How to Create and Optimize Your Google My Business Account
Updated: Aug 17, 2021
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How many times have you searched for a business online and found yourself frustrated because the information about them is outdated or incorrect? The problem might not be that people are simply trying to find your company, but instead that they can't find it at all! One way to avoid this problem is by creating and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) account.
What is a GMB?
Google My Business accounts are a great way to stay competitive and while "On average, word-of-mouth...is responsible for 13% of all sales," (Semrush, 2021) where do you think the people spreading the great service learned about a particular business in the first place? The answer is likely Google.
As you probably already know, Google is the number one search engine and the first place 97% of people go when looking for a local service in their area (Hubspot, 2021). Having a GMB listing is like having a supercharged virtual business card at the fingertips of anyone in need of a service(s) your business provides. When that business card is designed and developed optimally it will potentially be one of the first businesses customers see!
Having a Google map listing and business account is vital in surviving and thriving as a local business, but you need to do more than just create an account if you want it to be effective. In this blog post, we will discuss the crucial steps in taking advantage of all of the benefits of having an optimized GMB account in order to rank in the "map pack" and drive traffic to your business.
What are the benefits to having a GMB account?
Google My Business offers a plethora of benefits from connecting with customers to promoting your business. Here are a list of the most dominant benefits:
Your business will be discoverable
Improves local SEO
Builds trust with customers
Keeps customers informed
Provides a way to learn about your customers
Free advertising (or not, if you choose)
What types of businesses qualify for a GMB listing?
To have a Google My Business account, Google requires that businesses either have a physical location where customers are able to visit, or are able to travel to the customer's locations.
What is the Google “map pack” and what is so specia l about it?
Landing in the Google map pack should be the goal for every business owner. It is the term used to describe the top ranked businesses within a location based search. Specifically, the map pack is the top three businesses that show up on the main search page, however, making it to the top 3-5 listings, or even on the first page is a great place to be when considering that 75% of people never scroll past the first page (Intergrowth, 2021)!
Now what you've all been waiting for...
How to Create and Optimize Your Google My Business Account
Here are a couple of MUSTS you need to have before setting up your GMB listing.
A Google account
Name, address (physical & email), phone number (NAP)
P.O. boxes will not work
You need a physical address to send a verification postcard to, however, if you do not have a physical business address, that is okay, as long as you travel to your clients/customers to provide service.
Step 1: Create a GMB Account Profile (listing)
*As you go through each of these steps, do not stress, you can always go back and fill in the information you were unsure of.
Go to ⇒ https://business.google.com/create or simply type in "Google My Business" and select the first search result.
Sign into your Google account
Fill in your business name
Fill in your business category (you can add more categories or change this all together later, just type in the most relevant category for now).
Location (physical or not)
If you have a physical location where customers can visit, select “yes”
If you do not have a physical address (if you go to customers homes or businesses, or you are a mobile service) select “no” and you will be able to enter your service area(s).
6. Enter contact details
If you do not have a website...GET ONE. Google offers a low cost or free website through your GMB listing, but I highly recommend you only use this as another form of online real estate, NOT your business website.
Without a website not only do you look spammy, but you also appear not as credible and will not get as much traffic.
7. Enter a valid mailing address
This is very important and necessary for you to verify your business
After you enter your valid mailing address where you can receive mail (a P.O. box will not be accepted), a postcard will be sent to the address with a personalized code that you will use to verify your business from your GMB profile. The postcard generally takes 5-7 business days.
8. Business Hours
9. Business description
You have 750 characters, so make them count!
Include keywords that describe the services you provide and what sets you apart from your competitors.
Do not repeat your NAP information
Write in a natural flow - Google may flag you if it appears that a robot wrote the description.
Do not insert links or URLs
Do not promote or pitch anything in your description
Here is a link to exactly what Google recommends ⇒ https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en
It is highly recommended that you add no less than 10 photos
Geotagged photos will only help your local SEO, I use GeoImgr to do this.
Insert at least one video
Update content regularly by adding new images and videos
11. Claim $100 in Free Advertising
I would simply skip this for now, as you can always use this later.
CONGRATULATIONS, you just created your GMB listing and are one step closer to ranking in the map pack!
Step 2: Fine Tuning your GMB Account
On the left side of your GMB profile page you will see a navigation menu, start from the top and work your way down, double checking that everything you have entered is correct.
If you need to add more business categories, you are able to do this under the “Info” tab.
Next, go to the photos tab and add your business logo, more photos if you have them, and make sure you have at least one video. *TIP, adding photos of your team members is a great way to show your legitimacy and make people feel more comfortable, knowing who will potentially be in their home.
After you have added what you need and checked all of your information, go to the “Website” tab and build a simple one page website by selecting from one of the themes that Google provides. *This is totally free and totally optional, but I highly recommended taking advantage of the free local SEO opportunity.
If you have anyone else who may need access to your GMB, you can add them from the “Users” section.
Step 3: How to Use Your GMB to get Customers
Probably the most beneficial part of having a VERIFIED GMB profile is your ability to get reviews and engage with potential and current customers.
Under the “Reviews” tab on your GMB profile you are able to not only see the reviews coming in, but also respond to them.
One really great feature is having the ability to share a direct link with customers to leave reviews.
Simply go to the “Get more reviews” card from your Home page, click the button “share review form” and a popup will appear.
In the popup, select the button “share via email.” Then, copy and paste the link wherever you would like your customers to receive it (email, text message, FB message) or simply share it on your social media profiles.
As your business continues to rack up positive reviews and you consistently add and update your content, your business will make its way into the map pack!
Tips to Consider
If you want to ensure that you rank in the map pack, hire a professional to create and manage your business’s reputation. This way you will have a review obtaining system in place, along with a way to navigate and repair negative reviews, and get your business accurately listed on numerous online local business directories such as Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Thumbtack, Yellowpages, etc.
At some point you are destined to find yourself in need of GMB support, unfortunately, it is not always easy to get help from Google when you need it. Bookmark this page to be able to quickly navigate to their GMB support page ⇒ https://support.google.com/business/gethelp
Make sure that all of your links ar accurate and you have a business website, otherwise, you look spamming and will get much less traffic.
DO NOT create your GMB profile and listing and walk away from it! This is a sure way to land your business listing in the boodocks of the maps. If this is your plan, just stop while you are ahead and don't even list your business. Seriously.
Alright so here is the thing... People are no longer flipping open the Yellow Pages to find local businesses to serve them, they are using Google. If that alone is not reason enough to get your business listed on Google, then I do not know what is.
Whether you are looking for foot or web traffic, Google is the place to start. Having a Google My Business account that is optimized with current information and fresh content is the best FREE way to get customers.
If for some reason you are still not convinced or you are scratching your head on how to accomplish creating and optimizing a Google My Business Account, check out this video by Google or contact Finn Local Marketing and I will walk you through step-by-step FOR FREE on how to do this. Yep, I said it, I will help you for FREE, that is how important this step is in owning a business.
Google is king of search, so get listed in Maps, or suffer the consequences of becoming irrelevant.
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Check out my YouTube channel where I go over "How Create and Optimize Your Google My Business Account" in detail.
Contact Finn Local Marketing to optimize your Google My Business listing and help you get ranked in the map pack!
Book a FREE brand strategy with Finn HERE.
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"There are three types of people, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who are wondering what just happened."