Google My Business: what it is for and how it works in 9 steps

The Google My Business tool, recently renamed by the company to Google Business Profile (GBP), is offered by the world’s most visited search engine.

It allows your business to attract new potential customers by providing details and photos of your business via a Google search, including location with Maps, services, and products with Google Shopping, user reviews, and other useful information.

It is an indispensable tool for those who run a business and want to have an online presence, for those who have a physical location (restaurant, physical shop, etc.), and also for those who provide services with customer meetings in other locations (such as a consultant, craftsman, and so on).

If, on the other hand, you have an entirely online business, you will need to evaluate other tools such as Google Analytics and Google ADS.

In this article, I will help you manage your company’s online presence step by step; from the creation of your company account on Google Business to the development of an effective marketing strategy, which you can deepen and refine in the Digital Marketing Course.

What Google My Business is for

Google My Business, recently replaced by the name Google Business Profile with new simplified features to facilitate interactions with users, tells Internet users how and where to visit your business by providing useful information such as business hours, physical location address contact details, website or social channels, and other essential details as required.

Today, the search intent of 30% of mobile searches on Google is local, i.e. they are made to find a physical exercise close to the user, able to satisfy a need of the moment. It follows that the choice of the outlet where to make the purchase or use the service is “influenced” by the results shown by the search engine.

A Google Business profile also improves your local SEO by bringing visibility to your local business.

For users searching for a nearby business using Google Maps at no cost, it allows them to view useful content about your business such as relevant images, reviews, and services, and be able to have direct interaction to get useful information via a call or from the “questions and answers” section all directly from Google SERPs.

Finally, with My Business Profile, you can use your user dashboard to get important t information about your audience and local search performance. In the analytics tab, you can see the list of queries that users use in finding your business profile, and it will indicate whether they find you on SERP or not.

This can be very useful for implementing future marketing strategies and obtaining useful data free of charge.

Google My Business: how it works in 9 steps

If your company falls into one of the authorized categories, then it is time for you to learn how to activate Google My Business step by step.

Here are the 9 indispensable steps to create and optimize your profile on the Google My Business app.

1. Sign in or register for a Google Business Account

The first thing to ask is: how to access Google Business? It is very simple. To list your business on Google, you need to have a Gmail e-mail address to associate with your new business card. If you don’t have one, sign up for a Google Account in just two minutes.

If you already have a professional Gmail address, use the same credentials to register for Google My Business by clicking on theManage Now” button.

After this step, the whole process of creating your company profile will take place.

2. Create your business profile

Once you have clicked on the registration button, you can create a Google My Business tab for your business. Your business may be already listed on Google, probably because it has already been added by someone else in the past.

This is why My Business asks for a confirmation to verify your business information, to avoid a duplicate page of the same company. If your name does not appear among the suggested search results, then you can create a new profile by clicking on “Add your business on Google”.

google my business listing

When creating a new tab, the first information to be entered is the name of the business and the category that best describes it among the many that it offers. It is important to choose the most relevant category because this affects the search engine ranking.

Next, you are asked to add the address of the location, which is not mandatory but necessary if you want customers to reach you by typing in the search engine.

You can also specify the area covered by the service, in case your business makes home deliveries, for example. To do this you must answer “yes” to the question “Do you make deliveries or visits to your home or office?”; then a bar will open in which you can enter the locations.

This information is optional and can be added or changed at a later date. If your business does not require a physical location open to the public, the specific location will not be displayed on Google Maps, however, the business will still be displayed for relevant searches in its service area.

The last field to be filled in before the board is created is that of contact information, i.e. enter telephone number (it is advisable to put the company’s) and website. Among other options, it is also possible to have the platform create a free website that automatically updates itself according to the information you release on the board already optimized for mobile.

setup contact details google

For this action, Google uses the information and images from your business profile that you have previously entered and will create a site for you that you can customize with additional themes, images, and text.

If you change any information on your profile, such as the telephone number or opening hours, this will also be automatically updated on the website created by the platform.

To sum up, the data that are requested when creating a new online company profile on Google My Business are:

  • name of the business;
  • main category;
  • address;
  • area covered by the service (optional);
  • telephone number;
  • website.

