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The Essential Guide to Google My Business: 2020 Edition

Google my business logo

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business, also referred to as GMB, is a free tool that allows you to add your business as a listing in Google’s search results, as well as Google maps. The listing is packed full of features, such as location, hours, customer reviews, images, videos, and analytics to see how people are searching for you and finding you. This free Google my business listing allows you to easily connect and engage with customers from anywhere, even from the comfort of your own home with the mobile app!

Google My Business Contents Checklist

Before we get things started in this guide, familiarise yourself with the sections below so you understand their purpose and what they are designed to do for your business and it’s listing. We have divided the process into 3 sections: Phase One, Phase Two and Phase Three. GMB listings are extremely beneficial for small and large businesses, and it’s a great start if you’re just getting started with local SEO.

“72% of customers who performed a local search visited a store within 5 miles.”

We’ve compiled all of the tips mentioned throughout this article into a short, 3 minute video too!

Phase One Checklist: Google My Business Set-Up

  1. Create a GMB account
  2. Claim & Verify Your Business
  3. Download The GMB App for Free

Phase Two Checklist: Google My Business Optimisation

  1. Optimise Your Business Description
  2. Set Up Products & Services
  3. Set Up Short Profile Name @
  4. Set Up GMB Messaging
  5. Promote GMB Reviews

Phase Three: Analysing Google My Business Insights

  1. Analyse Queries To Up Your SEO
  2. Review Data on Google Search and Google Maps
  3. Review Customer Actions

Phase One: Google My Business Set-Up

Adding your business to Google has never been easier, and managing your Google my business account is more convenient too – you can monitor just from a glance at your phone. Below you’ll find a simple step by step guide to creating your Google My Business account.

Creating A Google My Business Listing

Step 1: If you don’t already have a Google Account, you need to set this up and be sure of the email address that you would like associated with your Google My Business account. This is important as it will be used for updates and notifications. 

Step 2: Go to this URL – https://business.google.com/create and select ‘Add Your Business To Google’

Step 3: Enter your business name, and ensure you double-check spelling and grammar

Step 4: Enter your business address – ensure this is correct as one of the verification options for your listing will include a postcard being sent to your business address with a PIN

Step 5: Choose your business category. It’s important to choose the most accurate category possible as this is a huge indicator to Google when it comes to what kind of customers should be seeing your listing

Step 6: Add business phone number and website URL

Step 7: Choose your preferred verification method

setting up a google my business account
Setting Up Your GMB Account

Verifying Your Business On Google

Although there are various options to verify your Google listing, some of these options only apply to specific businesses. 

By Phone – If you are eligible for the phone verification method, you should see a ‘Verify By Phone’ method when you begin the verification process. Ensure your phone number is correct, then click on ‘Verify By Phone’. You should then receive a code from the text you receive, input this on your screen and click verify. 

By Email – If you are eligible for the email verification method, you should see a ‘Verify by Email’ option when you begin the verification process. Ensure your email address is correct before you choose this method, and when you’re ready click ‘Verify By Email’. Go to your email to click on the verification email. It should be a button or link that tells you to click on it!

By Postcard – The postcard verification method is by far the most popular method for verifying. Ensure your business address is correct, and enter a contact name so it is addressed to the right person at your business. Once you click ‘Mail’ you should receive the postcard within 5 days, usually, Google can take a little longer. As soon as you receive the postcard, open your GMB account online, take the PIN and enter the 5 digit verification code to verify.

Instant Verification – The instant verification method is only eligible for those who have already verified their Google Search Console account. If you have done this, sign in to your GMB account with the same account you used to verify your business with GSC.

Bulk Verification – The bulk verification method is only eligible for businesses that operate more than 10 locations. This option, however, is not available for agencies managing multiple client locations. Log in to your GMB account and choose a location, click ‘Get Verified’. Once you have done this, click “Chain” and fill out the verification form with your business name and other contact information such as countries where you operate, contact names, account managers, email addresses, etc. Once you submit the verification form, wait up to 1 week for Google to review and process your claim.

google my business verification postcard
Postcard Verification Method

“The average business is found in 1,009 searches per month, with 84% of these coming from discovery searches”.

Download The Google My Business App

As the majority of the population now use their mobile phones to search, engage and interact, there’s no time like the present to download the app on your apple or android device. It only takes a few minutes to download, and then you can log in and manage your business and it’s location/s from your phone.

google my business in app store-min

Download GMB for Iphone

Download GMB for Android

Phase Two: Google My Business Optimisation

Optimising your Google listing can help your business get discovered in search results even more. With quality, well-written content that engages users, the higher the probability that they will click through to your website and convert. 

Optimising Your Business Description

Go to your account dashboard and click on ‘Info’ which will direct you to the page where all of your business information is, including your business description. It’s important to note that users can suggest edits to your profile (which you will be notified of and have the option to approve or decline), so getting it right the first time is better. Just like SEO, Google uses a number of factors to serve search results, so be sure to include your priority keywords in your description, and make it engaging for users to click through to your website.

Images also make a huge difference to Google listings. They are much more pleasing visually than reading content that is splattered here, there and everywhere. Listings with images perform better than listings that don’t have any at all. It’s important to build a brand that is trustworthy, and images and videos help portray trust, as well as brand awareness.

