So you’ve got your business up an running, and you’d like to start creating your Google My Business (GMB) listing so customers can find you when searching online.
Unfortunately, you just don’t have the time to sit down and figure out exactly what you need to include in your business listing. There is just too much information to fill out, photos to add, and services to include that it makes you want to pull your hair out before you even get started.
That’s why we’ve created easy to follow steps (pictures included!) that will show you how to create the perfect Google My Business listing.
Whether it’s a DIY journey, or you’re working with a local SEO company, the first step in local SEO is to claim and verify your GMB listing. Having an optimized GMB can help you improve the chances of your local business showing up in Google’s Local Map Pack, Google Maps, and the organic rankings as well.
GMB gives business owners more control over how their business appears to customers searching online. Google My Business lets business owners speak directly to potential customers before ever having an actual conversation with them.
Before I dive into how you can create the perfect Google My Business listing, I’d like to share with you how leaving your GMB listing unverified can damage your online presence and diminish your chances of showing up at the top of the Google Local Map Pack.
If you leave your GMB unverified, then anyone can claim your business as their own. When a search user clicks on your unverified GMB listing, they have the option to click on “own this business?” (below) which then allows the user to begin the verification process for the listing.
*If this is your business, you need to claim it as soon as possible!*
Obviously, you don’t want someone else to control your GMB listing because they’ll have access to all of the data associated with your Google My Business, they can make edits to the listing as they please, and they can complete the process of verifying the listing and obtaining ownership (below).
Another reason why you shouldn’t leave your listing unclaimed is because unverified listings usually do not rank in the top 3 of the Google Map Section.
Why is that?
Because Google doesn’t trust listings that are not claimed or fully optimize. Google has to provide users with a great search experience, and if they don’t, people will use another search engine to find what they’re looking for.
You must build trust with Google in order for your rankings to improve. Meaning, you must complete your Google My Business listing and fully optimize it to show Google that your business is credible.
Now that you understand the importance of verifying your business with Google, you’re now ready to create the perfect Google My Business listing.
1. Create Your Free Listing
You can create your free GMB by going to https://google.com/business
Click on “manage now” and you can create your listing with your gmail account, or your domain associated with your website. You’ll begin by filling out your business name, address, and phone number.
If you do not have a brick and mortar store, and you provide services at your customers location, then select the “hide my address” option as well as the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” option. This will simply hide your address in the listing to people who come across it when searching.
If you do operate a business without a brick and mortar, you can select the cities that you provide your services in, or the radius in miles. This is important because one of the main factors that goes into ranking in the top 3 of Google’s Local Map Section is your listing’s relevancy to the search users’ location. If you don’t include this information in your listing, then you might not pick up on traffic from nearby cities that people are searching from.
Next, you’ll add your business category for the listing. This is telling Google the type of customers you’d expect from people conducting a search. This is your primary category, so choose what you’d like your company to be known for.
After you select your category, you will input your business phone number and website. Google offers a free website, but we don’t recommend using it. If you don’t have a website, but would like to get one designed, you can always contact our web designers.
Once you have submitted your phone number and website, the last thing left for you to do is send the postcard to the address you used when creating your Google My Business listing. When you request the postcard, it’s best to type in the name of the person that expects the postcard, that way it doesn’t get lost in the mail or tossed out by mistake when it arrives. The postcard typically arrives within 5 days.
Lastly, Keep in mind of Google’s guidelines when submitting your name, address, and phone number. People who do not comply with the guidelines will be at risk of having their listing suspended and unable to complete the verification process.
Once you have requested the postcard, DO NOT edit the Name, Address, or Phone number. If you do, Google may delay the time it takes to receive your postcard, or will suspend your listing altogether.
You can follow the remaining steps while waiting for your postcard to arrive.
2. Add Business Categories
When you first created the Google My Business listing, you had the option to add one category for your business. Now that you are in the dashboard of Google My Business, you can actually add multiple categories to the business listing.
Select “info” on the dashboard and it will take you to where you can edit the information of your business listing.
From there, you’ll see your category just below the name of the business. Click on the pencil Icon to edit your categories. Not all niches are listed in the category section, so you’ll have to do some typing to see what type of categories pop up.
It’s best practice to add up to 3 different categories, if possible, to your business listing. Anything more than three might come across as spammy and could actually result in Google manually reviewing your listing or suspending it altogether for over optimization.
The reason why multiple categories are important is because your listing can show up for different search terms that are related to the categories that you select.
For example, if someone were to search for “Website design Salinas” our Google My Business listing would show up at the top with our category as “Website Designer”
Now, if the same person were to search for “Marketing company Salinas” our GMB’s category would be listed as “Marketing Agency”
Having your categories optimized correctly is a huge bonus and can help you reach a wider audience that is searching for your products and/or services.
3. Business Hours
The next step is to complete your business hours of operation. You can select the days and times that you are open. If you are a business that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then you’ll want to select “open” for each day, and you can choose “24 hours”.
There is also an option to confirm “Special Hours” which is right below the hours of operation. Here you will be able to confirm your hours of operation for important holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and so on. Confirming these hours are important because even though they are national holidays, people still search for local businesses, and Google wants to make sure everything is up to date when providing results.
It’s important that you do not leave this section blank, or any section blank for that matter, because you want to give Google as much information as possible so they can provide the search user with the best experience.
If you didn’t initially add your website when setting up your GMB, then you can do that now.
Oh, and make sure the link is actually connected to your website.
I know, common sense, right?
I thought so too until I came across a few listings that had a link to a website that was not the business owners. I’m not even sure why…or how this would even happen, but it does. So again, make sure the link is directed to your own website!
5. Add Services
Here you can list your services that you provide, or for those managing a listing for a restaurant, you can add your menu items in this section of the GMB listing. You can group your items or services into different sections to keep yourself organized.
When people come across your Google listing on a mobile device, they’ll be able to see your list of services (or menu items for restaurants) under the “menu” or “services” tab and they can even see your prices.
When completing this part of the GMB, it’s best practice to include important keywords in the description of each service. The reason why you want to include these main keywords is because you want to consistently tell Google exactly what you do, and what you’re trying to rank for.
The service section is a great way to display what type of work you do and for what price. Customers can get a quick glance of services that are offered, which may help them make a decision about what business they call.
6. Add Your Description
This is one of the most important elements to the GMB listing that business owners often leave incomplete. An incomplete description is a huge SEO mistake that can hurt your GMB ranking in the long run.
You have 750 characters in the description to briefly describe your business and what you do. It’s another opportunity for you to include the main keywords that you want your listing to rank for at the top of the Google Maps.
For example, as an SEO/digital marketing company that specializes in SEO & website design, our description looks a little something like this:
7. Add Photos
According to Google, business listings with photos get 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
Not sure where to begin when adding photos?
Start with the cover photo. This is the most important photo of the listing because it’s the one that’s featured front and center when someone comes across your google listing.
Next, you’ll want to select a profile photo. The profile photo is what Google will use when you respond to a review or make a post.
You can also post a video of your business. Videos are a great way to capture the customers attention and really show off your business.
Your video must be up to 30 seconds long, 10mb, and have a resolution of 720p or higher.
If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to confidently create the perfect Google My Business listing for your business.
Having this information completely filled out won’t guarantee that your listing will show up in the top 3 of the Google Map Section, but it lays the foundation for eventually getting there. What you’ll need is a local SEO campaign to help get you in the elusive top 3 Google map section.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know! If you’d like to know more about our local SEO campaigns, contact us at 831-777-3838, or you can request more information.
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