Every business leader with a website wants to get noticed in Google’s search results. Depending on your industry niche, content marketing strategy, and search engine marketing (SEM) efforts, it can be more or less difficult to rank for the keywords you’ve identified as important to your brand or offerings. While ranking for keyword searches is important, let’s not overlook one of the most important facets of being online – creating a Google My Business account.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free service companies can use to verify their organization and post information for searchers to see. This data pulls into Google’s products, including its search and Google Maps functions.
Often times, prospects and leads will turn to your Google My Business profile to research your company before they agree to do business with you. For this reason, your business needs to ensure it optimizes the opportunities available through Google My Business. This includes developing and maintaining a great profile that clearly demonstrates your value proposition.
What is Google My Business?
Simply put, Google My Business (GMB) is your online business listing. If someone uses Google to search your business or one of its branded keywords, Google will try to serve a data-rich snippet of information that provides your contact information, top website links, customer reviews, and links to your social media profiles.
There are ways businesses can customize this information to show important aspects of the business while minimizing others.
Aside from basic profile information, companies can also post content updates that link back to the website and provide searchers a smoother pathway to conversion. If you’re posting content to your website regularly, consider repurposing some of it to your Google My Business account to show you’re an active thought leader. You can also use it to monitor and respond to customer reviews (either positive or negative) to build a more positive impression of your organization.
Why Use a Google My Business Account?
Of the many reasons your business should consider using a Google My Business account, two stand out as most important:
- Reputation Management: Companies that show up via GMB are more than twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. This is partially due to the detailed verification process businesses must go through, but is also because companies are more accountable to responding to customer feedback and it is very difficult to “cheat” Google’s business review/rating system.
- Local Search: Billions of searches happen each day on Google. Over one-third of these searches have “local” intent, such as a user searching “marketing agencies Toronto”. To be a recommended business via Google when someone searches for this, you need to have a Google My Business account and optimize it to include reference of “marketing agency”.
How to Register Your Account on Google My Business
Registering your Google My Business account requires more than just your company name, address, and phone number. You should have a strategy in place for how to develop it that incorporates all of its unique data features; this ensures your profile will have maximum visibility once launched. If your company does not have a formal Google My Business strategy, consider developing one or contacting a professional marketing agency to support you.
Google My Business accounts are not difficult to setup, but should have a formalized strategic process in place to ensure you’re getting the most out of every feature.
To setup an GMB profile, you’ll need an active Gmail account; this account will be used (at least during setup) as the business administrator. This person’s Gmail account offers unrestricted access into GMB setup and they can also assign administrator permissions to other members of the organization who need to access the account.
Create a Google My Business Account
When you’ve identified the Gmail account you’ll use to develop the company profile, start the following step-by-step instructions:
- Create an account using a Gmail address.
- Skip verification (you can choose a method to validate later).
- Click continue (agree to the terms and conditions).
- Enter the name of your business and fill in the rest of the fields appropriately. Make sure everything is spelt correctly and full address is included so it can be viewed correctly across the internet.
- Category – the primary category is the main search keyword. Select the category most suited to your business. Additional categories can be entered later.
- Commercial/residential address – be sure to check “deliver goods and services” if commercial.
- Before your listing goes live, verification is necessary. Verification is usually done by mail (preferred method) but there are other options to choose from.
- When you select “Mail postcard”, Google will send a validation code to the commercial/residential address provided. When received (typically within 12 days), login and verify by entering the code.
- Google My Business also lets you enhance your profile by adding:
- Multiple Locations;
- Content posts/updates;
- Photos/videos; and
- You may need to claim an existing Google My Business listing if someone has previously set it up or if it hasn’t been claimed previously. A verification process is necessary to confirm ownership prior to updating any content – this is generally done by a phone call or online chat.
Top Tips: How to Succeed with Google My Business
Alright, so you know how to create a Google My Business account. While this is important, a lot of companies have a basic Google My Business presence and you need to do more to stand out. It’s critical to put more effort in than the minimal requirements to get the most out of the platform.
Spending an hour or two every month to review your Google My Business profile is a great way to ensure your company keeps its profile up-to-date.
Some of the ways we recommend spending your post-setup Google My Business time includes:
- Choose company/product/service categories as accurately as possible;
- Provide as much data as you can – use every section to its fullest potential;
- Checking that your phone number is accurate;
- Check your opening times – remember to update for holidays;
- Review your photos – ensure they’re accurate and representative;
- Keep your listing aligned with your website’s branding and messaging;
- Add posts to enhance your profile and create lead conversion pathways;
- Manage reviews and respond to both positive and negative comments; and
- Above all, keep your data up-to-date.
It’s critical to remember that you can’t just “set it and forget it”. Instead, you need to constantly monitor, review and update when required. Successful businesses change over time; when your business’ information changes, you need to let searchers know about it.
Get Started: Access Support for Digital Marketing Activities
The tips offered in this article for adding your company to Google My Business are just some of the top ways your organization can succeed more online. Remember, Google is just one search engine and its Google My Business platform is just one way that online leads are trying to find and evaluate you. Make sure to use a wealth of tools and strategies to build your digital footprint.
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