Google My Business – free online marketing tool
According to stats, Google has over a billion users. This represents an amazing opportunity for all businesses to reach out to their potential customers who might be interested in their products or services, especially if you are just starting up or on a tight budget for marketing. This is a perfect place to start as Google My Business is one of the best online marketing tools you can have for free for your online marketing projects.
Creating a Google My Business listing will give your business a public identity and a place on the worlds most popular search engine and also the starting point of local SEO (local search engine optimisation). A verified listing will let potential customers search for your business and be able to find you at your location, call you or view your business opening hours and read your business reviews, all from your listing.
What are the Benefits of a Google My Business Listing
There are many of benefits for setting up your GMB listing, but it is important to set it up correctly to rank better on local searches and bring more traffic to your website.
Once you have a verified GMB listing you can log into the Google My Business dashboard which allows you to :
- Keep your business information up to date.
- See and manage reviews for your business because good reviews give your business credibility.
- Post related news about your business to increase engagement with your customers.
- View GMB analytic reports on how people find you online, if they had visited your website, and whether they got directions to your business or called you from your listing.
- Create attractive photos gallery to show off your products and services. This will help to drive more traffic to your business and increase sales.
- Create a ‘Call To Action’ button to promote your business like ‘Get The Offer’ or ‘Make an Appointment’.
How to set up your Google My Business Listing
The good news is that setting up your listing is easy and straightforward. So let’s get started.
STEP 1 – Set up a Google account
If you don’t already have one, go to https://accounts.google.com/SignUp to set up a Google account. You’ll need this for the next step.
STEP 2 – Visit Google My Business
Go to https://www.google.com/business and click on the green button “Start Now”. Then you’ll be asked to log in, so now you’ll need that Google account you set up earlier to log in.
STEP 3 – Fill in your business information
A search box will pop up and ask for your business information. Enter your business name and address. If you’re an established business, you may already exist on Google and a suggested listing will appear, select the name and fill in your details.
If you’re a new business, you’ll probably have to create a listing by selecting ‘Add your business’ and filling in the necessary details. Remember, the more specific you are with your information, the more useful your listing will be. It also says that you should add your local phone number for each location (not your free phone number) and that you can’t use a PO box address. If you run a business from home or you serve customers at their location, you can list your business as a service area business. Select yes to ‘ I deliver goods and services to my customers to their locations ‘ and enter your service area information.
STEP 4 – Choose a category related to your business
Towards the end of the form, you’ll be asked to choose a Category for your business, this is one of the most important fields as it determines how Google will categorise your business and what search results you’ll appear in. There are pre-set categories, so choose the best fit, and you’ll get the chance to add up to 4 more later on.
STEP 5 – Verify your business
Now you just need to wait for Google to verify that your business is actually where you say it is. You can choose to receive your verification PIN by postcard, text message or automated phone call. The fastest method is to opt for a text message as it will come almost instantly and you get straight on and complete the task. An important tip at this stage is don’t go back to your GMB dashboard and edit anything on your listing, as any edit you make before you verify the listing with the PIN will void the PIN and you’ll have to start the verification process all over again. My recommendation is to leave the listing alone until you get your PIN and your listing is verified.
STEP 6 – Received Verify PIN by postcard
When you have received your PIN by post (if you choose this option), go ahead and sign into the Google My Business dashboard and look for the blue banner across the top of the dashboard with “Enter Code” button. Click the button and enter the 5 digit PIN into the field. Click the “Submit” button and well done! You have now created and verified your Google My Business listing in 6 easy steps.
Pro-Tips – It’s important to fully optimise your listing to get a better result in local search queries.
Here are some crucial points to bear in mind.
- Make sure your company information – Name, Address and Phone no. (also known as NAP) is consistent across the internet.
- Photos are very important as this is where you can display your portfolio or products to your potential customers. Use clear and high-quality images.
- Use Google My Business post feature to release news or update about your business, this will increase engagement and build a strong relationship with your customers.
- Keep your business opening hours accurate.
I hope you find this guide helpful and easy to follow. If you’re having any problems setting up your listing, visit Google My Business Help Centre for more supports., or get in touch with us and we will be pleased to help you out. Check out our other related SEO blogs here.