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How to Set Up Google My Business

 

How do you get your local business to show up on Google?  That’s the million dollar question.

Today, we’re going to talk about the easiest, fastest and what should be the very first step to ranking on Google. 

That is, creating a Google My Business Listing, also known as GMB. 

We’re going to walk through, the exact steps, on how to set up a Google My Business listing for your locally-owned company so you can show up on search faster.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What is Google My Business?
  2. How to Set Up a Google My Business Listing (step-by-step).
  3. How To Maximize Google My Business for Your Local Business

What is Google My Business?

You know when you’re searching for a restaurant or coffee shop and Google Map pops on your device showing the closest options?  That’s Google My Business.  But it’s not just for retail locations, it can and should be used by all local businesses regardless of industry.

As a local business owner, you may think that there’s no way you can compete with the “big guys” on the search engines, but that is just not true.

Google wants to give its users the most relevant, high quality results when they are searching for a solution.  That means showing local businesses on its maps.

That is good news for local business owners.

In addition, Google My Business is free to set up and manage.  You can pay a professional like us or you can follow these steps and do it yourself.

Once your listing is created and verified, it can start showing up in search within a couple of weeks.

How to Create a Google My Business Listing (step-by-step)

Setting this up is easiest on a desktop or laptop.  It can be done on mobile, but it’s a bit of a pain.

1. Go to Google My Business.

If you already had a listing, you’d log in here.

2. Click on Create Account then To manage my business.

3. Enter the business owner’s first and last name.

 

4. Enter in the email address of your choice. 

You can also create a Gmail account by selecting Create a new Gmail address. 

Either way, use an email address that you have access to and use regularly.

 

5.Create a password. 

Use something harder than “cat123”.  A better password would be something like “Fgp$52dqR@“.  I hear from people all the time that have had various accounts hacked, from Facebook to their website and everything in between.  Unless you want to host pirated movies on your construction company website (true story), I’d recommend using hard and unique passwords. 

Tip:  If every password needs to be difficult and unique, where do you store all your passwords?  Use a password-keeping service to keep them organized and safe.  You only have to remember one password.  

I use BitWarden.  It’s free.  When it’s time to login to something, I just open BitWarden and copy and paste the password.  These services will also generate random passwords for you.  You’ve been warned.  

 

6. Verify access via email.

Check your email to confirm the verification code and enter it in the Enter Code field.

 

7. Enter your phone number.

You can always change this number, but for now, use the phone number of a phone you have access to right now.  Google will text you a code so enter that in.

 

8. Enter in your business name.

There’s lots of talk and speculation on how best to name your business so it shows up on Google Maps as often as possible.  I’d recommend putting your actual business name minus “LLC”, “Company”, etc.  For general SEO practices, it’s recommended that your business name, address and phone number (NAP) be identical on your website, social media, Google My Business and any other online listings you may be on.

Search engines look for this consistency to help verify that your business is valid and not shady.

You can also squeeze in a keyword to your business name and monitor the results. 

For example, our company is Prime Web Design and that’s what we have everywhere.  On our GMB listing we have Prime Custom Web Design because or core service is “custom web design”.  We have not had any negative impact so there’s no hard rule just as long as the name is the same.

 

9. Enter your business category(s).

Another GMB topic that people can get passionate about is the Business Category.  This tells Google what industry you’re in.

Frankly, the business category your company falls under may not be one of the options, so just find the closest one.

Not sure which one to pick?  Go to https://www.google.com/maps and search for your competitors and check out their business category.  It will be right below their business name.

The cool thing, is you can select multiple categories, you just want to make sure they are relevant.  Again, you can get ideas by search for business categories in Google Maps to see if any of your competitors come up.

 

10. Add the service location.

The service location is simply the address where your customers can visit you and do business.  If you have a location where customers can see you (whether retail, walks-ins or by appointment), then click Yes and add in the address.  Your address will be posted publicly and used for the search results.

Suppose you work from home or you go to your customers’ locations (ie. plumbers, movers, decorators, etc.) and you don’t need or have a physical location, that’s OK too, just click no.

