If you want to place your company in the Google search results for free and increase your local visibility in search engine rankings, there's no getting around Google My Business. This service doesn't just help to manage company information such as location, opening hours, telephone numbers, website and much more in a simple way. You can also use it to attract new customers.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free Google service that allows you to present your business in Google Search and other Google services such as Google Maps.
The big advantage of Google My Business is that your company is displayed in local search queries with lots of additional information - including telephone number, opening hours, address, photos, ratings - and potential customer gets a first impression of you and your company.
You can think of Google My Business as a kind of business directory listing. You should definitely use it to place your company and your services on the local market. Because with a listing in this Google service, you can achieve a wide reach for free.
You need to remember, however, to keep your company information up to date. Nothing is more annoying for a potential customer than when they try to contact you via a phone number or address that is no longer valid. In fact, it's really easy to change your contact information at any time via the Google My Business dashboard or app.
This is how a company's entry can appear in the Google search results:
The same company's entry on Google Maps:
The main benefits of Google My Business
As you've probably noticed when reading this, Google My Business offers a lot of advantages for you and your business. You should definitely take advantage of the service if you want to compete with your competitors.
The advantages of Google My Business at a glance:
- Increased visibility in local search results
- Central management of company information via the dashboard
- Traffic monitoring (Google Insights)
- Control your company's information (opening hours, address, phone, website...)
- Use images for a more personalized presentation of your company
- Interaction with customers by means of the reviews
- New customer acquisition
Setting up a Google My Business listing for your company
I'd like to share my best practices on how to easily create a Google My Business listing for your busines below. All you need to do is follow these two simple steps:
1. Create a Google Account or sign in with an existing one
The first step is to create a Google Account. If you already have one, you can sign up right here. Before you can access all the features of Google My Business and get to the dashboard, you'll need to provide some information about your business.
Among other things, Google asks you for your company's name, your location, address, business category and contact details. This is the information that will be displayed in the search results.
2. Confirm your details: postcard, call or SMS
So Google can be sure you're the owner of the company and the location information is correct, you'll need to verify yourself via a code. To do this, Google will send you a postcard with a confirmation code within a few days/weeks after you have registered and submitted your details.
Your company will not appear in the search results until you receive the code. Until then, you can already be busy posting information such as photos, products, events and more on Google My Business. Once you receive the postcard, you'll need to enter the verification code via the Google My Business dashboard. This confirms the location and ownership of your business.
It may take another few days until your company appears in Google search results and Google Maps with all the information you've entered.
Verification is also possible by call or SMS. However, this function is only available to selected companies.
The Google My Business dashboard
Now you've successfully signed up for Google My Business, you'll be taken to the dashboard. Here you can manage all kinds of information about your company. In other words, if something changes to the information you've already entered, you should adjust it here as quickly as possible.
In the left menu bar, you'll see all the options available to you. In the following, I'll explain the settings for each menu item.
Homepage / dashboard
You can design the Google My Business homepage or dashboard the way you want. On the dashboard itself, you'll find some shortcuts in the "main window" as well as useful information. You can also use the left menu bar to access every single function available to you in Google My Business.
In the articles, you can regularly inform your users and potential customers about news and save, for example, special offers, promotions, vouchers or even products. These are then displayed in Google search results as well as Google Maps.
Under the item "Info" basic data about your company is stored. You can edit and manage this data at any time. This includes information such as the address, opening hours, website, telephone number, appointments and much more.
The item "Statistics" is incredibly interesting for every company that registers on Google My Business. Because here you can view statistics on your business listing.
This means, among other things, you can see exactly which customers find your listing or how they search for it. This information will help you take steps to make your Google My Business listing more efficient.
Under the option "Reviews" you can see all reviews from customers who've already used your product or services. This will help you improve your business, stay in contact with your customers and exchange information with them.
With the Google My Business app, customers can send you messages directly to your smartphone via SMS. The big advantage: you can reply to these customers immediately and in the shortest possible time.
Under the item "Text Messages" you can easily set up this service and view your text messages.