3. Check your business activity

To appear on Google Business, you need verification of your business, which serves to make sure that you are the owner.

How do you check activity on Google My Business? There are several methods to do this. If you have entered your phone number, the quickest procedure is by SMS or a confirmation call.

Sometimes, however, a more secure method is required, that of the verification postcard: by clicking on the “Send” button, within 12 days a code to be entered on the platform arrives by post at the business address.

Once verified, your business listing will be visible on both Google and the Maps application.

What should I do if the Google My Business card does not arrive? In this case, you can request a new verification code by logging into the platform and clicking on “Submit again” on the verification page. Alternatively, you can always use the other verification methods by e-mail, telephone, or via Google Search Console (only if you have a website that has already been verified).

Once you have completed the verification procedure, you can manage your Google Business Profile Manager and enter the backend of the board.

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4. Optimize the tab according to local SEO

The main goal to be reached by new customers is to optimize the board according to local SEO.

Why is it important to do SEO and rank well on Google? Approximately 85% of all searches take place on this search engine, with the prospect of nearly 4 billion searches per day, of which the number of click-throughs for each result on the SERP has fallen dramatically to two pages.

how google my business works

In practice, your potential customers could easily find what they need already on the first page of Google results.

For this reason, Google My Business is a key tool for implementing a marketing strategy, and local search ranking is based on the following factors:

  • Relevance: insert relevant information to make your card match a search well;
  • Distance: ranking well on Google Maps from the required search;
  • Relevance: how well-known your business is (based on factors such as the number of reviews, ratings, SEO, useful information, and links).

5. Complete the company profile

Managing your Google My Business account depends to a large extent on the information you enter. With a complete company profile, the level of authority and interest increases, but above all you have a better chance of meeting the user’s needs.

Don’t leave any information to chance as every piece of information favors the SEO factor that influences ranking on Google. Make sure that your board has effective communication showing what your business does, where it is located, how to shop, opening and closing times, and services available, and a section of useful information to be updated periodically.

6. Reviews

Google My Business reviews are a key element in building trust and credibility and impact Local SEO. Google’s written reviews and star rating section allow customers to share their opinions or provide useful information to other users based on their experience with your business. This is one of the crucial sections of your business as it influences the thinking of future potential customers on their decision to buy your business.

Reviews are always public and cannot be deleted from one’s account but only users have the power to edit or delete their comments, as the owner of the profile you can instead read and respond to reviews by giving feedback on the comment and directly giving assistance on Google My Business.

A useful tip is to always comment also on negative reviews that may arrive while maintaining a correct and professional profile to bring confidence to the visitor reading the comments.

But do not worry if you find a customer dissatisfied with one of your services: the search engine considers that a combination of both positive and negative reviews can be more reliable than a profile with only positive reviews.

 

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7. Build engagement

Within the Google My Business tabs there are many additional functionalities with which you can create a relationship with potential customers, such as posts and the product catalog, which, if exploited strategically, can be an advantage to distinguish you from your competitors.

Google Posts function in the same way as the most frequently used posts on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram; that is, they must be relevant and appealing to the audience.

With posts, you can publish offers, products, events, and services for informational purposes or to convince the user to purchase. In the case of events, you choose within which period between two dates to make the post visible.

my business engagement

If you own a shop the product catalog is another great tool to attract new customers and show them on Google My Business costs and products you want to sell with a preview. You could get new customers to find you by searching for a specific product.

Building engagement with the online audience is useful to create a relationship of trust and convince the same customer to return to the shop to buy new products or use the services offered again.

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8. Photo management

Photos are also a sign of relevance according to Google’s algorithm: they increase authority and create a first impression for the user. In the photo section of Google My Business, you can choose which images and videos to include to showcase your business.

Photos must be in JPG or PNG format, may not exceed 5 MB in size, and must faithfully represent reality (i.e. may not be edited or covered with filters); videos may last a maximum of 30 seconds, must have a resolution of at least 720 px and may not exceed a size of 75 MB.

Within the “photos” page there are at least six sections into which to divide them, which serve as compartments to reorder similar images or videos. In the case of some categories, there are special sections, e.g. “Food and Drink” for catering establishments.

Users can also add images and videos relevant to your business, enriching the gallery.