 

11. Add the service areas.

Besides the service location (the physical address), you can select areas that you service as well (the geographical areas).  Enter in all cities and counties you serve.  You can even enter in zip codes and states.

 

 

12. Enter contact details.

Enter in your business phone number and website.  Don’t have a website?  No problem, you can skip that, but you should really enter in a phone number.  As soon as you have a website, go back in and add it to your listing.  The Google My Business listing gets your customers’ attention, your website turns them into leads and customers.

13.  Enter your mailing address.

The whole point of GMB listings is to show local businesses in Maps, so Google will mail you a physical postcard with a verification code on it.  That’s what this address is for. 

If you have a physical location, put that address here.

If you don’ have a physical location, put your home address.  Since you marked earlier that you don’t have a physical location, your home address will be kept private so it won’t show on your listing publicly. 

Although it will be hidden, Google will still factor it into deciding when to show your listing on Maps. 

Can you show your home address as a physical location?  Sure, but keep in mind that everyone will know where you live.

The postcard will arrive in about five days.

 

14.  Choose how to verify.

Remember when I said, Google will mail you a physical postcard?  Sometimes they will allow you to verify by text or phone call, but not always. 

The security protocol changes.  You may be able to verify by phone, but typically it’s a mailed postcard.

You should get this screen.

If you need the verify by mail (the most common occurrence), you should get this screen after you request verification.

 

15. Add the business hours.

 

 

16. Turn on messaging.

Messaging is a newer feature.  You can receive customer messages via the Google My Business App on your phone or when you’re logged in via browser on desktop or laptop.

 

17. Add the business description.

The business description is very important factor in Google’s decision on when and where to show a particular business in maps.

Google will “crawl” the business description and look for words and phrases (keywords) that it thinks should be there relative to your business category(s) and business name.

Make sure the business description has lots of benefits, some features and definitely the keywords your customer might use.

Let’s say you have a water softening company.  One of your core keywords might be “water softeners {your city} or “water softener companies {your city}”. 

So your opening line might be…

“Awesome Water Softeners is a water softener company in San Antonio.”

Follow this content pattern:

  • Keywords ( a few, avoid “keyword stuffing”)
  • Benefits
  • Products/Services
 
 
 

18. Add photos and videos

Adding photos is one of the most important steps.  Photos are a great way to convey your business, staff, products and services to your customers.

The more pictures the better.  Try to add in exterior and interior photos as well as pictures of your products.

Make one of your best pictures, the “cover” photo. This is the image that will show first on your listing.

Add in videos as well.   The video file size is much smaller than youtube for example so you expect a video run time of about 10-20 seconds.

There are several photo categories that you should place your images in after uploading them:

  • Interior (inside your location)
  • Exterior (outside your location)
  • At Work (products or services)
  • Team (employees and leadership)
  • Identity (logos, branding)
 
 
 

19. Add products.

Adding products is especially powerful to help peek interest for e-commerce products, restaurants, bakeries and just about any physical product.

Do the following:

  • Add an image of the product
  • Add the product name
  • Select a category or create a new category (keep it simple)
  • Add the price (this is optional)
  • Add product description (this is optional but don’t skip it.  Think: keyword, benefits, features)
  • Add button and link it to the exact product page.
  • Repeat for all your products.
 
 

 

20. Add services.

Remember when you added in a few business categories?  You can add specific services under those business categories. 

Under each business category, there will be some existing services.  Click the ones that apply.

Add custom services by clicking the link and manually typing it in.

Think like a customer.  What services would your customer need if they searched for “water softener companies”?  Add those services in if you offer them.

 

21. Review the dashboard.

Now that you have your business profile completed, look for any alerts on the dashboard and resolve them (except the Pending Verification alert, that’s the next step).

Then go through each menu link on the left and get comfortable with the layout.

There are always new features getting added in so update any information that is relevant and your customers would want to know.  Google will use this info to decide when to show your listing as well.

 

22. Verify your listing.

A week from now, you should get the Google postcard in the mail.  To enter it, go to the dashboard and look for the verification alert in the center of the screen.  Add in the verification code there.

