What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free service offered by Google which allows you to present business information on the Google Search Engine Results Pages. It allows you to manage your business name, address and phone number, set opening hours, add photos and manage the reviews your customers leave behind. You can even publish a link to book appointments.
It is particularly important for businesses which provide products or services in their local community. In fact, according to Moz’ Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, Google My Business is the biggest driver of local SEO success.
You can find the Google My Business information by searching for the name of your company and the city or town you’re located in. Below the example for “Mawazo Marketing Burlington”:
How To Set Up A Google My Business Account
If you’re just getting started with your business, then setting up a Google My Business account is easy. You do it from the Google My Business page. Follow the instructions to set up an account and claim your business. Google will send a postcard in the mail to verify that the address is correct. After verification you can manage the information in your account, and get regular statistics sent from Google to show how many people searched your company, clicked for directions etc.
Claim An Existing Google My Business Account
For most companies, however, a Google My Business account will already exist. It may have been set up in one of the predecessors of Google, such as Google Places. Also, Google is constantly looking for information on the internet to present to its users, so chances are that your business already has an account. Just search for the name of your company and the city or town you’re located in, and you’ll find the Google My Business information next to the search results.
If the account has already been claimed by your company, then you may be able to log into the account. If someone else has claimed the account, then you’ll need to take steps to claim it back. Google has provided extensive help pages for that. You can find the relevant information under “fix issue”. Alternatively, you can use Google’s phone support to quickly solve the problem.
In many cases, the account will not have been claimed yet. You will see the message “Own this business?”. Simply click on the link and follow the steps to claim the account for your business.
Sometimes you’ll find that your business has duplicate listings. It’s important to remove the duplicate listings, and make sure that there is just one, with the correct information about your company. Here is Google’s help page for duplicate Google My Business listings.
Editing your Google My Business Listing
When you have established access to your listing, then you can make changes to the information. The best way to do this is to open Chrome, sign in to your Google Account using your Gmail address and password, then click on the Google Apps square
Then scroll down to “My Business” (you may need to click “More” if it’s not in the list)
You’ll now see a dashboard which allows you to edit all elements of your listing. Below you see the example for Mawazo Marketing in Burlington:
Name, Address, and Phone Number
Getting the name of your company, the address and phone number correctly represented on Google is the most important step you can take to establish a local online presence for your company. Make sure that this information is 100% correct, and spelled exactly the same as on your website and anywhere else on the internet (e.g. on your Facebook profile, directories such as YellowPages and Yelp, etc.).
Optimizing Your Listing
The next step is to optimize your listing. Google offers a lot of functionality, and is constantly adding more:
- Make sure the category your business is listed under is as specific as possible. For example, should your business be listed as “accountant”, “accounting firm”, “auditor” or “chartered accountant”? You can list a primary category, and several additional categories.
- Add relevant images of your company, your products and services, events etc.
- Check your opening hours and make sure they are correct. Add special opening hours e.g. during vacation period or public holidays.
- Create posts on your listing, e.g. to announce new products, events, workshops etc. This is a new feature and gives you a good opportunity for some additional free marketing for your company!
- Messaging allows you to publish a mobile phone number that can receive SMS to communicate with your clients
- Appointment URL allows your visitors to book an appointment in your system.
The Reviews menu allows you to reply to reviews that your customers have put on Google for your business. It also lets you flag individual reviews as ‘inappropriate’, but make sure you do this according to guidelines for inappropriate reviews.
Insights give you statistics and useful information on how your visitors engage with the content on your listing, and how that compares to your competition.
As you can see optimizing your Google My Business listing isn’t very complex, but it can be time-consuming. It may simply not be the best use of your time. If you’re interested in having your listing set up for you, then let us know. Here at Mawazo Marketing we are happy to help small and medium sized businesses in Burlington, Hamilton, Oakville and surrounding towns to optimize their web presence. Just send an email to email@example.com or call us at +1 (888) 612 4356.