You should always use the "Photos" function in your Google My Business account. Here you can upload photos or videos of your company and give potential customers who come across your listing via Google a first impression.
Whether it's a logo, cover, videos, interior, exterior, workplace or team - your own photos give your Google corporate identity a personal touch.
Using the "Products" option, you can easily add products to your Google My Business listing that you sell and have in stock. These are also displayed in Google search results and can significantly increase the number of customer visits.
As with products, under "Services" you can also enter the services your company offers. You can add these using the existing text field and confirm by clicking the "Apply" button.
The most essential thing within your Google My Business listing is, of course, an existing website. If you already have your own website, you can add it by clicking on "Info".
If you don't have your own website yet, Google My Business allows you to create your first own website in a few steps via the "Website" function. A simple and user-friendly editor is available to create your own first website - even if you're a beginner.
The item "Users" is only interesting for you if you want to share your Google My Business account with other users. This makes sense, for example, if you have employees who regularly need to enter data in Google My Business.
You can use the "Place ads" button to place AdWords campaigns for your company. This means you can promote your business through pay-per-click advertising in Google search results.
Login for a user defined Gmail account
The "Sign up for a custom Gmail account" feature is especially useful if you need to have your own email address or domain for your website, for example.
In the so-called G Suite service from Google, you can use other Google services for your business.
Add a new location
Does your company have multiple locations or branches? You can enter these under the option "Add new location".
Under "Manage Locations" you can manage and edit all your stored locations and view the Google location verification.
You have the option to connect your Google My Business account with other Google services, such as Google AdWords or the Merchant Center. If you'd like to view your linked accounts or remove links, you can do so at any time by selecting the "Linked Accounts" option.
In the "Settings" feature, you can choose which actions within your Google My Business account you'd like to be notified about by email. You can choose from a variety of options here.
You can access the Google Help Center under "Support" and search for problems and solutions if you get stuck with Google My Business.
Six tips for using Google My Business
1. Always keep company information up to date
As mentioned in the article, you should always keep your business data in Google My Business up to date. You need to be aware that your business listing can be found by new potential customers virtually every day.
If your telephone number, address or opening hours are no longer correct it won't leave a good impression on new customers.
2. Add detailed company description
Take advantage of the possibilities offered by Google My Business and add a detailed description of your company to your listing. This will also be displayed in the Google search results.
With the help of the company description you can give potential customers a first impression of you and your company in 750 characters.
3. Use images on your Google My Business listing
A picture is worth a thousand words - you certainly know the saying and, from experience, it's true. You can write as many positive things about your company as you like. But if you don't include any pictures or videos, most potential customers will find it difficult to get a "picture" of you and your company.
So take advantage of what Google My Business offers you in this area:
- Cover image
- Interior shots
- Outdoor shots
- In the workplace
4. Communicate with customers about reviews
As you probably already know, customers can rate your company directly from reviews in Google. They can tell you and other customers how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with your product or service. Use this feature to get in touch with your customers and respond to the review they leave. Both positive and negative feedback can give you valuable input for improving and developing your product or service.
5. Use posts to inform customers about current events
The post function is a kind of news area that helps you let your customers know about, for example, current offers, events, products or vouchers. This feature should also be an essential part of your Google My Business listing. Especially if you run a local business.
If potential customers are looking for you or your type of product or service, they can see immediately what current offers or promotions they can receive from you.
6. The Google My Business app
In the Google My Business App, you can view and edit all company information at any time while on the road. You can also receive current customer queries directly on your smartphone and respond to them immediately.
The are no disadvantages for companies with Google My Business - in fact, the service only has advantages. The free reach this Google service provides you with means you benefit not only from local search queries. The Google business posts can also help you win new customers.
I hope the article has shown you how easy it is to create a Google My Business account and what opportunities this service offers for you and your business.
What is your experience with Google My Business? Have you already benefited from your entry? Were you already aware of all the features listed above? I'd love to hear your comments!
Contributed image: Richard Balog | Unsplash