Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It’s essential if you want to appear in maps and in the local pack listings which are returned for local queries.

The only requirement for using GMB is that you must have a visiting address to enable your customers to have some face-to-face interaction with you, which means you can’t contact them online or by phone only. Your company won’t be registered if you operate online only, for example, if you are an online school without an office.

Your company rating (likes and reviews), distance to the place and users’ personal interests have the biggest influence on the listing.

Google must comply with sanctions imposed by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As a result, Google My Business currently does not support businesses in: Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria.

Google My Business is also not supported in China.

How to Sign Up for Google My Business  

To register a new business, go to the site and click on Start Now.

Enter the name of your business. This stage is necessary to avoid duplication. So enter the unique name of your company or you can also select your chain from the suggestions that appear as you type. It’s impossible to change your company’s name once it’s been founded so be careful while completing this field. Google policy doesn’t allow to use double names and names containing keywords. For example, if you are a language school owner, your company can’t be named “School of English” or “English Language School”. It’s a policy breach unless It’s a part of an official name, so it could result in your listing being suspended. Service information is best represented by categories.

Then, enter the address of the business location and choose your business category. This is a very important field that will not only strongly influence the kinds of search terms you appear in Google for, but also appear within your Google My Business profile. There are plenty of categories such as “SEM service”, “tea shop” or “insurance agent”. Here you can find a comprehensive (not official) list of categories.

There are 4000 categories to choose from, so select the one that suits you best. Remember, you aren’t allowed to create any new personal categories.

 

If you have two companies on the same address, for example, there is a restaurant located within your hotel premises, you should create two separate objects – a hotel and a restaurant.  

Some Google My Business features are category-specific. For example, hotel listings show class ratings and list any amenities offered.

After that, enter your contact phone number. It should be real as it might be verified during working hours to check if the company really operates. If phone number verification is failed, the company account might be suspended.

You’ll also have the option to create a free website based on your information. However, bear in mind that Google Maps will automatically show this free website to users instead of your main site. So, if you have your own working website, you’d better choose the option “I don’t need a website”.

Next, you’ll have to verify your business. Google may give you a different option to verify your business but for most business owners, you’ll have to wait for a postcard to be mailed to you from Google. With this process, a verification postcard will be sent to the address you entered earlier (it should reach you within 13 days). Once received, you can entered the code in your GMB account to verify the business.

Some businesses have the option to verify their listing over the phone (you’ll receive an automated message with a verification code) or by email (you receive a verification code in the inbox of the Google Account). There’s also instant verification, which is only available if you’ve already verified your business’ website with Google Search Console.

How to Bulk Upload

If you manage ten or more locations of the same business, you can use bulk upload.

You must have a business email address which uses your company’s own domain name, e.g.  dasha@uaa.com.ua, where uaa.com.ua is a domain name.

The next step is to create a location group to be able to share access to a set of locations with coworkers. For instance, you own a store chain with offices in different cities of the country and each of them has its own opening hours, photos and reviews.

Enter the name of your group and click Create. Now you can transfer existing locations to a location group or create a bulk upload spreadsheet.

To create your bulk upload spreadsheet click Add location – Import locations – Download the template. Complete all the fields properly, click here to see the requirements. Here’s a sample spreadsheet.

After that, click Add location – Import locations – Select file. To accept the updates, click Apply.

Click the gear icon on the location group/business account you’d like to manage and click Manage users. Add the email address of the user to whom you’d like to send an invitation. You can invite them to be an owner or manager of the location group/business account.

How to View Insights for Your Business Listing

To see how different chain locations are performing, use Google My Business Insights, which focuses on how customers find your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after they find it.

You can access insights for individual listings or in bulk.

If you want to access insights in bulk, click Download Insights above the list of your locations. In the screen that open, next to the report you want, click Get report.

Select the time-frame for your Insights data, then click Download.

Make sure your listings are all verified, as Insights are only available for verified listings.

To access Insights for individual listings open the listing you’d like to manage. Click Insights from the menu.

Google Insights provides you different ways to understand how customers interact with your listing:

  • How customers find your listing (direct or discovery searches)
  • Search queries
  • Where customers find you on Google (Search or Maps)
  • Customer actions (visit your website, request directions, call you)
  • Direction requests (this section shows where customers are when they request directions to your business.)
  • Phone calls (when and how often customers call you)
  • Photos (how many times your photos have been viewed)

How to Link Your Google My Business & AdWords Accounts

If you want to advertise your business locations on Google, you can request to link your advertising account to your Google My Business account. If you are sure that the Google My Business email address and Google Ads email address are the same, click Ad Extensions – click on the Extensions – click the blue + button – select the connected My Business account from the drop-down menu.

If the email address isn’t the same, you’ll need to login to Google Ads and provide Admin access to the email address associated with the Google My Business account. Once you have confirmed that the Google My Business account has adequate access to the Google Ads account, you can link them.

To review and accept requests to link your Google My Business account click the Linked accounts tab. Under Requests, click Approve or Decline.

If there are several locations in the account, Google ads will show the advertisement of the nearest location to the user making a query.

If you want to assign specific addresses to your account, or to particular campaigns or ad groups, then you can use the Google My Business filters.

To get a higher ranking in search results on Google Maps, select to advertise with Google search partners.

How to Optimize Google My Business or Unobvious Life Hacks

To get the highest Google My Business ranking make sure to do the following:

  1. Complete your business information: address, opening hours, services, website, add a description, company’s history, upload images. If you don’t provide this information, your competitors will definitely do it.
  2. One of the most important GMB listing ranking factors is the number and quality of reviews. Responding to reviews improves your business visibility, especially on local search. However, never try to fake Google reviews. Google can recognize and delete them. Ask your satisfied customers for reviews after you complete a job. It’s desirable that reviews contain the name of the service provided, location and other details.      You can also incentivize your customers by offering them a discount for the next purchase providing they make a comment. Be respectful towards your customers, even if they’ve made a negative comment. You can reply to reviews directly from your business profile on Google Maps from your computer, through the Google My Business app, or opening its homepage.
  3. Use GMB free messaging to communicate with your clients. You can enable your clients to message you directly from your Google My Business listing. This feature allows you to respond to queries quickly and share information. It’s available for download on App Store and Google Play.
  4. Business photos and videos have great potential to increase your online visibility.
  5. You can use Google My Business posts to tell your customers about events, offers/specials, product updates, announcements.

By checking your GMB insights, you can find out how well your Google My Business posts are performing. Your listing looks more attractive on search hits. If you don’t know what to post, there are some examples of GMB posts provided by Google. You can also view what other businesses are posting. Here, you can also add products or choose a call to action.

When you post something on Google My Business without a date, it will show in search results for only 7 days. If you want it to last longer, set any final date of your special offer.

To conclude, Google My Business is an efficient tool which helps promote local businesses online. It’s indispensable to reach and engage with local customers across Google Search and Maps.