Did you know that 81% of shoppers search online before they make a purchase, even when the purchase is made explicitly at a local business?
If you want to capture this valuable search traffic and direct them right to your website or store, you may want to get your business listed on Google My Business. However, it is easier said than done! Many businesses fail to do that. In this Google My Business guide, we’ll answer all the questions listed below that most of the businesses often struggle with:
What is Google My Business?
Why is it important to focus on Google My Business?
What are the benefits of using Google My Business page?
How to create, verify and optimize Google My Business page?
An answer to each one of these questions can teach you something unique about succeeding with this new-age social media platform.
It’s time to get started!
What is Google My Business?
GMB is the one-stop solution for businesses to manage their online presence across Google Search and Maps. It has made it easier for businesses to interact with old and new customers and tell them the story of what makes their business one of a kind.
But it’s not just a place to communicate your story to your users. When used appropriately, Google My Business is an excellent tool that can increase your revenue.
I’m going to explain its importance and how you can optimize it to generate more sales.
Why exactly you need to focus on Google My Business?
Google dominates search with approximately 80% of all searches occurring on Google! However, if a business is not present on Google’s first page of search results, most of the people performing those searches will not be able to reach them.
A study examined that your chances of being clicked on are exponentially lowered down as you get farther from the first place rank on Google.
Imagine the last time you got your phone to search for a nearby restaurant or hair salon. You most likely tapped the listings that sprung up on the first page of Google search.
In short, your customers are searching for the things they need on the first page of Google. That’s the reason why it has become essential to get your business listed on Google My Business. Google My Business assists local businesses to get online and establish themselves for free.
What are the benefits of using Google Business Page?
For understanding what Google My Business has to offer you other than triggering local SEO, it is essential for you to look at the benefits of using it.
Imagine a scenario where millions of people use Google to search for businesses just like yours! What customers might be seeking when they search for your business online?
Your phone number or directions?
Hours of operation?
Parking availability at your store?
Well, with Google My Business you can make sure this information is available to consumers consistently across Google Search, Maps, and Google+.
Not only this, Google My Business is a valuable tool to use for a few more reasons:
- It doesn’t cost a penny!
- It offers great insights regarding how your customers are arriving on your site
- Managing your online review reputation and interaction with old or future customers becomes fun with GMB
- Google My Business closely ties in AdWords, Insights, Google+, Maps and Search which makes managing your online presence much easier
So now that you have known there is an enormous upside for using Google My Business let's dive in to learn how to create your Google My Business account, verify your business, and make its listing as strong as possible.
How to create Google My Business page? or How to claim your business listing on Google?
This is very easy! But, before kicking off with creating your Google Business account, let's find out if Google My Business is even meant for your business or not.
If you manage an online-only business, Google My Business is not for you. However, if you manage a storefront or service-area business, your business might be a great fit for it. Learn more here.
Ready to create a Google Business page for you? Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1 - To begin, visit “https://www.google.com/business/” and hit “Start Now.”
Step 2 - Sign in to your Google account that you want to be associated with your Google My Business listing or create one if you don’t already have one.
Step 3 - Enter your business name and address. Ensure the information you enter is consistent with what is currently listed on your website. Any sort of inconsistency in this information negatively impacts the search ranking.
Note: If there already exists a listing for an old business at a similar location using which you're enlisting another business; Do not attempt to claim it! Rather, suggest an edit to have it marked as closed.
Step 4 - Make sure you zoom the map and check for the location you have filled in for your business. Once you've reviewed, click on “Next.”
Step 5 - Add your service area, choose the category that fits your business best, and fill in the contact details you want to show to customers.
Step 6 - Once you're done, click on finish and proceed to verify your business. By verifying your business, you can:
- Make it easy for your customers to discover you on Google Search & Maps
- Use photos and posts to promote your business
- Track business analytics to understand customer behavior
- Manage and respond to your online reviews
How to verify your Business on Google My Business?
There are several ways using which you could confirm that this business belongs to you:
- By postcard
- By phone
- By email
- Instant verification
- Bulk verification
However, not every one of these verification methods is available for all types of businesses. Let's get started with them.
Postcard Verification - This method of verification is a little more complicated as compared to others, and it might take up to 12 days for the postcard to arrive. Ensure that your business address is correct to avoid any discrepancy. After all, who'd further want to delay the process?!
Phone and e-mail verification - Google My Businesses lets some businesses verify their business listing through phone or e-mail. If a business is eligible, they'll see the "Verify by phone" or "Verify by email" option when you begin verifying ownership for your business. As mentioned earlier, verification through e-mail and phone is quite simple and straight forward.
Bulk verification - If you are not a service area business or an agency managing multiple businesses and you operate 10 or more locations of the same business, your Google My Business listings might be eligible for bulk verification.
So, you've verified your business! Now it's time to finish fleshing out your profile.
How to optimize Google My business page?
The first step to using Google My Business page after getting it verified is to create a profile. Here’s the Google My Business account of Radisson Blu Hotel.
A lot is going on here in such a simple layout. In addition to your business name, website URL, and directions, you can see other additional information like accessibility information, timings, prices, etc.
The information you use here define your Google My Business profile. They're the primary things people see when they come across your business listing on Google. This makes your profile information vital to be optimized. Here are the essential elements you need to fill out.
NAP details - These are the basic name, address and phone number details about your business that will show in search results. You might have noticed that Google My Business requested you this information to begin the listing!
Google My Business photos - No listing is complete without the images. According to Google, “listings with photos see 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps and get 35% more clicks.” To completely optimize your GMB account consider uploading a profile photo, logo and cover photo, to showcase your business.
Along with your cover and profile photos, you can upload other pictures too! Doing this makes your listing more informative and engaging.
Google My Business Reviews - Why reviews are essential? Well, It’s a straightforward equation -- Good reviews = sales = increase in revenue.
Unlike other listing sites, GMB actively encourages user reviews. Don’t let reviews scare you, instead use them as a tool to generate sales.
Worried about how you could encourage future customers to leave reviews? It’s pretty straightforward. Respond to current ones. Respond to each review you've got whether it's good, bad or neutral.
Related: You may also want to read this complete guide on How to get Google My Business Page Reviews!
Each response is an opportunity for your business! They are more than just a customer’s thoughts about your product, service or brand. They play a crucial role in determining the success of your business.
You can anytime edit your business profile and optimize it in an accurate, comprehensive and up to date manner. To edit your business profile, log into your GMB dashboard, and navigate "Info," > "Edit Icon" next to the field you'd like to edit. Just roll out the desired changes and then tap on "Apply."
Wrapping it up!
Congratulations - If you have made to the end of this article, you are soon going to see your business rank among top businesses of your category on Google!
But it's just a beginning. Remember with great power comes great responsibility! Thus, get on Google My Business, post content about your business and commence engaging with your present or to be customers.
Now that you have a solid Google Business account set up, I must ask – what’s your favorite thing about GMB and why? Let me know in the comments below.