What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that Google created to help local businesses appear in Google and Google Maps.  When you claim your Google My Business listing, you will be able to show your business hours, website, phone number, and much more which we will talk about below. 

How Do I Set Up Google My Business?

Setting up your Google My Business listing is relatively easy.  Here is a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly what you will need to do to set it up.  

Step 1: Go To https://www.google.com/business/

The first step is visiting the Google My Business homepage where you will begin the process. 

Google My Business homepage

Step 2: Click Manage Now

Once you are on the Google My Business landing page, you will then click on “Manage Now”.  

Google My Business step-by-step guide

Step 3: Sign In

Sign in to your Gmail account that you want to use to manage the Google My Business listing that we are creating.  

Step 4: Click “Add Your Business to Google”

If your business does not yet exist on Google, you will want to click “Add Your Business to Google”. 

Find and manage your Google My Business listing

Step 5: Add your Business Name (This Will Appear in Google My Business)

Add the business name that you want to appear in Google.  This name should match the name of your business.

Step 6: Add Your Business Category

Add your business category into the listing.  You will be able to edit this later but you will want to add the category that your business is in.  

Step 7: Say If You Are Serving Customers At Your Location

If you are a local business that has a storefront, you will want to add your address and say that you are serving customers.  If you are a virtual business like The MarketingU, you will want to click “no”. 

Are you serving customers at your address?

Step 8: Note Your Service Area

If you are looking to serve your customers outside of your physical address you will want to add your service areas.  You will be able to add more later, but this your first chance to add local towns.  

Type in your service areas

Step 9: Add Your Phone Number and Website

Once again, you will be able to edit this information later, but I suggest putting both your phone number and your website into Google My Business. This will help make it easy for customers to get into contact with you.  

Step 10: Verify Your Mailing Address

Don’t worry, this address won’t show on Google but it is needed in a few future steps in setting up your Google My Business listing. 

Step 11: Add Your Business Hours

You will be able to change your business hours as your business grows but you will want to add business hours in this step.  Click save once you are finished. 

Step 12: Add Messaging

While this is not a necessary step, it can be helpful if you want to drive additional leads.  You can say whether you want to accept messages. 

Do you want customers to message you through Google My Business

Step 13: ‘Add Your Business Description

You have 750 characters to describe your business. You will want to add words that shoppers might be searching for in your description.  Try to make it as long as possible because it will give you extra opportunities to rank your listing. 

Step 14: Add Photos

Research has shown that businesses with 100 or more photos have a higher click-through-rate than others, but I know this can be very hard to accomplish.  The MarketingU doesn’t have enough photos to put 100 on our listing.  So just put as many as you can here. 

Step 15: Finish it up

Lastly, you will want to click continue and finish up your business listing.  Click on the listing and click verify.  You will be asked if you would like to receive a postcard from Google.  This is the main way that Google verifies new businesses.  CONGRATULATIONS, you now have a google My Business listing.  

Understanding Google My Business

Undering all of the features that you listing offers cna be overwhelming at first, but you will get a hang of it as you work.  We talk about the difference between a service area listing and a physical address listing, how to setup additional locations and more in this section. 

Service Area Business vs Physical Address

There are two different types of Google My Business listings; Service area businesses and a physical address business. 

A service area business listing does not include a physical address and you will want to focus on the local towns.  You will be able to add up to 20 areas that your business serves.  This type of listing will not display an address and therefore will not give your customers the option to click “directions”. 

A physical address business, on the other hand, will display your business address and give customers the option to get directions there.  You can still add plenty of service areas.  We suggest targeting the towns that have a higher population so that you display your business to the highest number of people. 

Request Access to Google My Business

If your Google My Business listing already exists you can request access to it.  To do this, refer to step 4 but instead of clicking “Add your Business to Google”, you will just type in the name of the business.  From there, you will have to request a postcard and follow up with the code that is sent on the postcard.  

Add a Second Location to Google My Business

To add a second location to Google My Business, you will want to go to the page where you see your listing and click “add business”.

Add a second location to Google My Business

From there, you will go through the same steps as above to add your business listing to your account.  

Google My Business Groups

If you would like to stay organized with many locations, you can create a group in Google My Business. This will group as many locations as you would like together, making it easier to find them when you want to create Google My Business posts. 

Google My Business Info

There are so many components that go into your Google My Business listing.  We will go over each one that you will find in the info section of your listing.

  • Business Name: Your Google My Business name will appear on Google.  Try to make sure that it matches your other online presence, whether that is your Facebook page, Yelp listing, or any other online directory. 
  • Categories: Your primary category will appear in Google when somebody finds your listing.  Try to make your primary category as targeted as possible.  For example, if you are a contractor who works on commercial properties, you might be able to make your primary category “commercial construction”.  You will be able to add additional categories to help your business rank in Google.

