Google My Business can be a very powerful marketing tool when used effectively. This article will describe why it's an essential tool for your Internet marketing and how to set it up.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is Google's directory of business locations. When doing a search including a city keyword, search results often include listings from Google My Business' database of companies from that location. Business listings show up when you are doing a search within the same city or that contains a city keyword. Google My Business is an essential part of any Internet marketing strategy because it allows you to display your contact details, business hours, and reviews from happy customers. Customers are often making purchasing decisions after they've visited your website and see what other people think about your company online.
Claiming Your Business
In order to display your business in Google My Business, you'll need to claim your listing by visiting http://business.google.com and registering your listing. Fill in your business information here and a postcard will be sent in the mail to your busines address. Once you receive the postcard, go back to http://business.google.com and input the code on the postcard. This is how you claim your listing, and this ensures that you are the rightful owner of the business.
If you have a home office and you don't want to display your address online, you can check the box "I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location", then de-select the checkbox "I also serve customers at my business address. (Your address will be hidden from the public if this box isn't checked.)"
Reviews on Google My Business
Online credibility is a huge part of Internet marketing.
This is the #1 reason to register your Google My Business listing and provides an excellent area for you to showcase valuable feedback from happy customers.
Once set up, it's best to integrate ways to get people to write testimonials about your company online. There are 3 main locations where I suggest business owners populate their reviews online: 1. Google My Business, 2. Facebook, and 3. LinkedIn. Depending on your industry and target audience, one option may be more important than the others. In my opinion, the platform with the most credibility and legitimacy is Google My Business Reviews.
Once you've claimed and verified your Google My Business listing, this will give you access to allow your customers to write reviews.
Creating Your Review Link
In order to share your listing to get people to review your business, you need to manually create a link that is shareable so that people can write their reviews on your page. Here are the steps to create this review link:
1. Go to the PlaceID Lookup Tool by Google.
2. Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map.
3. Click your business name in the list that appears.
4. Your Place ID will appear on the map beneath your business name. Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link:
Using the example above, the URL with the Place ID added would be:
You may also want to make it easier for your users to leave a review by shortening the URL (click here to learn more).
Updating Your Information
You are able to add hours of operation and basic contact details, such as a phone number and website link. You'll also be required to add categories to your listing. Categories are limited to what Google provides as relevant categories. Not all business types are listed here, so pick the most appropriate categories for your business. You can also enhance your listing by uploading photos of your location or brand images. The full list of image suggestions are: 360 images taken of your establishment, video, interior, exterior, product, team, and identity photos.
Posting on Google My Business
When your listing is verified, Google allows you to make posts to let people know of updates from your company directly in your Google My Business listing.
Google suggests you post your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. Making a post allows you to submit timely content to customers when they find your business listing on Google. Google only allows posts to be displayed for 7 days before your post is archived in your posts area.
Learn more about posting on Google My Business from our post "New Google My Business Posts."
Messaging on Google My Business
If you'd like to activate Messaging on your listing, this enables people to send you text messages directly to your phone from Google search. To activate this, click on "Messaging" and go through the steps to verify your phone number.
Linking Google My Business & AdWords
There are two ways that linking Google My Business with your AdWords campaign enhances your advertising.
- Google My Business Ads are created for you and displayed within the business listings in Google Maps.
- Your address details and phone number are displayed within regular Google Ads.
This is a recommended AdWords optimization technique that should be done once you've verified your Google My Business listing.
Other Google My Business Challenges
Google has done a good job of allowing business owners to register and edit their listings, although there are sometimes duplicate listings or old contact information that make it impossible to re-verify or gain access to your listing. Google does offer phone support for tricky situations such as an old marketing company you can't get a hold of who has ownership of your listing. As of writing this post, Google My Business' support number is 1-844-491-9665. When contacting Google, they do require an AdWords ID for them to provide support. It's always best to contact your Internet marketing provider to help you with this.
Our monthly marketing clients receive support with their Google My Business setup and optimization as part of our marketing service. If you need assistance with this, feel free to contact us to ask how we can help.