The answer better be yes! Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the most important tools you have as a local business. Depending on the industry you work in, it can help you reach new customers, book appointments, showcase your restaurant’s menu and more.
Now, there is a lot of nerdy stuff you can do here like utilizing Schema Markup, creating a GMB Site and so on, but we’ll touch on those in other articles. This post is all about why you need a GMB listing, how to set one up (properly), and how to nurture it… like a baby kitten.
In this example, I’ll be showing off one of my client’s GMB accounts, Bee Serious Bee Removal. They are a beekeeping and bee removal service based in Orlando, Florida.
Why You Need It
Think about it… When you’re searching for something online, what do you usually do? Most of us pull out our phone, pull up Google or Google Maps and search for what we need. “Best Brunch Near Me,” “Plumbing Company,” “Platypus Walking Service,” are all common search terms that will yield a number of Google My Business listings. Getting on top of these listings (or getting a listing at all) is a huge step in the right direction for expanding your online presence.
Adding Your Business
Adding your business is easy! Head over to Google My Business and follow the prompts to get started. If you don’t already have a Google account, you’ll have to create one (I know this can be a pain). To add your business you’ll have to input your business information (name, address, phone, etc.) and Google will do a quick search to see if it matches any existing business. If it does, you can go through the steps to claim and verify it. If not, follow the steps to add a new business (they’re both very easy).
Keep in mind, your address and phone number must be unique, and you must be able to receive mail at your address for the next step. P.O. boxes will not work.
After you’ve added your business, you’ll need to verify it before your information goes live. They do a great job of walking business owners through this process (I’d be happy to help as well). Google will send a postcard to your address with a Pin Number on it. It usually takes a week or two depending on where you live. Once received, go back to google.com/verifymybusiness and enter the code to verify. Within 1-2 days it will be live.
Optimize Your Profile
Like a fresh pitcher of Kool-Aid, you’ll want to fill your profile up to the brim! Make sure that you use the exact same Business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) as any other online profile you might have for your business (Yelp, YP, Facebook, etc.). I’ll explain more about this in another post. In addition, make sure you:
- Add all of your categories
- Configure your address and service areas
- Your business hours (and any holiday hours)
- Add your website URL
- And (If Applicable) your appointment URL or menu URL
- Upload your logo, a cover photo and profile photo
- Add (A Ton) of photos on your business
Depending on the type of business you have, a couple things will vary like the available URLs and photo categories.
This can be a huge pain in the ass! It’s the one thing my clients struggle with most. Reviews don’t write themselves, so we have to get our customers to write them for us. It’s against the rules to offer incentive for reviews and immoral to create them yourself. Plus, those are two good ways to get your account spanked.
The best way to do this is to make the process as easy as possible. After a little research and a lot of testing, I figured out the easiest way to get Google reviews from your customers. Authentic, pure, Google Review goodness.
Build Your GMB Site
Google released sites earlier this year. Check out this post on how to setup your Google My Business Website for a more detailed breakdown on this topic.
Another new feature for GMB, Posts allow you to constantly engage your customers and keep them up to date right in the search results and maps listings for your business. You can use them to share new items, services, news, and even events. Google has a great breakdown on how to setup Google My Business Posts from your computer and mobile device. Keep in mind, you’re only limited to 300 words, so make em count!
Track Your Progress
Using the Insights tab, GMB gives you (almost) up to date information about how your page is performing. Here you can see how and where users view your business, actions they have taken on your profile, and photo views of you vs. your competitors. The most recent data you can retrieve is from 3 days before the current date, which is kind of a bummer for the “need-it-now” folks.
This is a whole other beast and still an important part of your ongoing digital marketing efforts. They haven’t phased this out yet though there have been rumors. I’ll create another post on this as well in the future and link to it from here.
There Is Still A Lot More
I tend to blab alot and digress into super nerdy rants about this kind of stuff, so I tried my best to keep this concise and easily digestible. Even though this lends you to a well optimized and verified Google My Business Profile, there is (always) a lot more you can do to improve your online presence.
If you have any questions or need help setting up your Google My Business profile, contact me today.