Why Create a Google My Business Account?
An easy and free way to gain visibility online is to create a Google My Business Profile (aka business listing aka business profile), but creating a profile does not automatically mean you have management over it. In order to manage your business profile, edit the information on it, and optimize it to maximize its effectiveness, you must create a free “Google My Business account for the profile. Once you do this, you will be able to update your page and maximize your SEO efforts.
Get Found Locally
More than 80% of people use the web to find local information. Using keywords such as “in Monmouth” or “near me”, residents, visitors, and prospective tourists are able to find local businesses to meet their needs which is why it’s important to fill out your Google My Business profile to the fullest; research shows, businesses who completely fill out their listing are 29% more likely to attract customers. You would never open a business and then forget to put a sign on your building, welcoming customers to your store.
There is also a feature in Google searches, we’ve all seen, called a ‘Knowledge Panel’ located on the right side of your search which displays the local listing information. This is an easy way to get your business listed near the top of the google search results.
Be Discovered at the top of Google Search Results
Creating a Profile for your business helps your business show up at the top of local search results (Just below the paid ads). Google’s algorithms highly value the information in business profiles so those listings are rated above other non-paid websites in local searches. For small businesses, who can’t afford top of the page ads on Google, this is an easy (and free) way to increase your business visibility! Adding your profile to Google automatically also adds it to Google Maps, so whether you are looking for online shoppers or trying to get people to your brick and mortar, your business profile is there to help you.
Convince More Potential Customers to Buy
When customers come across an incomplete listing, it’s the equivalent of someone walking down the street and coming across a business with dirty windows, and old paint. Yeah, the information is there for people to come in and look around, but it gives them doubts as to whether the business is reputable or not. Customers looking for local businesses are 70% more likely to to visit a business with a Google My Business listing.
When filling out your business profile at least include:
- Business Name
- Business Description
- Contact information
- Opening Hours
- Your services
- A link to your website
- A cover photo
- Logo (if you have one)
We’ve all been window shopping. We’ve all pursued the isles of a shop. We’ve all watched as other customers were brought their food to see how things looked. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it’s not surprising that, according to Google, 42% of profiles that include images of their products receive requests for directions than those without.
Keep your hours up to date! You can change your hours of operation easily through your business profile to ensure your customers know when you are open. This is one of the most important features to keep up to date on your profile because a customer will choose a competitor they know for sure is open over your store if they aren’t sure whether you are open or not especially in these uncertain times, people are checking hours of operation before venturing out.
Customers can also leave reviews on your profile. While the worry of many business owners is that an angry customer will leave a bad review and discourage future potential customers from visiting, it is still important to encourage customers to leave reviews when possible. Studies show that 88% of people trust a review on your profile as much as a recommendation from a friend.
Calls to Action/Messaging
Another optional feature of the Business profile is booking or messaging systems allowing users to connect with the business directly through their profile. Enabling customers to interact directly with the profile – reducing the number of steps involved – increases the likelihood of the customer following through with their purchase/visit. Just be sure you follow through quickly with any inquiry received through the profile – otherwise you lose any potential goodwill you created by making it easy to contact you.
Again, the more you can include, the more complete your profile, the better and more trustworthy your business will appear. Data shows that businesses who fill out their complete profile are perceived to be twice as reputable to prospective customers.
Encourage Past Customers to Return
Posting discounts, seasonal announcements and offerings, and updates about your business on your profile encourage customers to return to your shop and encourage repeat sales.
Make your local online ads more effective
Your Business Profile can also help you with your digital marketing efforts. Within your profile, there is a section labeled ‘Insights” which can give business owners information about: how many customers viewed their profile, which buttons customers clicked, which photos were viewed, and geographical information customers searched about the most. All of this information can help you tailor your digital adds to make them more effective.
Optimize Your Listing
Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google Search. Incorporating Keywords into your Business Profile is a good way to help increase your business rank in local searches. The more complete you make your profile the more helpful it will be to potential customers. Make sure you naturally incorporate keywords into your business description and service/product descriptions. By optimizing your business profile, your small business can more easily compete with bigger businesses budgets.
To Create the account you will, at minimum, need the following information for your business:
- Business Name
- Business Category
- Location or service area
The other information is optional, but should be included to optimize your listing.
How to Create a Google My Business Account
Before you create a Google My Business account it is best practice do make sure your business does not already have a profile: creating a business profile can be done by anyone – from a random stranger to an automated listing generator, and information can be pulled from across the web – so we will begin by double checking to make sure there isn’t already a business profile on Google. You don’t want to end up with duplicate or contradicting information. Claiming your existing listing will enable you to have control over the information in it. Otherwise add your listing by creating a Google My Business Account.
Step by step instructions on how to create a Google My Business Account and get your business listing added to Google.
Click the u0022My Businessu0022 Icon.
If you’re already logged into Google, click on the blue u0022My Businessu0022 Icon located in the menu on the right side of the google browser, or u003ca href=u0022https://business.google.com/create?gmbsrc=ww-ww-z-z-al-gmb-s-z-l~mbi-du0022u003eclick hereu003c/au003e.
Find your existing business.
If you already have an existing business or have a business profile that was previously created, you can search for it here. Even if you don’t believe you’ve set up a business profile for your business, it’s best practice to double check someone else or a listing service didn’t automatically add the information for you. If you can’t find your business, click the blue u0022u003ca href=u0022https://business.google.com/create?gmbsrc=ww-ww-z-z-al-gmb-s-z-l~mbi-du0022u003eadd your business to Googleu003c/au003eu0022 link at the bottom of the search box.
Let Google Know if you have a location customers can visit.
If you select yes, the address you include in the next screen will show up on Google Maps. This is a handy way to get people to know where your store is located.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIf you do not have a storefront or office people can visit, select u0022nou0022. This means you are a service area business and in the proceeding screens you will be able to fill out your service location. Please note that even if you don’t have an address customers can visit, if you select u0022nou0022 Google will still ask you for an address your business can receive mail at that is not a post office box.
Add you Business’ Address
Add the location your customers can visit you at. If you selected u0022yesu0022 on the previous screen, the address input here will show up on Google Maps.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAgain, even if you selected u0022nou0022 on the previous screen, you will still have to fill out this information so Google can verify your business exists.
Many businesses such as plumbers, cleaners, and construction companies, don’t necessarily have offices for clients to visit them at, but they do serve an area. If your business serves an area, and isn’t confined to one location, fill out the area your customers can access your services or products.
Add the contact information you would like displayed to your potential customers.
Google will suggest services based on the category you selected previously. You can choose from those, or add custom services.
Add the days and times you are open. If you are closed for lunch (or another reason) in the middle of the day, you can add two separate time periods under the same day.
Do you want to add messaging?
Note the messaging service is free and turned on by default. If you don’t want your customers to message you through your profile, be sure to turn this feature off.
Add Your Business Description
In order to optimize the usefulness of your business description, be sure to naturally include key words people may search for.
Photos of your business make it more personable and increase the likeliness someone will purchase your products or contact you about your service. Be sure to add only relevant photos of your products and services. You can also include photos of the interior of your store or office.
Almost done! Just Claim your add credit (or wait to claim it later)!
There will probably come a time where you are interested in advertising your business with Google Ads. By filling out the profile, Google rewards you with a $100 advertising credit you can claim immediately or wait until later.