Setting up Your Google My Business Page and its Optimization
Google released the ‘Google Places’ update in 2010. It aimed to improve user experience and facilitate local search through places pages and separate local SERPs.
Since then, Google Places has come a long way. It has now become Google My Business and it is one of the key factors of effective local SEO.
It works together with Google Maps and helps users find local businesses more effectively. You can understand its importance through Google’s 3-pack snippet.
It pushes down the first website and takes the main highlight of the screen with Google Places. Technically, it occupies the position zero.
Google’s 3-pack snippet is a great way for mobile users. It lets them find what they quickly and without scrolling a lot.
But as a local business owner or marketer, you will have to put effort into getting the position zero. You can start with setting up with a Google My Business Page.
FAQs about Google My Business Page:
Now that we’ve removed any confusion, let’s start setting up your Google My Business page:
How to set up your Google My Business Page?
Setting up a Google My Business Page is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Visit the official page of Google My Business.
- Select the ‘Start Now’ Button.
- The site will redirect you to Google Maps. Search for your business there.
- If you find your business, you will have to claim and verify that it’s yours.
- If you don’t find your business in Google Maps, then you will have to select ‘None of these match’ button.
- You can’t add information about your business unless you verify your business. To verify your business, Google will send a mail. (Check below for further info).
- Google will guide you through the process. Your aim is to provide all the essential information to them.
How to verify your business with Google?
To verify your Google My Business listing you get the following options:
- Phone verification
- Email verification
- Postcard verification
- Instant verification
- Bulk verification
Let’s discuss each method in brief:
Some businesses get the option to verify their GMB listing through the phone. They will send a verification code to your phone, which you’ll have to put in to complete the verification.
Like the phone, some businesses get the option of ‘Verify by Email’. You will receive a verification code in your inbox, which you will have to enter to complete the process.
Google sends a mail to your business’s location in this method. Make sure that you enter the correct business address.
Once you receive the mail, you will have to log in to your GMB account and select ‘Verify Now’. You will then have to enter the 5-digit code. In case you don’t receive the postcard or it gets lost, you can get another verification code from Google.
You might’ve already verified your business by Google Search Console. If you have, then you can get a code to instantly verify your business.
Ensure that your category is eligible because some are excluded from instant verification.
You might be operating in multiple locations. If you do, and if you’re not a marketing agency or service provider, then you can perform bulk verification of all of your business locations.
After selecting the ‘Get Verified’ option in your Google My Business account, you will have to select the ‘Chain’ option.
Then, you will have to fill up a verification form. This process takes up to a week but once done, you will be good to go.
Now that you’ve verified your business, you can start optimizing your GMB listing.
Why optimize your GMB listing?
Optimizing your Google My Business page is necessary for a number of reasons.
First, there are many local businesses operating in every market. It’s certain you have some competitors too.
In order to get ahead of your competitors and get on the top of the search results, you will need to optimize your GMB listing.
How to Optimize your GMB Page
Provide Accurate Information:
Don’t hesitate in adding information about your business. Make sure all the information you provide is accurate.
Your business’s name, address and phone number should be accurate. If add wrong information, you can get penalized.
Not only that, it’ll become difficult for people to find your business if you have added incorrect information.
Add photos, your business logo, when your business was opened, its opening and closing hours as well as your business’s website URL.
People can edit the information you provide and so, it’s essential that you keep everything accurate. Check your GMB page regularly to make sure every piece of information is up to date.
You can edit the page anytime by clicking the ‘Info’ button on your GMB dashboard.
Add Descriptive and Attractive Photos:
Add a great number of photos about your business. High-quality photos help the users in finding out what’s your business about.
Google says businesses with photos get 42% higher requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more clickthroughs to their websites.
Your photos should be of 720x720 resolution and in JPG or PNG format. Google has specific guidelines on the format of photos you can use.
There are multiple kinds of photos you can add to your business:
Just like a social media platform, your business’s profile photo appears when you do an activity, such as replying to a review or adding a Google Post.
If you have a business logo, then you can add it as the profile photo in your GMB listing. It helps people recognize your business on Google.
While the profile photo is the identity of your business, your cover photo gives the viewers a glimpse of what your business does.
It describes your business and appears on Google Maps as well as on Google Search. It shows up at the front and so it is the MVP – most valuable picture.
Make sure it is a good one and shows the primary office of your business.
You can add multiple photos to your business on your GMB listing. These photos can throw more light on your business, its interior, your products or services etc.
Your choice of additional photos should include:
Take a shot of the exterior of your office, shop, etc. Make sure it provides a clear view. You can add multiple pictures from different directions.
Google recommends adding three photos of the exterior.
Whether you provide a product or service, make sure to get it clicked as well. Just like the exterior, take a number of photos for clear elaboration.
If you have multiple products, provide the one for which you’re known for. The photos should be well-lit as well. Google suggests adding a photo for every product or service.
Provide a Clear Category for your Business:
Google My Business categories are important to clarify. You will not want to confuse the search engine.
The best thing to do would be to have one or two business categories. This way, Google will know exactly what kind of business you do.
It will show in relevant search queries and drive traffic accordingly. In your Google My Business page, you will clearly see – Categories describe what your business is, not what it does or sells.
Use few categories and make sure they are accurate.
Add Google My Business Videos:
Businesses can also add videos to their GMB listings. It is a great tool to add a variety to your business’s page.
Your videos should have the following properties:
- Shorter than (or equal to) 30 seconds
- Less than (or equal to) 100 MB in size
- Higher than (or equal to) 720p in resolution
You can add videos explaining your product/service or about your business’s event. Unlike photos, videos are not imperative.
So if you don’t have a video to add, don’t worry.
Get Reviews on Google My Business:
Having reviews on your GMB page will boost your brand authority and make you more credible.
Getting reviews on your GMB listing isn’t much difficult as well. You can ask your existing customers to leave a review.
And whenever you get a review, be sure to provide a reply. This shows other users that you’re an active and caring business.
It also shows that you take customer feedback very seriously and so, it encourages other customers to review your business.
91% of the young audience (18 to 34 years old) trusts online reviews as much as personal recommendations while 86% of the young audience reads local business reviews.
So you can understand the value of having a number of positive reviews on your local business.
When you get a negative review, give a professional response. Don’t blame the customer or call names. It will make your business look bad.
Use the Google My Business App:
You can start using the Google My Business app for managing your page.
It is a handy way of staying in control while keeping yourself updated with any recent activity. You can add photos and posts make changes to the provided information and check your insights.
The insights are a great way to find what your customers are liking and what do they look for when they arrive on your page.
You can use the information from insights to make better strategies in the future.
On the other hand, with the help of Google posts, you can inform the online users about your recent event or offer.
Setting up a Google My Business page is essential for local SEO. If you want to appear in local searches and appear in the first page results or Google 3-pack snippet, then you should set up a GMB page for your business quickly.
It takes very little effort and not much time to set up your Google My Business listing.
But it’s a great way to get your business on the first page of the local searches. You will need to verify your business before you can make any changes to your business listing.
After setting up the GMB page and optimizing it, you should focus on the other search engine. We’ll discuss it in the next chapter.