Google My Business is a free tool from Google to help businesses manage how they appear in Google search and maps. This is ideal for all businesses, but especially local businesses as when people search for businesses “near me”, only those businesses with a Google My Business page show up in the special search feature that Google displays first, before the rest of the search results.
The video below goes through the various features available on Google My Business and I have also gone into some detail in the article below as well.
When you type in a query to Google, it uses your location (if you have allowed Google to know your location) to show you the most relevant results closest to you. Below you can see how this shows up when you search on desktop.
As you can imagine, this is a huge boost for those businesses that are featured in the listing. Usually, the top three will be shown, but there is a link underneath them (“more places”) that allows people to explore other businesses listed.
So, how do you make the list? Well first off, your business needs to be listed on Google My Business.
How to create your Google My Business Account
- Step 1: If you already have a Google Account you want to be associated with your business log into that, or create a new one for your business.
- Step 2: Go to google.com/business and select “Manage Now”.
- Step 3: Enter your business name and agree to the Terms of Service.
- Step 4: Enter your business address. If you don’t have customers visiting your business premises you will be given the option to hide your address on the listing.
- Step 5: You will be asked to enter your service areas. Enter as many as applicable.
- Step 6: Choose your category. You will have to select from the options that Google gives you, so if you can’t find your first choice, try a few variations.
- Step 7: Enter your contact details (phone number and website address if applicable)
- Step 8: Finish and verify the business. For verification, you may be given a few options (phone, email, or postcard). However, sometimes having a postcard sent is the only option available.
- Step 9: Make sure you verify your listing, as you won’t show up in customer searches as shown above if your business is not verified.
After your business has been verified by Google, when someone types in your business name in Google, your business listing will show up at the top of the search results for those using a mobile device (pictured) and to the top right for those on desktop.
The listing has the business name, along with the reviews rating and numbers, the business category, the address if you have opted to display it and whether you are open or closed at the time of the search.
Underneath that, you can see that the listing makes it very easy for someone to contact you directly from the Google search page, instead of having to visit your website first to find these details.
In the overview section, your phone number, messaging, directions, and website are all available (depending on whether you have chosen these features or not).
You can use the messaging feature if you download the Google My Business app. The app not only allows you to receive messages directly from the Google search page, but you can also respond to reviews and check out your Google search statistics and insights.
If you have listed your address, there will be directions to your business, as well as a listing on Google maps. If you have a website, you can list it here, or for those that don’t have a website already, you can have Google generate one for you.
Also available but not shown in this screenshot is a section where you can put your appointment calendar for clients to schedule an appointment (if you have an appointment scheduler).
You can log into your Google My Business account by going to the address you used to sign-up, google.com/business. If you are already signed into the Google account related to your business, you can search for your listing on Google, and select an option (edit info, create post, add photo, reviews, create ad) to edit the listing from there.
The general public can also edit your listing, so it is a good idea to lot into your account from time to time to check if something has been added. This could be a review, or someone adding photos, or adding information about your business (Google does ask people questions about various businesses they have visited or been near from time to time).
When you do log-in to your Google My Business account you will have several sections to choose from.
The home tab has a general overview of your listing. You can create a post, add a photo or create an ad from here.
There is a rundown of the performance of your listing over the past 28 days. It gives a breakdown of who has seen your listing and what they did after viewing it, the insights section goes into more details about this.
The performance of your latest post, photos and customer reviews are also in this section.
If you have not fully completed your profile, you will be encouraged to do so from here.
This is also where you can grab the link for your Google My Business customer reviews. Encourage customers to leave a review on Google where possible, as this will have some bearing on your placement in the search results when people look for a business “near me”.
There are various post types that you can enter in your Google My Business account.
- What’s New
You can add a photo or video to any of these post types and all of them except the offer post allows you to add a button. Button choices include “book”, “order online”, “buy”, “learn more”, “sign up”, and “call now”.
The offer type posts automatically come with a “view offer” button and appear at the top of your listing.
Events and Offers can have start and end dates, along with start and end times. Products can have a fixed price a price range. Price is in the currency of the country that the listing is from.