    While these will not appear on the Google Search Results page, Google sees them so make sure that they are relevant to your business.
  • Address: Your address will only appear if you told Google that you are a local business who is looking to serve customers at a physical address.  If you are a virtual business like The MarketingU, you won’t have to worry about this.
  • Service Areas: Your service areas are vital in setting up your Google My Business listing.  If you tell Google where you serve customers, they are more likely to show your listing in that area.  Since you can only have 20 service areas, target towns with higher populations. 
  • Hours:  The hours section is where you will want to put your normal business hours.  Make sure that these are accurate because the last thing that you want to do is note that you are open but have the customer come and have nobody there. Many users rely on the hours that they see on Google My Business.
  • Special Hours: If there is a holiday that you are closed or have limited hours, you will want to add that in this section.  Adding special hours will give your customers the opportunity to see when you are open and when you are closed.
  • Website: Your website is the most important part of the Google My Business listing.  We talk about adding URL parameters to your listing in other posts so you can check them out here.
  • Appointment Links: If you take online appointments, you can add your appointment link in here.  If you want to just link this to your contact us page, that works as well!
  • Products: Products are a relatively new section of your Google My Business listing.  This is where you will link to each service or product that you offer. 

    If you are a general contractor, you could link a product to your page about kitchen remodeling and create another product that links to bathroom remodeling.  This makes it easier for customers to find exactly what they are searching for. 
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  • Services: Your services section is similar to the above but it allows you to just tell Google what your business does.  If you do not have separate pages for each service that you offer, you can add your services into this section.  This is a screenshot of our services. 
The MarketingU services
  • Attributes: Your attributes section is based on the category that you picked.  Google will give you attribute ideas and you can choose whether to pick one or skip over this section.  They just tell customers what is unique or different about your business. 
  • Business Description: Your business description is where you will tell customers all about your business. You can enter up to 750 characters.  Try to use words that you think users will be searching for. 

How Do I Create Google My Business Posts?

You will want to create weekly Google My Business posts that advertise different elements of your business.  There are 4 types of posts that you will be able to create. 

  • Add Offer
  • Add Update
  • Add Event
  • Add Product

As you can see, each of these posts are good for different posts.  

If you have an offer that you are running, you will want to click “add offer”.  You will want to add a photo, your offer title, the start date and end date, and then put in the option criteria that appears when you click “Add More Details”.  Finally,  click publish.  This type of post will run until the end date that you set. 

Create a post in Google My Business

You can also click on “add update”.  This is where you will advertise any changes that are going on in your business.  If your business is adding a new service, you could advertise it here! This type of post will expire after 7 days so keep that in mind. 

Create an update post in Google My Business

Next, you can add a product.  We talked a lot about adding products above so I am not going to go into too much detail here.  These can be very helpful if you are trying to show users exactly what they are looking for. 

Create a product in Google My Business

Google My Business Post Image Size

You will want to make sure that your Google My Business post image size is 400×300 pixels. This is approximately 5.33×4 inches.  Google will automatically size it down if it is larger, but it will not size it up.

How To Link Google My Business to AdWords

If you are looking to add your AdWords account to Google My Business, you will want to click “LInk To Ads” in the bottom left-hand side of your listing. After this, you will follow the prompts that Google will give you.  These will include:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account
  2. Click “Ad Extensions” selecting view: Location extensions, 
  3. Click “+ Extension” and then request a link
Link Google My Business to Google Ads

Local 3-pack

The local 3-pack is the group of listings that appear when you type something like “Marketing Agency Near Me”.  You will get into this local 3-pack if your Google My Business listing is optimized.  In more competitive niches, you will also want to get as many great reviews as you can because it shows Google that they can trust you. 

What is the local 3-pack

To help increase your reviews, you can offer a discount in exchange for a review.  This will give your customers some incentive to take the time to leave a review. 

Google My Business Insights

The last feature in Google My Business that we are going to talk about today is Insights.  This feature is great if you want to analyze how successful your listing has been.  You can see many statistics including:

  • How Customers Search For Your Business (Direct or Discovery)
  • Where Customers View Your Business (Google Maps or Search)
  • Customer Actions (Visit your website, call you, or request directions)
  • Photo views
  • The ratio of customer photos to your own photos

Although these statistics are useful for different groups of people, we like to check them once per month to see if there is anything that we can do to enhance our listing. 

If you would like to save these listings in an Excel spreadsheet, you would:

  • Click “businesses” from the left hand menu
  • Check the box next to your business
  • Click “Actions”
  • Click “Insights”
  • Click “Next” (we always use the discovery insights)
  • Select the timeframe that you would like to see 
  • Click Download

If you have any questions about Google My Business listings or if you would like help in creating your own, reach out to The MarketingU! We can help your business be seen on Google.

Matt Reif

Matt Reif is a digital marketing expert that specializes in search engine optimization.He graduated from Millersville University in 2018 and has been working in the digital marketing space ever since. He went from working for a large multinational company, to working for a small but industry leading marketing agency where he did search engine optimization for car dealerships.