When creating a digital strategy, every business owner starts with the same question: How do I get my business on Google? Typically it’s quickly followed by “how do I rank higher than my competitors on Google Search?” While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for these questions, it’s crucial to hit some key points if you want to stand above the rest of the digital noise.
By creating a Google My Business listing, you’re allowing your business to be shown on both Search and Maps. This directs potential customers toward your online presence, as well as your physical one. Both Search and Maps are highly competitive aspects of your SEO strategy that don’t focus on your website.
What is Google My Business?
What is Google My Business, anyways? GMB is an amazing (and free!) tool that every local business owner should be swinging into full force with when it comes to creating a digital strategy. It adds massive value when all of its features are used properly.
Need help? Click here for more details on how a Google My Business listing can help you beat the competition!
A business’s Google My Business listing allows the business owner to control how their company information is displayed across the platform, such as in Search or Maps.
Setting up a Google My Business listing
Now that you understand the importance of having a GMB listing, we’ll walk you through how to set up your own:
1. Create a new listing
If you’re adopting a new digital strategy to an older business that’s already established in your community, it’s very likely that a GMB listing already exists for your company.
Not sure if one exists? Do a quick Google Search and see if one comes up!
If your company is newer, you may need to create one from scratch. This requires you to set up an account and fill out basic information such as your legal business name, address, phone number, website, and some other details.
2. Add your business location, contact details, and description
The more details you give to your customers, the less guesswork is involved, and the odds of them visiting your establishment increase significantly.
Adding in your physical location, service area details, goods and services offered, contact information, and business description filled with rich keywords will all help your listing reach the highest branch in the canopy.
3. Add your operating hours
Nothing can be more frustrating to potential and existing customers than getting incorrect operating hours. Having a customer show up banging on your storefront’s door when you’re closed because Google said you’re open is enough to make any sane person ape out!
Keep your operating hours updated, and take advantage of Google’s temporary hours function for holidays or special circumstances. This keeps everyone in-the-loop and happy!
4. Verify and submit your information
Verifying your business listing is one of the most important (and last) steps you need to take when setting up your profile for the first time. After you carefully fill out the basic information on your profile, you need to submit it to Google to review and coordinate with them to assure their team you are who you say you are.
If your business operates as in-person only, you’ll need to verify your business. Many business owners are only given the option to verify their business through a postcard in the mail. In that situation, Google send you a one-time use code to enter into your account, and you’re all set! However, some owners report also seeing the option to verify via a phone call, text, or email.
If you offer online or hybrid (both in-person and online) services, you may get more flexibility about how you’d like to verify your profile. You may be able to choose between a text, email, phone call, or postcard to make your profile go live.
Optimize your listing
After verifying your listing, it’s time to take your profile to the next level by reaching for that next branch. You can optimize your Google My Business profile on both Search and Maps by adding photos, sharing new Posts, running contests, soliciting reviews, and more. This gives potential customers a better feel for your business and keeps them up-to-date on the latest news and promotions.
Want to learn more? Click here to read about best practices for Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing.
Nailing down a consistent strategy for all of these features can be challenging to do alone. However, it’s one of the most rewarding in terms of ROI! Learn more about how an effective GMB profile can cut through the competition and increase sales leads with minimal work.