There is plenty of room for descriptions with 1500 characters allowed.
How many views, and how many clicks throughs on your buttons is visible at the bottom of every post. Sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook and Email are included along with easy links for you to copy and paste where you chose to.
The info section is where you can update your address and business hours. There is also a section for holiday hours or closures. Google will quite often email you to remind you to put in your holiday hours if you forget.
This is also where you put in your service areas, phone number, website, opening date, a short description of the business and can add highlights (women-led, veteran-owned, wheelchair access, etc). There is also the option to chose a handle for your business along the lines of a Twitter handle.
You can view your listing on maps or search from here (although you need to view it incognito or in a browser where you are not logged into your google account to see how it appears to others).
Many of the changes you make may need to be reviewed first, but this usually only takes a few days. You can also close or remove the business listing from here.
This is where the real fun starts. You can view a breakdown of your statistics for your business listing.
First Google breaks down how customers search for your business. Direct refers to those customers who searched for your business by name. Discovery refers to those that found your listing by searching for a category, service or product. Branded are those that found your company by searching for a brand related to your business.
All these details are presented in a circle graph that you can click on to reveal more information about each section (see pic below). Google also prompts you with actions to take to increase your visibility and visits to your website.
The reviews you have received have their own section. You can reply to reviews from here, and if you have the Google My Business app, it will prompt you to do so.
Google has a messaging system that customers can use to message you directly from your Google My Business listing. To use this service, you need to have the app installed.
The ability to message a business directly from the search page, especially for customers on a mobile device is extremely convenient and may prove the deciding factor on which business listing they chose to contact.
As you would expect, the photos section is where you can upload photos, but also videos. The photo section is broken down into various sections:
- By Owner
- By Customer
- At work
This looks to be a new feature and not available in all regions or for all business categories. There are quite a number of different scheduling or reservation apps that can be integrated with your Google My Business listing. These seem particularly targeted toward restaurants, hotels and ticket sellers.
This is very similar to the product section you can use in the Posts section of the listing. The difference between the two is that you can separate your product listings into categories, making it quicker and easier for customers to find what they want.
If your business offers services, you can list them here. The service categories you offer will need to be selected from those that Google gives you to select from. You can, however, add your custom services under the categories.
Both the products (beta) and Services sections seem to be determined by your business category and may not be available to all businesses.
Google takes all the information you have provided, along with your customer reviews and mocks up a website for you. You can choose to publish the website or not.
For those that do publish the website, you can edit it to some degree. The website address is a sub-domain (https://your-business.business.site) but you can opt to purchase a domain name and I assume attach it to the website
This lists the primary owner of the listing along with any managers or site managers. Other owners can be added to the listing, but there must always be a primary owner. If the primary owner wishes to remove themselves from the listing they must transfer the primary ownership to another user.
Managers have most of the same capabilities as owners but cannot remove a listing or add other users. Site managers have fewer capabilities than managers but can be upgraded. More information regarding users can be found here.
Create an Ad
Clicking on this link will take you to Google Ads where you can set up or renew a Google ad.
Add new location
This is where you set-up any new listings connected to your google account.
If you have more than one Google My Business listing attached to your google account, they will all be listed here. You see the verification status of all listings and enter verification codes for them.
Reviews for all the listings can be managed from this section. You can reply to reviews, as well as delete or edit your replies. You can also flag as inappropriate any review that you don’t agree with.
This is where you can view and manage link requests from other Google products, such as AdWords or Merchant Center.
This is where you select your email settings for what you want to hear from Google about your listing.
This is the help section from Google to do with the business listings.
Where to from here?
If you have a Google My Business listing you can log into marketingkit.withgoogle.com which is well worth checking out. You can download window stickers to promote your Google business listing (Follow us on Google, Review us on Google, Book with us on Google).
Google takes your reviews and fashions social media posts for you to share in various ways, including on your Google My Business listing.
Rather have someone else look after it for you?
So, that’s Google My Business. It is an excellent tool to manage and promote your business online. For those that prefer to have someone else look after their listing, I offer a Google My Business Set-up service.