominently on a map of your town on a search results page. In addition, it provides a sort-of mini-blogging function that you can use to push information about your business into search results.
Here is a snippet of what a typical local search results page with a map might look like:
In addition to your location on a map, Google will also provide information such as your phone number, address and hours of business. So obviously, if someone in your local market is searching for the types of products or services that you sell, you want your business to show up here!
Google pulls that local business information from businesses that have Google My Business accounts. If you don’t have one, you’re not going to show up.
Setting Up Your Google My Business Account
Set up a Google My Business account by going to:
If you don’t already have a Google account, that is step one. Click the Create account link (or Use another account, if you see that option, then Create account) and just follow the instructions to create a Google account.
Once your Google account is created, you will arrive at a welcome screen that has a blue button that says “Continue to Google My Business.” If you don’t see that button, use the web address shown above to get to the Google My Business signup page.
The first page of the signup process is where you start telling Google all about your business – your name, address, phone, category, etc. Be very careful to type in all of your information correctly. The information you type in here should match what is shown on your website.
Google will then attempt to display your business address on a map and require you to click a button stating that you are authorized to manage the business and agree to Google’s terms.
To complete the process, you will need a verification code that you get via a postcard from Google. This is how Google can be sure that the address you provide here is a legitimate address. For that reason, it’s a little hard to game the system. If you don’t have a business address, you can use your home address. But then the location of your home will show up on Google search maps. That may or may not be what you want.
While you wait on the postcard from Google, you should go ahead and start filling out the details of your Google Business page. Use every option there is. Give your page a header background. Provide hours of operation, your website address and a phone number.
Add as many photos as it will let you. High quality photography is important to create a good impression to potential customers. It is very possible that someone could use your Google My Business profile to decide if he wants to do business with you. So be very professional in everything you do.
Once your page is verified, which you can do after you receive the Google postcard, your property will be eligible to appear in Google local search results.
Google has gradually made the My Business service a more and more useful marketing platform, such as by adding a messaging feature. You can receive messages through your Google My Business listing in Google. To enable that feature, you have to associate your Google account with a device that can receive messages.
Go to the app store on your device and search for “Google My Business.” Then find the Google My Business app in the list of apps and install it. Once you have the app installed and are logged into your Google account, you can manage your Google My Business account from your mobile device and receive messages sent through your My Business profile in Google search.
Short names make it much easier for you to tell someone how to get to your My Business profile. Rather than searching for your business name and location, your short name will take them directly to your information. At the time of this writing, the format of your Google My Business short name will be g.page/[your short name]. For example, Work Media’s short name address is g.page/workmedia.
Having reviews show up along with your Google My Business profile can give you an advantage over your competitors. All else equal, what looks better? A business with no reviews or a business with lots of reviews? Now, if your reviews are bad, then maybe no reviews is better. So it is important to have satisfied customers who will give you positive reviews.
By giving your customers your Google My Business short name, it is much easier to get them to the right place to leave a review. Once they arrive at your Google My Business profile via your short name, they just have to scroll down the page and they will see a button that says “Write a review” on the left side of the screen.
Ask your customers to leave you reviews, and give them detailed instructions on how to do it. You might collect a few haphazardly, but in my experience, you are MUCH more likely to get reviews if you ask for them and tell your customers how to do it.
Events and Offers
You can also set up offers or events that appear on your search profile. For example, you could have a big sale and announce it as an offer. An offer can include a coupon code that customers can plug into your website for a discount (as long as the coupon code is set up in your website backend).
The events feature is a great way to announce an event happening at your business. Both events and offers are easily set up through the Google My Business interface on your mobile device or computer.
The Google My Business posts feature is sort-of a micro-blogging platform. You should update it often. Updating your posts will help increase your visibility in Google search. It will make your business appear more “active.” Posts do not have to be very long. In fact, you could probably re-use Facebook content for posts.
The Google My Business platform is heavily underused by local businesses. That is a mistake because it can greatly improve your local search visibility and give you a decisive competitive advantage over your competitors who are not using the platform effectively.
Need help? Contact Work Media today. Let’s get it done!