Google My Business is a free tool that can enhance your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts, ensuring you are even more visible to your customers. It allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps, as part of a local SEO strategy.
Local SEO is the process of optimising your online presence to attract customers from local searches; in other words, people who are looking for a local business to help with their query.
Google My Business is something every business can take advantage of. It’s very easy to set up and manage once you know how.
How does Google My Business work?
Your Google My Business listing is essentially an online profile for your business, with all the important information in one place such as your location, opening hours, reviews and photos.
You need to create an account and claim your business, which must also be verified, before you can begin to create your listing. Once your listing is complete, it will show up in Google’s Knowledge Panel, which is on the right-hand side of desktop search results on Google.
If someone in the same area as your business searches for your services or even business name, Google will display your Google My Business information at the side of the search results.
What does Google My Business do?
Google My Business is home to a number of different features as well as important contact information. It pulls everything together in one neat listing that shows customers exactly what they need to know about your business.
You are able to manage the information shown, read and respond to customer reviews as well as adding photos of your services or business to provide as much information as you see fit. If your website uses integrated scheduling software, then you can also utilise the Booking feature which allows customers to book an appointment directly through your Google My Business listing. Less clicks can lead to more appointments!
You can manage your information online, or there is a Google My Business app that is available on both Android and iOS.
Setting up Google My Business
There are a number of simple steps to set up Google My Business. First, you need to log into your Google account, or create one if you don’t already have one, then go to google.com/business and select the ‘Start Now’ button.
It will ask you for the name of your business, your business’ physical address and your business category. It is important to be as accurate as possible, as this essentially tells Google what type of customers should see your listing. You will then be required to enter your phone number or website.
The next step in setting up Google My Business is to verify your business listing. There are a number of different ways to do this, and it will give you the option to choose. You can verify your listing by traditional methods such as a postcard, or you can do it by email or phone.
Once you have verified your business, you can begin to fill out more information for your listing. Provide as much information as you can, including things like disabled access and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as the more obvious things.
Anyone can suggest a change or make an edit to your business listing. This is because Google encourages your customers, or those who are familiar with your business, to answer questions and provide additional information. It helps to create an online community with user-generated content.
For this reason, it is important that you log in and check your Google My Business listing regularly to make sure all information is correct.