Setting Up Products & Services

Depending on what type of business you operate, you can set up either of these options or simply both! This is a great opportunity to showcase your services and products.

If you’re a large e-commerce website trying to determine which products to showcase on your Google My Business listing, we recommend taking your best sellers and categorising them. This makes it easier for users to view and navigate, rather than a large list of product variants that don’t really serve a purpose. Just like your website, you should consider the user experience of your GMB listing too!

google my business products and services

Adding Products To Your Listing

From your account dashboard, click on ‘Products’ in the left sidebar. Products that you showcase will sit below a product category which you will have to create when adding products.

Firstly, include the product name and click on ‘Create a New Category’, below you will then see a tab to implement what product category you would like to use. Essentially, this is a ‘Parent Category’ of your product. For example, if you were a local jewellers and you wanted to promote a princess cut diamond engagement ring, you could name the product category as ‘Diamond Rings’.

Fill out the additional information required, including the price, product description and a button with a link to direct users to the product page on your website. Finally, click on save! You can repeat the same process for as many products as you’d like in different categories.

Ideally, we would recommend including the top 10 products in each category.

Set Up Short Profile Name @

Google introduced short names which are essentially a shortened URL unique to your business listing. This feature is customised and allows customers to find your business listing using this unique link. Only verified GMB listings can obtain a short name.

You can set this up by going to your GMB dashboard and clicking on the ‘Info’ tab on the left-hand side. Click on ‘Add Profile Short Name” and enter yours up to 32 characters. If you enter your short name and an error message appears, it means that this particular name isn’t available, so you’ll have to try a different variation. Simply click apply and the change will be pending until approved.

Set Up Google My Business Messaging

The messaging feature on Google My Business is a quick, simple way for customers to message and connect with businesses, and vice versa. This feature is only available on mobile, so you will need to download the GMB app to set this up.

Once you have downloaded the app and logged in to your account, click on the ‘Customers’ tab. From here, you will be able to see 3 tabs at the top (reviews, messaging, followers), tap on the messaging tab to get started. A notification box will pop up – “Get Messages From Customers” and a blue box directing you to ‘Turn On’ your messages will be displayed. You will then be greeted with a notification that states you can now receive messages and your listing will have a new ‘Message’ button.

You also have the opportunity to set up an automatic, custom message to customers that message you. Below are a few examples you can go for:

  • Hello. How can we help you today?
  • Hi! Thanks so much for your message. We respond to enquiries within 2 hours!
  • Hi there! We appreciate your message and aim to respond to all enquiries as soon as we can.

To ensure you don’t miss any messages that are sent through your listing, turn on all notifications within settings on your phone. You can easily turn off messaging through the GMB app by visiting the messages tab, clicking on the three-button icon in the top right-hand corner and then ‘Messaging Settings’.

google my business messaging-min

Promote GMB Reviews

Building reputable and positive reviews is a crucial process when operating a business. Reviews greatly help potential customers decide whether you’re a trustworthy business, especially if you’re an e-commerce company. 

You can promote reviews on your GMB listing by using the short profile name link (that we mentioned earlier) and sending this to customers.

Phase Three: Analysing Google My Business Insights

google my business analytics-min

Analyse queries to up your SEO game! This feature is designed to show businesses how people are searching to find your local listing. It’s named ‘Queries Used to Find Your Business’ and it displays the most popular queries.

Go to your account dashboard and from the left-hand tabs, click on ‘Insights’.

You can search queries by different time periods – 1 week, 1 month and 1 quarter. By reviewing the search queries customers are using to find your listing, it provides better insights on your local search performance and how many interactions you are receiving based on the search queries. For example, if you spot search queries that hold little to no relevance to what your business does, customers are not finding what they are looking for and your listing is not attracting the right target audience. In this instance, reviewing your listing and re-optimising based on keywords would be your steps moving forward.

It’s important to note that the data under search queries may appear smaller than other metrics in this tab because 1) it only includes queries that meet Google’s privacy threshold and 2) search queries showcase the number of unique users.

“Many customers find businesses through Google Search and Maps. Google My Business Insights focuses on how customers find your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after they find it.” – Google

Review Data on Google Search and Google Maps

This section provides you with insights that show where customers are viewing your listing – in Google search or Google Maps. Google Maps is 6 x more popular than other navigation apps, and a study conducted by The Manifest shows 67% of smartphone users opt for Google maps over competitors.

If your data shows that your listing views are higher on Google Maps, it could suggest that more users are seeing your business listing on a mobile device. Search and Maps data ultimately lets you know how effective your mobile optimisation is!

Review Customer Actions

The customer action section gives you insights on what type of action a user is taking on your listing – from visiting your website, giving you a call, requesting directions and sending you a message. These are great insights to show you where you should be positioning your focus. If users are finding your GMB listing but not visiting your website or calling you, why might that be? If users are constantly requesting directions, you can use this knowledge to share posts and information to offer more visibility regarding parking, nearby facilities and more.

In Conclusion

Setting up a Google My Business listing is an ideal start to local search marketing and being found online. While GMB helps you get found, it’s important to remember for any local and e-commerce business that you require an integrated marketing strategy to reach your full potential and grow revenue, sales, and other critical metrics. 

If you require help with your local marketing or e-commerce marketing, we are a leading digital marketing agency built on transparency, dedication and digital success – get in touch or come and visit our talented digital team.