Google My Business 101
Google My Business (GMB), formerly known as Google Places for Business, is a free tool, offered by Google, that enables you to manage and optimize your “Business Profile” on Google.
You can display important information about your business, including the opening/closing times, contact details or a link to your website. Recently Google has also released a new feature allowing business to post a link to web articles or upcoming business events.
The listing is free but it should be regarded as a necessity by all businesses. Every business, whether it is strictly an ecommerce business or has a physical location, should set up a Google My Business page.
To better understand what Google My Business is and how it works, read our article answering, What is a Google My Business.
How GMB Will Grow Your Business
1. Google My Business is Free!
Let’s talk about the first benefit of Google My Business – it’s free. It doesn’t cost you anything, except the time it takes to set up and monitor your business page.
2. Improved SEO Page Ranking:
Google My Business focuses on local results, so you are only competing with other businesses in your immediate geographic area. You have a better chance at reaching the top of the search engine page results for your category and location.
3. Easily Found in Google Maps:
You can be easily found on Google Maps and the Google Maps App: When you allow your business listing to be found through relevant keywords on Google Maps, customers on the move who are looking for your service will be able to find you quickly.
4. Enhance Online Image:
You can help your prospective customers get to know you before they even step foot in the door.
Three Tips in Setting up a GMB Account
1) Carefully Select Your Images
For detailed information on what types of images to use, refer to Google’s article.
a) Types of photos you can post on your page:
i) You are allowed up to 10 images and 5 videos for free. You can pay for more.
ii) Your preferred image: Google decides which photo is displayed on Google Maps/Places, but you can let them know your preference. This should be a photo that is well representative of what your business sells (e.g., food for a restaurant).
iii) Profile picture: This is what is displayed as your profile picture for your Google+ business page. Use a photo that will help your customers recognize you. This should be different from your logo.
iv) Logo: Square-shaped logos display best.
v) Cover photo: This is the large photo at the top of your Google+ page. Use this to bring personality to your business page. This photo will be cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
vi) Additional photos to post: Add different photos to spotlight your company and help your customer decide where they want to take their business.
2) Text–What’s Important?
For detailed information on business listings, refer to Google’s article. Here is an example of what Google is expecting of you.
a) Your business name:
i) Your title should reflect your business’s real-world name. Use the same name that you use on your website.
ii) In addition to your business’s real-world name, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
iii) Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
iv) Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant”. Examples that would not be accepted are those that are self-promoting, or stuffed with keywords, such as “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.
b) Your business address:
i) Google cannot place you on Google Maps (and therefore, will not list you in the Google Places directory) without a valid address.
ii) Enter the complete physical address for your business. Ensure that the address you list here is the same as the address you list on your website.
iii) You may not use P.O. boxes or mailboxes at remote locations.
c) Contact info: Enter the phone number and website for your business. Ensure that this is the same contact information that you list on your website.
i) Enter the one category that best represents your business. All locations of a business must share one Primary Category. Choose a category that is as specific as possible but representative of your main business. Your main category should be what your business is or does, not what your business sells. If you enter several categories, the category entered in the first field will be selected as your primary category.
ii) You may also choose up to nine more additional categories. If you can’t find a category for your business, choose one that is more general.
(1) Don’t use categories solely as keywords or to describe attributes of your business.
(2) Don’t use categories that pertain to other businesses that are nearby or related, such as a business physically contained within your business or an entity that contains your business.
e) Hours: Add the hours that your business is open. These are your regular hours of operation for a typical week. You can set special hours for days when you have unusual hours, like holidays or special events.
f) Introduction (this only appears on your Google+ page, not in Google Places results): Add a brief description of your business here. This section lets you introduce yourself to your customers and teach them about your business.
3) Reviews–An SEO booster shot
Reviews are the most important aspect of setting up your Google My Business. Ask your customers to refer and provide testimonies on your Google My Business.
a) Reviews are important:
i) A total of 88% of customers use reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business.
ii) 72% of customers say that online reviews make them trust a business more.
iii) Google takes reviews into account in ranking results on Google Places. According to Moz, one of the leading SEO experts, online reviews comprise 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results.