Google My Business has been around since 2014 and helps to connect business owners with customers. When customers search for your business on Google, they should be able to find you… if they can’t it means you haven’t set up a Google My Business listing.
Setting up a Google My Business account is completely free, which is why you should be using it for your business, no matter whether it has a physical location or not. Here is our guide to Google My Business; why it’s important to use, how to set up your account and how to begin optimising your business profile.
Why Set up a Google My Business Account?
Before we get into creating your business profile on Google, it is important that you understand why Google My Business is so vital to developing your brand. There are a number of reasons why creating your own Google My Business account can be so beneficial. Firstly, setting up an account means that any time someone searches your business or something similar to your business in the area, you will show up on the search results page.
Making yourself discoverable on Google search is so important because of the sheer number of people that use the search engine every day. Numerous studies have found that a brand with a business profile on Google is much more trustworthy than one without. Customers feel that a brand is more reputable and accessible if it appears on Google.
Secondly, a Google My Business listing allows you to display business information such as your opening hours, phone number, business address, a link to your website, photos, reviews and more. You can add a huge amount of content to your business profile, which means potential customers can find your information all in one place and are much more likely to convert with you.
In the present day, we are used to retrieving information almost instantly through search engines like Google, which is why a lack of a business profile or business information online can really work against your marketing efforts.
A Google My Business account also allows you to update customers with posts and mark your business as temporarily closed, if necessary. Keeping both existing and new customers informed is a great way to earn their trust and will encourage them to use your business again. Overall, a business profile on Google will be sure to help you to reach your marketing goals and expand your business online.
How Do I Set Up A Business Profile on Google?
If your business is new or you’ve never tried to set up a Google My Business account before, you will need to set one up as new. Here are the steps for getting your business on Google.
- Visit https://www.google.com/business and click ‘Manage Now’.
- Google My Business will ask you a range of questions, including your business name, a category that best describes your business, a business address, and contact details.
- Once you have submitted all of your information you will be required to verify your business. Google My Business verification is a simple step; usually, Google will send you a verification code physically in the post. This can take a few days up to 2 weeks to get to you.
- Upon receiving your 5 digit verification code in the mail, simply head back to Google My Business and click verify.
How Do I Claim a Google My Business Listing that Has Already Been Set Up?
When it comes to entering your business name on Google, you may find that someone has already created a business listing for your brand. This may be because you took over from another owner, or someone on your team already set one up previously.
If you are able to find out who has created your listing already, you can simply ask them to add your email as an admin. If you’re unsure as to who created the listing, or you are no longer in contact then Google is pretty helpful with claiming back Google My Business accounts. You can follow the steps as advised by Google when clicking to claim your profile or contact Google’s help centre to quickly solve your issue.
Google Accepted My Business Verification, What Now?
Once you verify your business, you will be able to start adding content and editing your business profile. The first thing you should do is to click on the ‘Info’ page (which can be found in the left menu).
On the business Info page, you will see that you can add information such as service areas, opening hours, a social media handle, website, phone number, a brief description of your business, services and photos.
We highly recommend that you fill out all of this business information in order to optimise your profile on Google search. Even if a business has a listing, a lack of information can turn customers away; they will simply find out more about the next business that provides them with the information they need.
How Do I Optimise My Google My Business Profile?
Filling out all of your business information on Google is one thing, but maintaining and optimising your profile after this can help a great deal towards your marketing strategy. There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when optimising your business on Google.
Adding professional photos of your business, as well as customer photos, will be certain to make your business profile stand out. If you have a physical location for your business, for example, if you are a restaurant or bar, photos are especially important. If people are searching by their location or on Google maps, you will display next to the competition, which is why photos that customers can look at will put you ahead of a business that hasn’t got any photos on display.
Create Content for Posts
After you verify your business, you can start creating content for posts on Google. By clicking the ‘Posts’ button in the left menu, you can add offers, events and updates. Adding an update will allow you to post a video or photo, along with a caption – just like social media. It is a great idea to update your Google listing weekly to set you apart from competitors and show potential customers that you take pride in your work.
One of the most important parts of a Google listing is the reviews. Your review score will show up as soon as someone finds your business, which is why it is vital to ensure you have good reviews on your profile. Encourage existing customers to upload their great reviews to your Google profile; you can simply send them a link that will take them straight to the review submission page for your business. Continuously monitor your Google reviews and ensure that you reply to any reviews you receive, including any bad ones!
Turn on Messaging & Quote Requests
Under the ‘Messaging’ page, you can click to turn on messaging and quotes, which allows people to contact you directly from your Google business profile. This can be a good idea as it works out easier for customers to get in touch with you, but if you are going to turn it on you need to ensure you are consistently checking it and replying to any questions you receive. If you feel that you don’t have time to monitor message and quote requests on Google, then it is best to keep it turned off, otherwise, it can hinder your business potential.
Setting up and optimising your Google business profile for Google maps and search is an amazing free marketing tactic. Why not try to search for your business on Google (open an incognito tab) and find out if customers can find you and your business information easily? If they can’t, you’ll need to either set up an account or head into your account and begin optimising your profile.
Optimising your Google profile is not a long process, and can make a big difference to your brand in no time. Remember that any changes you make to your profile can take up to 60 days to show up. Have your business appear across Google and see for yourself how much it can help, using Google’s built-in insights!