A Google My Business account lets you show up in search results when people are looking for you online. It’s free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for small and big businesses alike.
This comprehensive guide will show you how to get your account up and running and offer tips on how to get results.
Why you need a Google My Business account
Not sure if you need a Google My Business account? Here’s why you may want to consider one.
Search is digital. Even if you run an old fashioned brick and mortar shop, your customers and prospects are online. And that’s where they’ll typically start their search for your company, products, or services.
Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referrer. A Google My Business account ensures that when someone looks your company up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your shop, whether you have a web or physical address.
Google My Business accounts also improve your local SEO. So when someone searches for you, you show up on page one—not page two or worse.
Even if you already have a web presence, a Google business account ensures you get top results. Accounts also provide access to analytics, allowing you to fine tune your paid and organic advertising strategies.
Keep customers informed
Don’t leave customers guessing about your business’s important details. Or leave them up to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other review sites over which you have no control. Make sure that when someone searches for your business, they find legitimate information, straight from the source.
Your Google My Business listing includes contact information, business hours, and other essential details. You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened (an especially useful feature during emergency situations like COVID-19). Google business accounts have strong local SEO, so the information you share will rank above other sites.
Misinformation can lead to bad customer experiences and missed opportunities. Imagine the letdown a customer feels when they make a trip to your store only to find that it’s closed. Or maybe you are open, but a prospective customer chose a competitor because they weren’t certain.
A Google My Business account lets you keep customers informed.
Boost consumer confidence
A Google My Business profile lends credibility to your company. Need proof? Customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing.
Another study found that businesses with complete listings on Google are twice as likely to earn trust from customers.
Trust is a key factor when it comes to making purchase decisions. The more confident a consumer feels, the more likely they are to buy. Credibility gained from Google is enough to sway people to be 38% more likely to visit your store, and 29% more likely to buy something. Google My Business reviews help build trust, too. Research by Think With Google finds that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
How to set up Google My Business
Follow these steps to create your Google My Business profile.
Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business
Go to www.google.com/business to sign in. You can either sign in with a pre-existing Google account, or create a new one. If you’re already signed in, skip ahead to the next step.
Tip: Make sure you sign up with your business email domain.
Step 2: Add your business
Enter your business name. If it does not appear in the drop-down menu, click Add your business to Google. Then select the appropriate category for your business.
Step 3: Enter your location
If you have a physical location customers can visit, select Yes. Then add your address. You may also be asked to position a marker for the location on a map. If your business does not have a location customers can visit but offers a service or delivery, you can list your service area.
Step 4: Fill in your contact information
Enter your business phone number and website address so customers can reach you. If you use a Facebook page rather than a website, you can add that instead.
Step 5: Finish and manage your listing
Check Yes if you would like to receive updates and notifications. Then click Finish. You’ll then be asked to verify your business.
How to verify your business on Google
Now that your account is set up, here’s how to verify your Google business. For most businesses, Google verification involves requesting a postcard.
Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business
Go to www.google.com/business to sign in.
Step 2: Click Verify now
If you have multiple Google My Business accounts, make sure you choose the correct one.
Step 3: Choose a way to verify
Postcard by Mail is the default verification option. If your business is eligible for other methods, such as phone or email, choose the one you prefer. Fill in the required details. Double check to make sure you’ve entered it correctly, then submit the form.
It can take a few days to two weeks for the postcard to arrive. When you receive your postcard, sign in and click Verify location from the menu. Enter the five-digit verification code from your postcard. Note: It may take a few weeks for your business listing to appear on Google. While you wait, download the Google My Business app so you can manage your account.
How to claim your business on Google
Need to claim an existing Google business profile? There are three options:
Option 1: Sign up or log in to Google My Business. Search for your business, and select it. Then follow the steps to confirm that you are the owner.
Option 2: Locate your business listing in Maps, and click Manage this listing.
Option 3: Look up the business listing in Google Search and clickOwn this business?.
Don’t panic if details aren’t accurate. You can edit once you’ve verified that you’re the owner.
If someone else has already claimed the business, but you work for the same company, ask them to add you as a user. If you don’t recognize the owner, follow the steps to reclaim your businesses.
How to edit your business on Google
Need to edit information on your Google My Business profile? Here’s how:
Sign in to Google My Business.
Open the location you’d like to edit.
In the menu on the left, click Info.
Click the pencil icon to make your edits. If you want to remove a section, click the X. When you are finished, click Apply.
How to add multiple locations on Google My Business
If you’ve opened a new location or just created a profile and need to add additional locations, follow these steps.
From your Google My Business dashboard, click Manage locations in the left hand menu.
Click the blue Add location button on the right.
Type in your business name and click Create a new business with this name.
Fill in the information and request verification.
Another option is to go to Google Maps and drop a pin on the location you would like to add. Click Add a missing place in the left menu. Fill in the details then select Claim this business.
If you have more than 10 locations, you can add them in bulk.
Can you turn off Google reviews for your business?
No. You cannot turn off Google reviews for your listing. And it wouldn’t be in your interest to do that anyway, as reviews show customers that your business is legitimate.
But, you can flag and report inappropriate reviews.