You’ve probably heard of Google My Business and you’ve almost definitely made use of it when searching for information on other companies, but how can you utilise it for you and your brand?
What is Google My Business?
GMB is a free tool that allows you to manage your presence in a Google Search and improve how your business appears on Google Maps.
Simply create a FREE account, enter your business details and verify (more on this later) to reap the rewards.
Why do I need GMB?
Most customers that find your business will do so via a Google search. When they do find you, it’s important that your brand looks professional, polished and up to date.
Accurate information, high quality images and a sense of who you are/what you offer may mean the difference between a potential customer heading to your website or heading elsewhere.
You can customise your business information to be displayed on your GMB profile including:
When requesting reviews from happy clients (which you’re already doing, right?), ask them to do so by finding your business on Google Maps and adding their review from there. That way, your reviews will be collated into you GMB account and be displayed when you come up in searches. You can also monitor the reviews as they come in and publish responses.
How do I get set up?
3: Fill out your business information as prompted- provide as much information as possible and be careful to choose a business category that’s as accurate as possible as this will affect the audiences that see your listing.
4: One you have entered all of your information, you will be asked to choose a verification option. This is so that Google can verify that the business is legitimate and is located at the address provided. The options are:
By postcard – a postcard is sent to you via post. It should arrive within 5 days and will contain a verification code- follow the instructions once received.
By phone – a code will be sent to your phone number which you then enter on screen.
By email – a code will be sent to your email address. Just click the link once received.
Instant verification – This is an option for those who have already verified their business with Google Search Console. If you haven’t, it won’t work.
Bulk verification – This is an option for those with 10 locations or more and who meet certain other criteria- unlikely if you’re a newbie reading this blog!
Make absolutely sure that your contact information is entered correctly before selecting a verification option- any adjustments done after wards may slow the process down, especially with the postal or text options as you may not receive your code at all!
If this does happen, you can request a new code by signing in and clicking the “Request Another Code” blue banner at the top of the screen.
You're all set up and verified - now what?
Get back in there and add some meat to the bones.
Log in to your account, select the name of your now verified business and go to ‘Info’ on the left hand side.
Fill out as much detail as you possibly can and, very importantly, add a profile and cover photo.
Your profile picture should ideally be a high quality logo so that customers can recognise your brand immediately.
The cover photo should be an image that represents your business and is your preferred image to be shown first on your listing (it won’t definitely appear as the first image but Google will know it is your preference).
You can also add other photos to show what services you offer and add personality to your brand which can only be a good thing!
Profile Photo Size: 250 x 250 pixels (minimum 120 x 120; maximum 5200 x 5300)
Cover Photo Size: 1080 x 608 pixels (minimum 480 x 270; maximum 2120 x 1192)
Format: JPG or PNG
Size: 10 KB – 5 MB
You can also add videos to your listing- great if you have a video that summarises your business and is high quality but don’t worry if you don’t have this- it’s more of a bonus. Videos must be:
- No longer than 30 seconds
- Maximum of 100 MB
- At least 720p resolution
Members of the public can ‘suggest an edit’ to your listing at anytime so:
a) make sure the information is up to date and correct
b) check your listing regularly to make sure no changes have been made
Excellent Google reviews are a clear marker for prospective clients that your business is worth further investigation.
Get in the habit of requesting reviews from happy clients and make it easy for them by providing them with a link to follow as some people find it tricky to leave a review via Google Maps:
Sign in to your account and click Home. In the ‘Get more reviews’ card, click ‘Share review form’. You can then copy the URL displayed in the pop up box to share with customers.
When you receive your amazing reviews, make sure you respond to them via your account. This will show you’re active and encourage other people to leave reviews too.
Using Google My Business is a great starting point in terms of SEO. It’s free, user-friendly and boosts your business instantaneously.