Small business owners know that marketing online is important. For many of them, this means setting up a few social media accounts and a website. But if you really want to reach your customers, you’ve got to go where they are and that’s Google.
Almost 75% of online searches are done via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or place so this is where Google My Business comes in.
So what is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free service provided by Google designed to make life easier for local businesses to be found within Google. It gives your customers the right information at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in maps, hours of operations or a phone number they can click to call you on their mobile phone. It’s therefore really important to claim, update or optimise your Google My Business page. If you don’t have your business listed on Google My Business, you need to put this on the top of your “to do” list immediately. It’s one of the best things you can do to expand your customer base.
Step One - Signing Into / Creating a Gmail Account
To start off you need to create a Gmail account (or sign in to yours if you already have one, if you’re a client of arrival then your Gmail account is the email that you use to access your Google Analytics account). Click on create an account, fill in your personal details (it is okay to link with your current email address, alternatively you can leave that section blank) and you’re ready to go!
Step Two - Setting up Google My Business
Go to Google My Business https://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/business/ and click ‘Get onto Google’ and search for your business name in the box and click in the blue magnifying glass. If it is listed, it will show up and you simply click to claim your business.
If your page isn’t listed, you’ll have to set one up by clicking on the ‘I’ve correctly entered the name and address, let me enter the full business details’ you can then type in your company details and follow the instructions on the screen.
If you’re challenged with having a verified listing that you didn’t verify? Or maybe you verified your business and need to update the information but can’t log in? Don’t worry. There are some things you can do. Google offers support documentation to guide you through the process of requesting an ownership change for your business listing.
Once you’re done, you will be asked to confirm that you are authorised to act on behalf of the company. Click, continue and you will be prompted to select yes to verify the listing. This will come in the form of a postcard from Google containing a pin to confirm you are the owner. That takes 2 weeks. In the meantime, you still optimize the page so jump to the optimise section!
Time to Optimise
Click the red edit button to start optimising your page. As you answer questions, remember that the more specific and accurate the information Google has about your business, the better it will be able to correctly classify and display your business listing.
Business Name - Make sure it’s correct, current and your legal name.
Address - Confirm that this is the same that is on your website’s contact page.
Contact Info - Make sure it’s the same phone number as listed on your website.
Category - Google has pre-set categories, or keywords, for each industry. Start typing your keyword in to see if Google produces a match, and then select the best one. You will get a chance to add more categories later on (up to 5).
Business Hours - Keep in mind people don’t have to visit your website to find out your hours. They can see that on your page or when they search your business name so fill them out properly.
Photos - Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for.
There are several types of photos you should add to your business listing:
Preferred photo - Recommend the photo that you want your customers to see alongside your business name on Google Maps and Search. Google determines which photo will be shown first using a number of factors, like how well the photo represents the services or products the business offers. Pictures of food at a restaurant, for example, tend to rate well. Although your first photo preference is taken into account, there’s no guarantee that your preferred photo will be the first photo on Google.
To change your preferred photo, choose the three dot menu icon and choose Profile or Cover.
Profile photo - Add a profile photo to help your customers recognize your business on Google. Your profile photo will be featured next to your business name on your Google+ page. It should be a different photo from your business logo, which should be added in the "Logo" section.
Logo - Add your logo to help customers identify your business. Square-sized logos display best on Google.
Cover photo - Add a cover photo to showcase your page’s personality. Your cover photo is the large photo featured at the top of your Google+ page. Note that this photo will be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Additional photos - Add different kinds of photos to spotlight features of your business that customers consider when making purchasing decisions. You can add different kinds of photos depending on the kind of business you manage.
Your photos will look best on Google if they meet the following standards:
Format: JPG or PNG
Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720px wide
Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no photoshop alterations or excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.
Make sure your pictures are clear and crisp. It probably goes without saying, but don’t use any picture that you wouldn’t put on a paid advertisement.
Introduction - Write 250 words of unique content that is different from on your website. It’s been recommended by various local SEO’s I connect with that you avoid keyword stuffing or placing any keywords in your about section. List all of your popular services that people might search in an easy to read way and put links to important pages on your Once you’re done click the blue “Done Editing” button.
Google My Business hosts a review page so your customers can leave public feedback. You can monitor and respond to reviews through your dashboard as well.
Here are a few tips when it comes to reviews:
Encourage customers to leave reviews. Remind them at the checkout, or send an email asking them to leave feedback with a link to your Google My Business page.
If you get bad feedback, don’t panic. If it violates the review policies, you can flag it and Google will review it and take action. If it doesn’t break the policies, you can choose to respond in a professional manner.
Respond to positive reviews too. Thank customers for taking time to share their comments.
Four out of five consumers conduct local searches on search engines to try and find the right business to meet their needs. Google My Business can connect your business with customers on the other end of those searches. With just a small investment of time, you can create a free way to attract customers.
If you’d like help setting up your Google My Business page or would like arrival to set on up and populate the information then email firstname.lastname@example.org and for £250 we’ll do this for you alternatively you can do this yourself by following the instructions above.