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GOOGLE MY BUSINESS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

If you haven’t set up a Google My Business account yet, we strongly recommend you do! GMB is a free tool that helps you take control of your business’ online presence and is the easiest way to make your business appear in local Google map packs. GMB helps your customers to find your business, learn your story, and easily connect with you. This will work across the standard Google search engine as well as Google Maps.
GMB lets you edit and manage the information that’s presented about your business and the services you offer, as well as display information like hours, website, and location, and even add pictures! Google reports that businesses who’ve added photos to their profile can receive on average 42% more requests for directions, and 35% more clicks than businesses that don’t include photos. GMB will also help you gather audience insights, search origin, and more that will help you better understand how to interact with your customer base.

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WHAT IS A GMB LISTING?

Google My Business listing is the information about your business that shows up on the right side of your screen when people search for your business online. It shows your business’ contact information, reviews, hours of operation, and other information that you think is relevant to potential customers. You can also add a link to your website, and a call now button for customers who want to contact you immediately.

WHY GMB IS IMPORTANT

When you fill out your GMB info, it adds you to Google’s 3-pack, the list of local businesses shown via Google Maps. Google 3-pack’s results are location-dependent and largely uses information users provide on their Google Business page. It’s one of the easiest ways to make your business show up on Google! Here’s an example of what it looks like when you’re listed in Google’s 3-pack.
When google is deciding who to show for results, it primarily looks at 3 factors and your GMB listing contributes to all three:

How To Set Your GMB Listing Up

We’ll walk you through the basics of how to set up your Google My Business listing, but if you’re looking for more info, check out this blog we’ve written on how to set up google business listings, as well as < brightlocal’s blog.

Find Your Google My Business Listing

First, find your GMG listing. You’ll want to go here: https://business.google.com/u/3/create then type in your business’ name and address.

Decide what kind of listing you need

Deciding what kind of GMB listing your business will need based on your model. There are a few different options for you to choose from:

Single Location

This is for businesses with only one physical brick & mortar location that customers can visit. It requires only one GMB listing with a visible address, and includes a high quality page for each product or service your business offers.

Multi-Location with 1 Physical Location

This is for businesses that have multiple locations, but only one brick & mortar location that customers can visit. It requires one GMB listing which will allow you to edit the service areas, and will include a page for each service as well as each major city you offer services in.

Multi-Location with Multiple Physical Locations

This is for businesses that have multiple brick & mortar locations that customers can visit. It requires that you create one GMB listing, and add all of your locations, including a page for each service, as well as a page for each physical location with NAP (name, address, phone number) at the top of the page.

Home-Based

This type of listing is for businesses that don’t have a physical location or office. When presented with the “add a location” option, select “no”. Google will now ask you to define your service area. You can enter up to 20 locations here, using a mix of city names, zip codes, counties, and countries. You can also hide the address if you don’t want it to be public.

Pick Your Business Categories

Now, you’ll need to pick your business categories. These categories describe your business and the services you offer. Google currently offers over 3,900 categories (you can find a full list of them here ), but only allows you to select 10 for your business with 1 primary category.
It’s important to properly categorize your business. For example, if you run a plumbing business, plumber should be your primary category, which Google favors. If you also do Kitchen & Bath Remodeling or HVAC, you can add them as secondary categories. Don’t feel obligated to use all 10 categories. The more specific your business is, the more relevance Google believes you have for the categories you did pick.
Additionally, be specific as possible in order to lower your competition whenever possible. If you have an appliance repair business, for example, you might consider using ‘small appliance repair service’ instead of ‘appliance repair service’.

GMB CONTACT INFO

While slight variations in standard abbreviations like Avenue vs. Ave. don’t tend to impact how easily Google can find links between addresses, bigger differences may lead Google to assume the two addresses above are for different businesses. That can cause problems for you – both for customers trying to find your business and Google, who uses your other online listings to help verify your business is legit and ultimately helps you rank for your business name.
So, it’s a good idea to stay as consistent as possible. Use the same, exact business name across the web. And when writing your business’ phone number, address, etc., use Google’s recommendations and write your business’ contact information listings the exact same as Google displays it on your website, social media profiles, and other online listings.
To track calls coming from your Google My Business listing without negatively impacting contact information’s consistency:
Additionally, you can add an appointment link to your profile so customers can schedule service appointments online.

GMB REVIEWS

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, it’s time to get your business set up so it starts recording reviews. Keep in mind that enabling reviews impacts your prominence, relevance, and distance. To get started, head over to the Google Review Link Generator. You can also share it under Google My Business > Info > Share Your Business Profile.
Ideally, you want reviewers to use the city name or relevant keywords in your reviews because it sends signals to Google that you are a trusted local business. Mentions of specific services you provide in particular will increase your relevance in Google’s local 3-pack.
Be sure to respond to every review, even if they’re negative. Google values engagement, and it gives you the chance to redeem yourself! Plus, potential customers are looking at those too to see if you’re addressing the negative reviews in a positive way.
Avoid taking any negative feedback personally. We understand how important your business is, but if you snap at a customer online for a negative review, you’re telling potential customers more about you than the person that left the bad review. Keep your responses simple and leave an opportunity for them to reach out to you personally to talk about and fix the issue.
At the end of the day, people just want to feel heard. If you resolve the issue, there’s a good chance the customer will edit their previous review to reflect the new outcome.
Download the Google My Business app to get real-time notifications and response to messages via your mobile device.

ADDITIONAL TIPS ON SETTING UP YOUR GMB

Here’s a few more tips on how to get to the top of Google’s 3-Pack:
And just like that, you’re ready to go! Now that you’re set up on GMB, potential customers will have a far easier way to reach you, and will be able to get to know your business better. Don’t forget to add photos to your listing to boost your chances of acquiring customers.

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