9. Analyze statistics

Another important section of the Google My Business menu is dedicated to statistics. Monitoring the data in the dashboard is important because it allows you to know how many people have shown interest in your brand and to constantly improve your marketing strategy aimed at local search.

Neglecting statistics would amount to making all the efforts made so far worthless, as you would not know whether and how many customers you are attracting thanks to your online presence, nor what information users are searching for most on your board.

By analyzing Google My Business statistics you will be able to know the total number of searches, i.e. how many customers find your business profile in searches and on Maps. But above all, how they found you, i.e. which path they took to view your profile.

Your business may appear as a result of:

  • Direct Searches: the user entered your company name in the search bar;
  • Discovery-type searches: searching for a relevant category, product, or service in the vicinity;
  • Brand-related searches: whether customers have searched for your brand or a related brand.

Another interesting statistic on the Google My Business Dashboard is the search views figure, which shows how many users found your business on the portal and how many found it via Maps. If you want to go into more detail, under “Customer actions” you can analyze user behavior within your profile.

The graph shows how many potential customers have gone beyond just viewing: those who visit the website, those who click on directions, and those who call your company. You can also see how many times users call directly from the tab button or how often images and videos are viewed.

Finally, the item “What characterizes your business” differs from the other previous parameters because it is a qualitative statistic, i.e. it does not numerically measure a quantity of data but is nevertheless important because it shows the opinions of individual customers who have already visited your business premises.

These opinions, which are different from reviews, are shown on your board in the form of useful information for the user about the atmosphere of a location.

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How much does Google My Business cost?

By now you may have asked yourself: but how much does Google My Business cost?

Google’s My Business profile is an entirely free business listing and gives enormous advantages for having an online presence on search engines. In particular on the Maps navigation platform and, in the case of hotels, also in the Google Travel application.

Connecting My Business to other platforms

Google My Business is not the only local search system. As mentioned above, to make a good local marketing strategy, the company must be also relevant outside the search engine.

Fortunately, it is possible to link Google My Business to other platforms. You can link your business’s tab to a Facebook page to show social media reviews within the search engine, or link to your Google Ads account to integrate the two tools and run local campaigns.

Connecting Google My Business to Facebook

By linking Google My Business and your Facebook account, you can add social media reviews in a separate section of your business tab. This cannot be done manually but is done automatically by Google if the Facebook page of the business has a relevant number of reviews.

Once the connection has been made, a box appears on the board with the average mark and the number of marks.

Connecting Google My Business to Google Ads

Google Ads is the tool that manages all paid Google ads. Linking Google My Business to Google Ads, therefore, allows you to enhance your marketing campaign locally, using ad extensions. Ad extensions are elements that are added to the ad, giving the potential customer additional reasons to choose your company and get in touch with you more quickly.

link google my business to google ads

If you want to associate a Google My Business account of your own with Ads, first of all, you need to make sure that your business card is verified and that the email is the same for both tools. Then follow the procedure:

  • linked to the Google Ads account;
  • then check and go to the “Ads and Extensions” section located in the main menu;
  • click on the blue “+” button and then on “Location Extensions”;
  • click on “Link an account whose address I know”;
  • choose the option “Select a Google My Business account that I manage” and select the account in the drop-down menu;
  • click on “Continue”;
  • if you are prompted, filter by business name or labels, then click on finish.

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How to delete your company from Google

If you have decided to permanently close your business or for any other reason want to delete your company from Google, log into Google My Business from your computer and follow these simple steps:

  1. click on “Information” in the navigation menu on the left;
  2. Scroll to the right and you will find the section “Close this activity on Google”;
  3. according to your needs click on the button “Mark as permanently closed” or “Remove card”;
  4. select “Close Task” or “Remove” depending on your previous choice.

Once your company’s profile is removed, you will no longer be able to manage the board and if you change your mind, you will be forced to repeat the verification process.

Conclusion and Free Strategic Consulting

Google My Business is a free tool that is as easy to use as it is necessary to promote your business online. With this quick guide, you can take the first steps to create a local SEO strategy and have a good online presence via the world’s most used search engine.

I would like to leave you with one last piece of advice: make your online communication faithfully represent your business if you want to earn money through the fantastic world of digital marketing.

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