I'm going to show you how to set up your Google My Business listing, how to optimize it, and how to get higher visibility in the search results.
If you are unfamiliar with what your Google My Business listing is, it is a profile that Google uses to share your company's information with your potential customers.
It shows information like your contact information, business hours, photos, services, products, and more.
Here is my Google My Business listing:
Your Google My Business listing is important because it can help attract potential customers to contact your business or visit your website.
So let's get started.
(If you already have a claimed and verified listing, you can skip to step 2.)
The very first thing you will want to do is check to make sure you don't already have a Google My Business listing.
You can do this by going to Google.com and searching for "your company name + city, state".
So if I was searching for my business, I would type this:
If your listing does show up, you will need to claim the listing.
You can do this by clicking either "Claim this business" or "Own this business?" and then follow the prompts to verify the listing.
If your listing does not show up, you will need to create a new listing.
This can be done by going to "google.com/business".
Once on the website, click "Manage Now".
Next, follow the prompts by clicking "Add your business to Google", and then filling out your business' information.
You will then be asked to choose a way to verify.
The automated call or text is quickest, while sending a postcard by mail will take about a week.
Even if you do not have a location customers can visit, you will need to add an office location.
If you are a service based business, the office address will not be visible to anyone but you.
Once you receive the PIN, you can go back to "google.com/business", sign in or click "Manage Now", and enter the PIN into the provided box.
Now that our Google My Business listing is created, we can now move onto optimizing it.
Next, go to your Google My Business dashboard and click on the "Info" section.
Make sure your information matches exactly what is displayed on your website, Facebook, and all other local profiles.
Here is a list of optimizations you can make to your Google My Business listing:
Make sure your company's name, address, and phone number match exactly as what you see on your website.
Add all of your company's services. Here is a list of all the categories Google provides.
If you are a service-based business where you travel to a customer's location, make sure you add the service areas you serve.
Add your business hours. Only include hours that an employee is in the office and available to answer phone calls.
Create a short name for your business. Something simple.
Add your website URL, and an appointment URL that goes to a "Contact" or "Lead" page on your website.
Add products you offer. You can also list your services in this section as well since it gives you an option to add pictures and has a better chance of displaying in the search results for branded searches.
Add more information about the services you offer.
Add Highlights if applicable.
Write an "About" section. Google allows for 750 characters, and I'd recommend using most of them.
Add your business' opening date. And yes, unfortunately, it HAS to be down to the specific day.
Add photos. I'd recommend adding a logo, the outside of your office building, head shots, company outings, and the waiting area.
You can set up messaging if you'd like by downloading the "Google My Business" app from Google Play or the App Store.
There is a section for "Website". Do not use it if you already have a website. Having a second website most likely will not boost your rankings, and the Google websites have a terrible user experience.
Once your Google profile is complete, here is how we can make sure that it is successful in the long run:
The most simple way of doing this is simply by asking your customers to leave you a review. You can also add a "Review Us" button to your website or add a "Review Us" link in your email signature.
To create a "Review" link for your Google My Business profile, go to your dashboard, click on the "Info" section, click "Share your Business Profile", copy the link provided and add "/review" after your business' short name.
Here is what mine looks like:
You should always respond to customer reviews, good or bad. This shows your customers that you are thankful of the time they took to leave the feedback.
If a customer leaves a negative review, step away for a day if you need to compose yourself.
Respond in a manner that shows you have listened to their complaint and understand where they are coming from.
Lashing out at negative reviews will only make the situation worse, as tempting as it may be.
If there is anything you can do to resolve the situation, like hopping on a call to hear the full story, do it!
If there are reviews that are clearly not from a real customer, simply flag them as spam.
There is no secret button you can press that can get reviews removed automatically.
If you know the office will be shut down on a specific day for a holiday or company outing, make sure you update this on your Google My Business listing.
Customers may call you during regular business hours and wonder why you aren't answering the phone.
That can be frustrating for the customer and can even cause you to lose business.
A lot of business owners and even marketers nowadays will say that Google My Business is more important than your website.
I beg to differ.
One of the ways that Google decides whether or not to show your Google profile in the search results is by looking at the content on your website.
If you want to show for a particular search query, you should probably talk about that topic on your website.
For example, I want to be visible in the search results when someone searches for "search engine optimization company near me".
Google My Business does not have a "Search Engine Optimization" service category.
So when my business gets shown in the search results, it says "Their website mentions search engine optimization".
If you want to be visible when someone searches for your product or service, make sure you have a specific page on your website that goes in-depth about the topic.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know below.