“How can I improve my business's online presence?” This question is one of the most asked among local business owners. There is no better way for businesses to show up on local online searches than creating and optimizing a Google My Business account.
If you don’t know how to get your business on Google, then you’re truly missing out on a huge opportunity to drive potential customers from the #1 search engine in the world.
According to a study by BrightLocal, the average business is found in 157 direct searches and 852 discovery searches, averaging 1,009 searches per month.That's over a thousand potential customers!
When I first started, I didn’t know how to get my business on Google search pages correctly, nor did I know how to add my business to Google Maps. Thanks to my experience with Google My Business, I can now share with you what I did to claim my business on Google.
Before anything else, let me give you an overview of what GMB is all about.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business, or GMB for short, is a free platform Google offers business owners as an opportunity for their brand to show up in Google search results (you don't even need a website to have a GMB).
With GMB, you can have your business listed oftentimes above large national brands when people search for your services locally. Important details about your business can be easily displayed such as your contact info, reviews and your hours of operation.
Google has also introduced a new feature recently that allows you to publish a link to articles or any upcoming business events. When your business is listed in GMB, it will show up at the right-hand corner of the results pages on desktops while appearing at the top on mobile devices.
These are the various attributes that you can list on Google My Business:
Address: Business owners on GMB list the address of their business on the platform so that potential and existing customers can easily obtain directions leading to their location.
Category: The business categories you choose informs customers about your type of business and are used for search engine optimization purposes.
Description: The description of a business provides customers with an idea of what your brand can do for them. One example would be a restaurant that describes the type of cuisine they offer.
Hours: The hours of operation is important because it allows people to know when your business is available to be contacted.
Phone number: Providing the phone number to your business lets people pick up the phone and call if they have questions or urgent needs. It's provides your customers with added accessibility and convenience.
Questions and answers: Each GMB listing has an area where customers can pose questions and business owners can provide a response. This section provides a great opportunity to engage with customers while providing vital information to others looking for your service.
Reviews and ratings: One of the best ways to let potential customers and clients learn about your business is through reviews and ratings. These testimonials give people an idea of what they can expect from you and also how well you handle criticisms and complaints.
Website link: The link to your website is essential as it helps potential customers easily find all other information about you that GMB cannot provide (pricing, individual service details, communities served by you, etc.)
Benefits of Google My Business for Local Businesses
Getting listed on Google My Business offers many advantages for local businesses.
Here are some of the top benefits you can get when you choose to connect your brand with GMB.
It Improves Your Web Visibility
One of the main advantages of creating a GMB listing is to increase your company’s visibility on the web. Each time you Google a product or service, the first three items that are listed often are Google ads, followed by a map that has the local three-pack, and then the organic results.
What is this local three-pack, you ask? These are the top three businesses that can be found near the location of the searcher. What makes this truly beneficial for you is that potential customers get to end up looking at your business without even visiting your social media page or website.
Although there are various techniques that can help put businesses in this special category, setting up a listing in GMB is one of the best ways to significantly increase the chances of making it here.
When your business shows up in the local three-pack, you not only get to tap into potential revenue from Google, but you also get your brand placed ahead of organic search results.
It Provides Relevant Information to Potential Customers
Another benefit that you can get from having a GMB listing is that you get to share important details about your business with your potential customers. Information such as your business address, working hours, contact information, and website URL are the most common aspects people ask.
Besides that, you also can share updates, news, offers, announcements, and more with your consumers. These posts will show up on Google Search and Maps, allowing you to stay in touch with customers while keeping them updated.
Before you decide to post, you must first think about what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to drive awareness to a new product or service? Perhaps you want people to come to your physical shop? Answering these questions will help you in customizing your post based on your goal.
You should also ensure that these posts come with a call-to-action at the end, as this will compel people to take a desired action such as visiting your shop, purchasing an item, or calling your business.
It Helps You Respond to Queries from Potential Customers
Consider a scenario where a potential customer comes across your brand when browsing the search results. However, this person has a custom order, and they would want to know if you can handle it.
How can they reach out to you directly using Google’s search list? Keep in mind that the more steps you can remove in your customer’s buying journey, the better it will be for your business.
