How to set up a Google My Business profile
Our comprehensive step by step guide on how to set up and manage GMB profiles.
What is Google my Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to add your business on Google Maps. It is a virtual snapshot of your company. An opportunity to interact with customers. And overall, Google my Business is indispensable for local search engine optimisation.
We at Green Shoot Marketing encourage all our clients to take advantage of Google My Business to support the digital marketing mix and more importantly to increase sales. Feel free to have a look at our blog post on benefits and winning new customers with GMB.
But first things first. If you haven’t set up your Google My Business profile just yet, you came to the right place. We hear from many small business clients that setting up a new account correctly or claiming your business address from others can be a frustrating task. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process step by step.
How to set up a Google My Business Account
There are two possible scenarios when you start working with Google My Business: Either your business already exists on Google and you need to claim ownership, or you have to start the process from scratch.
Either way, you’ll have to begin your journey at business.google.com/create. Start by typing in the name and choosing it from the drop-down menu. If nothing pops up, you can begin to add your business to Google.
Scenario 1 – Claiming your business
After choosing the right address from the drop-down menu, you might be able to simply claim ownership of the business location. In other cases, you will have to get in touch with the current manager. You will then see the window below.
If you recognise the email address, you are lucky and can contact the owner directly or just log in with your other email account (don’t worry – it happens to the best of us). Alternatively, you can reach out via Google but you might have to wait a few days for an answer.
Scenario 2 – Setting up a new Google listing
Your opportunity to start from square one. In our case, that is the business name. While there are many different articles on naming strategies to display your company higher in the search results, we recommend sticking to the basics. Unnecessary add-ons like locations might hurt your rankings in the long run. What’s more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to include SEO-friendly keywords further down in the process.
You will also choose a primary business category, where you should be as precise as possible. For example, opt for “beauty salon” instead of a simple “salon” to inform future customers and the Google algorithm correctly.
Then follows the final stage of adding your business to Google Maps: Linking an address to your location. It is in your best interest to use the complete physical address. Customers will request directions to visit you there and you will have to verify your GMB account by receiving a postcard to your location. Depending on where you live, this might take a few days.
How to manage a Google My Business Profile
Now that we are all on the same page, we can start working on increasing the online visibility of your profile. The greater the visibility, the more people will find your business. In order to achieve that, you should give as much information about your business as you can.
- General information
The info section is the heart of the Google My Business profile management. It answers all burning questions your customers might have before swinging by your location. This includes contact data, the regular opening hours and changes for holidays as well as relevant links to your website and booking page. If you own a restaurant, you can even add a menu and define the service areas for delivery.
- Categories & Services
The categories and service section is the first opportunity to optimise your profile for local searches by including relevant keywords. We recommend choosing additional categories and including all service areas of your business. The keywords you use here will influence your visibility in the search results. In other words, if you add “Manicures” to the offered services, your business can be listed for queries like “manicure near me”. These local search queries are most likely to attract new customers.
- Attributes and Highlights
This section is relevant for online visibility but also a chance to communicate your values. Among others, you can mark your business as women-led or LGBTQ-friendly and list information about wheelchair accessibility and unisex restrooms.
- From the business
Adding a business description requires some thought and a big cup of coffee. You only have 750 characters to sell your business and distinguish it from competitors. As parts of your text can get cut off, we recommend putting the most essential information in the first 250 characters. This is also an opportunity to include relevant keywords. Have a look at our keyword research blog, in case you are not entirely sure how to define the best keywords for your business.
- Ongoing tasks – Photos, Posts and Reviews
As soon as your business is verified, you’ll be able to take full advantage of all sections. This means regular picture updates and answering to reviews.
We also recommend scheduling weekly posts about offers, updates and events. These posts generally show a high interaction rate. You can give new customers a glimpse of the promotions you have to offer and even share the posts on social media for increased visibility. Make sure to include relevant keywords and even emojis in your posts to optimise your business for local search queries.
- Insights – seeing the fruits of your labour
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder: Is it all worth it? Have a look at the insights section to get an unphilosophical answer. There is an overview of the valuable actions customers took on your profile. Keep in mind that Google My Business is free, so you didn’t pay anything for these calls and visits. On this happy note, you have reached the end of this Google My Business blog post.
In need of a (printable) reminder of how to create a Google My Business profile? We have created a best practise quick guide to help you out. Download the pdf here.