Your business’s Google profile has a significant impact on the visibility of your company online. By using Google My Business, you can control what company information is displayed online and add extra touches that could be the difference between someone visiting your business or not. Keep reading to learn more about creating a Google My Business listing and how this tool can help your business reach more customers.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an online tool provided by Google to help businesses reach their customer base. More than just another online business listing, Google My Business allows you to create a profile, connect with customers, show up on Google Maps, gather customer reviews, and gain insight through access to analytics.
Google My Business Benefits
Having a Google My Business profile can unlock several benefits that can help your company get noticed more. Here are some of the benefits that come from using Google My Business:
Access to listings on Google Maps and the Local Pack
You need a GMB profile if you want your business to show up on a Google Maps search. If your business relies on local traffic, having a GMB profile also helps you show up in the Local Pack. For example, if you’re a coffee shop owner, your business would likely show up in the local ads at the top of a Google SERP when someone local searches for “coffee shops located near me.” Those local organic ads at the top of the page are part of the Local Pack. According to research by Whitespark, Google My Business was the number one factor (33%) affecting local pack ratings in 2020.
Customers often use reviews to inform their decisions, especially when searching for local businesses. As a business owner, you can use customer reviews two ways — as social proof for the quality of products or level of service you provide and as a way to gain insights from existing customers.
Access to analytics
Along with a nice new business profile, Google My Business comes with access to extensive analytical data that can help you make decisions about your business. The analytics you can see within Google My Business include:
- Number of views of your profile
- Number of views on photos and posts
- Engagement numbers
- Audience demographics
- Search queries used to find your business
- Customer actions from your business profile (website clicks, phone calls, etc.)
Access to this type of information (for free, no less) is crucial to understanding your customer base and how they respond to the specific information you provide.
How to create a Google My Business account and listing
Creating a Google My Business account is relatively simple. Here’s how you set up an account for your business:
1. Log in to your Google account
Use the Google account you want to be associated with your business profile. If you don’t have one, create a new Google account to use.
2. Head to the Google My Business site.
Go to google.com/business and click “Start Now” to begin the process of setting up your account.
3. Enter your business name
Enter your official business name and click “Next.”
4. Pick a business category
Choose a category that matches your desired customer base. The category you choose impacts the types of customers Google sends your way.
5. Enter your business location
Next, you can choose to list a location for your business. If you want one listed, enter your business’s physical address. You can have your business address hidden if you don’t have a storefront. Business owners can also choose to mark that they offer delivery of goods and services if desired. If you mark that you offer delivery, you can enter specific information about the delivery area you cover.
6. Add business contact information
You can add your company’s phone number and website to your profile at this time if you would like.
7. Verify your business
Once your business profile is set up, you’ll need to verify your business. This is one of the most critical steps you need to take, and your business profile won’t be active until you do.
How to verify your Business on Google
There are several ways to verify your business on Google, including:
- Postcard: Google will mail a postcard to your business’s physical address with instructions to verify your business.
- Phone: If eligible, you can verify your business by phone through a verification code sent via text.
- Email: Some businesses are eligible for verification via email. Simply click the verification link in the email to finalize the verification process.
- Instant verification: You may be eligible for instant verification if your business is already verified with the Google Search Console.
- Bulk verification: This verification method is for select businesses with more than ten locations.
The verification methods available to you may depend on your specific business category and other factors.
How to enhance your Google My Business listing
After your business is verified, you have full access to your profile. Within the profile, you can add extra touches to enhance your profile. Some of the details you can add to your profile include:
- Business hours
- Photos (profile photo, cover photo, and other photos)
- Google Posts
- Event information
- Appointment scheduling
Customize your profile to suit your specific business needs, adding any details to help attract new clients or continue to serve existing ones.
Whether your business has been around for a while or is a start-up, Google My Business can help you draw new customers, often reaching an audience better than traditional marketing methods. Do yourself a favor and create a free account if you haven’t already. If you do have one, revisit your profile often. This will help ensure your customers have access to the latest information about your business and allow you to make improvements to enhance the customer experience.
Kevin Payne is a personal finance and travel writer. His work has appeared on websites like Forbes Advisor, Investopedia, Credit Karma, and FinanceBuzz. He is the family travel and budget expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.