With Google’s messaging feature, your potential customers can send you a message directly straight from the search results page. This functionality will enable you to quickly respond to their inquiries in real time and help convert them into paying consumers.
You get to activate or turn off this messaging feature based on your preferences. Once you activate it, users who arrive at your page can see a “Message” button that they can click on to initiate a chat session.
You can respond to their messages using Google’s messaging app or through SMS. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be asking or giving personal details such as login credentials or credit card information.
Its Ability To Have Customer Reviews Boosts Brand Appeal
Perhaps the most influential factor that customers commonly assess before making a purchasing decision is the reviews they read. Most consumers today read online reviews first as it helps them evaluate the quality of a business and many of them select those with the best ratings.
With Google My Business, you can have customers review your brand and share their experiences for others to see. Not only do these ratings improve your chances of converting potential customers, but you also get feedback on the things you’re doing right or wrong.
How To Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Before you can benefit from a GMB listing, you first need to claim it. If you’re wondering “How do I get my business on Google?” then these are the steps to help you register your business on Google.
Step 1: Perform a search for your business on the Google search engine.
Step 2: From the right-hand side of your screen, select “Own this business?”
Step 3: Upon clicking the link, you’ll receive a prompt to sign in to your Gmail account. If you don’t have an account, you should create one to proceed.
Step 4: After signing in, you’ll be brought to a map where you can search for your business and identify its correct listing from there. If it doesn’t show up, you can click on the “Add Your Business” button and then input all the necessary details of your business.
Step 5: Make sure that all of the details you input are accurate. In case you need to make changes, you can select the “Verify Later” option.
Step 6: You will then be brought to your GBM page. You should start familiarizing yourself with the interface and tools provided by taking the tour.
Step 7: Select the method of verification and then follow the given instructions.
Step 8: When choosing to verify by mail, Google will send you a postcard that should arrive in one to two weeks. Once it arrives, follow the instructions to complete the verification.
Congratulations — you have now claimed your Google My Business listing!
The next stage that I would suggest is for you to start learning how to optimize your local business listing to ensure that it works flawlessly.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Once you’ve claimed your GMB listing, your next agenda is to ensure it’s optimized to be as effective as possible.
The following are several tips to consider when editing your Google My Business listing.
Publish Posts to Your GMB Listing
As I mentioned earlier, you can attract interest to your listing by adding posts to your GMB account. Such content will be displayed on Google search as well as the map results.
To add a post, you need to sign in to your GMB account and create a new one there. You’ll be able to provide a 300-word text, upload an image, or provide an event title including the start and end date.
Publishing posts on your GMB listing lets you share content, promote events, and encourage people to buy your products or services, which are all beneficial in optimizing your listing.
Ensure Your Description Is Correct
If you haven’t written a good description when you claimed your listing, now is the time to do it. Take time to create an enticing description, and try to add information that makes it relevant to local customers.
Since this description provides an overview of your business, it should incorporate related keywords as well. For instance, if you’re a pet product supplier in Chicago, you can use keywords such as “best pet product supplier in Chicago” or “affordable pet products in Chicago” to get started.
You want to make sure that you include two to three keywords that best describe your business to your potential customers.
Accumulate and Showcase Customer Reviews
If you wish to get a higher ranking in Google search and map results, then you should start gathering reviews from your customers. These testimonials operate as signals that let others know what they can expect from your business. Reviews also act as social proof that can help potential customers in making a purchasing decision.
One of the best ways to collect these reviews is to ask your customers for them. Identify which customers are satisfied with your product or service, and request a review.
You can make it easier on their part to supply you with a good review by setting up a template email beforehand. Just make sure that your email template is personalized as much as possible before sending.
Google My Business is indeed an excellent platform for local businesses today. That’s why I highly recommend that you set up and claim your GMB listing to make sure that your store, brand, or company is showing up in Google search results.
You should make sure that your business listing is detailed and updated as much as possible to help attract potential customers.
The great thing about Google My Business is that the entire process is straightforward. At first, I didn’t know how to put my business on Google. Once I did, I was able to leverage the benefits that a well-optimized GMB listing has to offer.
1. BrightLocal. Google My Business Insights Study – Benchmark Your Business’s GMB Insights. https://www.brightlocal.com/research/google-my-business-insights-study/