How To Set Up Google My Business
Table of Contents
How To Set Up Google My Business (GMB)
There is a myriad of reasons you should claim your Google My Business (GMB) site for your business. There is also a laundry list of things that you can use GMB for to improve your local search ranking, let customers know about your business, track reviews, etc.
It all starts with claiming and setting up your GMB page. Google My Business is a fundamental ranking signal for local search engine optimization, which makes it crucial that your GMB listing data is correct and up to date.
Research shows that more than half of all consumers visit a store or business the day they find it online using local search, like ‘auto service near me’; and over 80% of those searchers do not trust a businesses right out of the gate if they encounter incorrect details in the GMB listing. For this reason, you should always take extra care to keep your business name, address and phone number consistent across every online listing, including your website.
Find Out If Google Knows You
It is very possible that your business is already showing up in local search results. An easy way to find out is to go to Google and search for the name of your business and the city it is in: for example, billy’s electrical repairs in charlotte nc
Part of the search result is what is known as the Google map 3-pack, and you should see your business listed. If you do, this means is Google recognizes your business, but it doesn’t mean you have claimed your GMB page and control the information contained on it.
If you get a result like this:
Note that Billy’s electrical repairs is not displayed. Not only have you most likely not claimed your GMB listing, Google doesn’t even know you exist! This is not good on multiple levels, but I’m going to show you how to fix it.
If, on the other hand, you get results like the one below (I’ve highlighted the listing in red for emphasis):
You are ahead of the game. It means Google knows who you are. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have claimed your GMB listing. Now to the good stuff. How to set up your Google My Business listing.
Setting Up Your GMB Listing
Enter Your Business Name
You should be prompted with a page that looks something like the one shown below. Enter your business name. Google will either find your business or prompt you to create a new listing.
Choose Your Main Business Category
Choose a primary category for your business. This is important for how Google classifies your business when people search. Don’t worry if you have multiple categories because you can add those later. For now, if electrical repair is the core of what you do, make that your primary category. If you do furnace repair, hot water heater replacements, home wiring, too, you can add those later.
How Do You Serve Customers?
For the sake of service location, map placement, and local search optimization, Google needs to know how you serve your customers. Do they come to you? Do you go to them? Do you have an office, storefront, or a mobile truck? These are all very important considerations so that your business gets the attention it deserves when people are trying to find you, or someone like you, near them or in a particular locale. So, be as specific as possible here.
Where Do You Serve Customers?
This is the opportunity to let Google know where you work. Do you just work in the city or do you go into rural areas 100 miles out?
This is a key consideration because it tells Google even though you may be located in a larger city or metro area, you travel outside of that area to serve customers. That means, when a prospective customer is looking for your service in another area — not the one your business is physically located in — you still get traction in Google search results as a provider for that area.
This all gets a little complex when you have a business with multiple physical locations, overlap of service areas, and even statewide or national reach, but for the sake of this exercise, we’ll keep it simple. And, as indicated earlier, you can always change and add locations as needed at a later time.
There isn’t a more important step in creating and managing your Google My Business listing than verifying your address.
This is how Google really knows you exist, aside all the other information you provided earlier. Verifying your address is also the key to getting your location displayed on Google Maps and having it attached to your GMB listing.
Once you have followed the previous steps, Google will present you with a screen that looks like the one below. What they are asking for is THE location related to your business. It can’t be a PO Box. It won’t necessarily be displayed on your GMB listing, but you will have to provide a real, bonafide street address here.
Why? Because google is going to mail you an old-fashioned post card with a code on it that you will then use to verify your business.
The Google GMB Postcard
After completing the address verification entry, Google will send along the postcard they promised and it will look like this. We just happened to have a recent one lying around from a previous submittal.
You are instructed on the card — flimsy paper actually — on how to verify your business. Just go to google.com/verifymybusiness and enter the code.
Other Verification Methods
It’s important to note there are other ways to verify your business.
Google obviously needs to be able to prove that your business is where you say it is, and for entirely new GMB profiles, you may have other options, or a bulk option for if you have a lot of locations.
Phone verification. Some businesses have the option to verify their GMB listing by phone. You know you’re eligible when you see the Verify by phone option on the verification process page. This isn’t available to all businesses, and Google doesn’t make it entirely clear. It likely has something to do with having an established phone listing (with some age) in other places that Google can verify.
Email verification. Like phone verification, this option isn’t available to all businesses. You’ll know you qualify when you see this option. This is the easiest of all verification options and you simply get a verification by email. Just make sure the email address you enter is one you have access to.
A couple of other options exist for businesses who have a website connected to Google Search Console (not a surefire criteria, but required). Sometimes Google decides this is enough and will reward you with instant verification.
For businesses with multiple (more than 10) locations, there are also methods of doing bulk verification, but that method is not in the scope of this article.
When your GMB listing is verified, it doesn’t stop there! Now you get to tell the world everything they want or need to know about your business. The key here is to be persistent and keep it updated. It’s not a one-and-done exercise or fix.
Some things you can do now that you are verified:
- Add photos and videos to your GMB listing.
- Optimize your business description for GMB and local search.
- Use Google My Business Posts to show off your business capabilities.
- Use Google My Business Q&As to better understand your target audience.
This is a brief list of things you can, and need to do with your GMB listing. The central idea here is to make it complete and update it continuously. Add photos and videos, use it to promote special offers, manage your reviews and reputation, and above all, make it look alive.
We will frequently add content on GMB best practices. For now, go claim your business listing and get it under your control.
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