When you’re looking for a particular product or service, how do you find it? Google!
When you come across the name of a business on social media which you’d like to learn more about, what do you do? Google!
And when you decide to visit a new shop, restaurant or café, how do you get directions? Google!
Google is paramount for customers at all stages in the buying journey nowadays; it makes sense to maintain an up to date and convincing profile.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business allows you to…
- Make your contact details clear for people who come across your business in a search
- Showcase your products or services
- Officially add your business location to Google Maps
- Share positive feedback and testimonials
It has the benefits of…
- Ensuring important information about your business including address, opening hours, website address and telephone number is correct when googled
- Boosting the ranking of your business on Google and encouraging website traffic
- Making local people aware that your business is located nearby
- Building trust in people considering your business with reviews
What happens when you google your business now? If you or your developer have optimised your website, it will hopefully appear close to the top of the search results. Can you also spot a pane on the righthand side of your browser summarising essential info?
Since we have an active Google My Business profile at Pick & Mix Marketing, the righthand pane shows photos, key info and offers searchers the option to click straight through and call us, visit our website or get directions to our office.
Scroll down, and you’ll see the option for users to send this info from their desktop computer to their phone. There is also a summary of our business, a space for posting updates and links to our social media profiles.
Having all this information readily available to searchers makes it easy for them to contact us, and it pleases the Google bots too, improving the ranking of our website.
How do you create a Google My Business profile?
You’ll need to sign in to Google with your Google or Gmail account. If you don’t have one, it’s best to create one before you get started.
Once logged in, your initial should appear in the circle in the top righthand corner of a Google page and when you click on it, you should see your name.
Next, click on the nine dots next to your initial and the following selection of Google apps will show.
Select “My Business” which you will see has the symbol of a blue market stall.
If you haven’t yet set up a Google My Business profile, you’ll be prompted to provide your business address, which area you serve and whether you want to appear on Google Maps. Appearing on Maps is not only useful for people visiting your premises, but those in the area who might not realise your business is there. We recommend agreeing to be listed on Maps.
You’ll be asked to choose a suitable category for your business. Then, you’ll need to provide either a phone number, email address or both. We recommend including both if possible, to make it easy for your customers to contact you.
You’ll be asked if you want to create a free website for your business. If you have an existing website, it’s best to use this one instead.
Finally, you’ll need to verify your profile is authentic. This is a simple process in which Google sends a postcard to your physical business address with a code that you then enter online. We recommend verifying your listing as soon as you can, so the profile is properly published on Google and is deemed trustworthy.
What if there’s already a righthand pane when I search for my business, but I haven’t created a profile?
Sometimes Google will automatically pull through information about your business from sources on the web without you creating a profile. If this happens, it’s best to claim the profile as your own using this option in the pane.
If the profile is not claimed, anyone can suggest edits to the information which may or may not be correct. It’s better to take ownership so you are in control of what’s published.
How do I get started on Google My Business?
Once you’ve set up or claimed a profile and logged in via the nine dot Google apps shortcut shown above, you’ll have the following tabs available to you:
You can work through at your own pace, updating information where necessary. Be aware that if your business has multiple locations e.g. two or three offices, you’ll need to update information separately in each location.
To add an additional location, scroll down and select “add new location” from the left-hand tab.
What should I update first?
The info tab should be your first port of call. Under here, you’ll be able to edit or add your phone number, email address, website address and office address. These must be up to date since a wrong number or incorrect address will instantly put off potential customers.
Under info, there’s also the option to add your opening hours. This is useful as it will tell customers in real-time whether they can visit your premises at that moment. You’ll notice when performing a google search that businesses appear “open” or “closed” in green or red.
When it comes to Christmas, Easter or extraordinary circumstances in which your opening hours are different, it’s a good idea to change these on Google My Business so your customers do not get confused. Don’t rely on your website alone- many will simply google the name of your business + opening hours and take the information from your Google My Business profile as correct.
Further down while still on the info tab, you can add products and services. If you’re a retailer, this is especially important for you. You can drive traffic to your business by having snapshots of your products show up in the righthand pane of a Google search.
What should I do about reviews?
Once you’ve got your Google My Business profile up and running, it’s a great idea to ask your customers to leave you a review, or they may even happily leave you one themselves!
Reviews will contribute to your overall rating out of five. Try to maintain that number as high as you can to convince potential customers who come across your business on Google.
Should I reply to reviews?
We recommend personally replying to every review you receive. This will not only develop your relationship with your customers but bring humanity to your Google listing. To do this, select the “reviews” tab in the back end of your profile.
Do I need to use all the features of Google My Business?
There are a few tabs that you may not need to worry about, especially if you’re just getting started. From the messaging tab, you can allow users to message you directly from your Google My Business listing. If you’re a large company, this may be something to consider. However, most smaller companies will already be busy monitoring social media, email and website enquiries in between day to day tasks. It’s better to focus on these more established channels and not miss a message than spread yourself too thinly by trying to monitor Google messages as well. As long as the rest of your contact info is up to date, there is no need to use this feature.
What can I do to improve my profile?
After you’ve had your profile running for a while, you’ll be able to see how it’s performing by heading to the “insights” tab. There, you’ll be able to find how many users have come across your listing by searching for your company name (direct) and searching for products or your business category (discovery).
It’s worth keeping an eye on this section and experimenting with your categorisation or product listings to see if they affect discoveries. Scrolling down, you’ll also see a list of search queries that people have used to come across your profile. These are highly valuable for search-engine-optimising your website. If some customers are using these terms, others could be too. Incorporating the phrases into your blogs, web pages and tags will increase the likelihood of being seen by your ideal customers.
We hope you’ve found this guide to Google My Business helpful and would love to hear how you get on with using it alongside your social media and online marketing strategy.
If you would like training or support to create your Google My Business profile then please get in touch 01904 863511.