Three days after that your listing will go live.

Note: “Going live” doesn’t mean your listing will instantly appear on maps all the time.  Google has their own internal methods for deciding when and where to show a business.  Typically, it should start showing up about a week after verification.

 

23. Create a custom review link.

Getting customer reviews on your listing is a very important factor to ranking on Google, so make it your habit to collect them all day every day. 

Once, verified a new field will become available.  It’s the “@” field in the Info section.

Go to Info and look for “@“ field below the phone number.  Add in something short, sweet and consistent with your brand name. 

I’d recommend using either your domain name or social media handle.

For example our social media handle is @primewebsa (on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) and our domain is primewebsa.com , so we used that here as well.  

You should end up with a custom review link like ours:

https://g.page/primewebsa/review

You can forward this branded link to your customers via email, social or text.

Tip: If you’re struggling to get reviews and/or your not sure where you should place them online, check out How To Ask For A Review.  It’s our simple two-step method to getting five-star reviews without coming off as pushy or desperate.

 

How To Maximize Google My Business for Your Local Business

 

OK, it’s live.  Now what?

 

1.Download the Google My Business app to your phone.

After getting the listing created on desktop/laptop, it’s super easy to manage on mobile.  Of course you can alway access it on a desktop/laptop at any time at Google My Business.

The mobile app is especially helpful when getting messaging and customer review alerts.  You can quickly reply to messages and reviews right from your phone.

 

2.Recruit customers to leave reviews.

Apart from setting up the business profile properly, the next most important factor in showing up on Google Maps is customer reviews.

The three factors are:

Amount The more reviews you have the better.  Google correctly thinks that the business with the most reviews is probably a real business that’s been around a while and does good work.

Frequency Getting regular reviews every month can really help.  I’ve seen listings with lots of old reviews show up on maps, but over time it can fall off.  Make it part of your sales process to collect reviews regularly.  Want to know what happens to local businesses that don’t regularly pursue customer reviews?  Over time, they make lots of customers happy, but only end up with something like two five-star reviews.  Then one day, somebody either by accident or on-purpose, puts a good ‘ol one-star review.  Your rating just dropped from 5.0 to 3.67.  Be proactive about collecting reviews.  Learn more about how to ask for reviews here.  Frequent and recent reviews tells Google you’re still in business and making customers happy.

Rating The average rating for your business is probably more important to your customers than to Google rankings, but your customers are paying the bills.  The higher the average rating, the better chance you have of showing and getting clicks. 

Tip: Respond to all reviews both high scores and low scores.  Some business owners don’t respond to the great reviews, just the low scores and others do the reverse.  Be consistent and respond to all of them.  This will show your prospects that you are listening to your customers.  It also tells Google you are actively managing the listing. 

Tip: Do you struggle with collecting reviews or you’re not sure where to put them?  Check out How To Ask For A Review.

 

3.Create posts weekly.

Posts can be anything you want your prospects and customers to know about.  Typically posts will stay live for about week and then disappear. 

There are four kinds of posts:

Offer Use this for coupons, discounts and limited-time deals.

What’s New Any new info your customers should know that you can link to your website to learn more, buy, sign up, etc.

Event Have a special event coming up?  Place it here.  It will stay live until that day passes.

Product You can a new product here.  It’s a bit redundant.

Tip: If you do a social media post, you can add it as a post here as well.  Prospects find businesses in different ways, so don’t worry about showing the same posts on different platforms.  

 

4. Add photos and/or videos weekly

Adding more content regularly shows your prospects the most up-to-date happenings.  For example, use the At Work category to display content with your customers, products sold or events you may be been a part of.

 

Conclusion

In many ways, Google My Business behaves like social media, the more you interact with the listing, the more Google likes it.

Don’t forget to check your GMB stats at least once a month.  Just go to Insights and you will be able to see how often your listing appears, how many phone calls you get and how many visitors went to your website.

Don’t have a website yet?  Read our complete breakdown on How Much Does a Website Cost.

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