Back in 2014, Google launched a new product: Google My Business, which allowed businesses to modify the information appearing in Google Search, Maps and Google+. As well as that, it shows useful insights of your businesses online presence and allows you to view and manage reviews.
Having an updated profile in Google My Business is of vital importance as it is the best way to interact with users that are searching for local information or for your business information on Google. With just a glimpse, they are able to see your business address, phone number and opening hours and in many cases is the first contact they have with your business.
If local SEO is one of the boxes you are trying to tick then read on to find out how to optimise your Google My Business account.
How to login to Google My Business
The first thing you need is a business that is in line with Google Guidelines. I’m guessing this is why you are here so let’s skip to the next step.
If you want to add your business to Google My Business you will need a Google Account. If you already have it, login to Google My Business.
Be aware that, if you already have a Google+ account for your business, you should create your Google My Business with the email address you were using to manage your account. If you don’t, your Google My Business account will create a Google+ page and you may end up with two Google+ pages for your business.
Then, you will need to claim or add your business. Google is very smart and, even if you haven’t added your business to the listing, Google may already know about it and add it separately. If that’s the case, you’ll need to claim the business as yours and then verify that you are the owner. The most normal way to verify your business is via post, but some businesses will also have the option to verify immediately by phone or through Google Search Console.
Once you are inside Google My Business, you will have the option to add different locations for your business. If you only have one location from where you operate, you can simply edit your data on that one.
Edit Google My Business information
Now is when the fun begins. Open your Dashboard and the first thing you’ll see is your local information which can be edited from here. Below, you will see a number of metrics including business insights, Google Analytics information for your website and Google Adwords information (If you have created these accounts). You can also manage your reviews from the Dashboard and even access Google+ or YouTube.
But, with the focus on your Local Business information, let’s look at the different things that you can edit:
- Business Name: This one is pretty obvious. Add your business name and nothing else. This is no place to add keywords or explanations about how amazing the stuff you do is and why everyone should acquire that awesome service you are offering. You will have room for that below, so just add your business name as it appears on your website.
- Address: The address should also match the one appearing on your website. When you are adding the address, the platform will show you a map that marks the location you are entering, so make sure the marker is accurate and matches the exact address that you are adding.
- Phone Number: It’s recommended to use a local phone number. This number should be the same as the one you are using on your website or other listings.
- Website URL: One of the main elements of your listing will be your website. Verifying that you are the owner of the website and having this direct contact with Google will help improve the visibility of your site.
- Category: This section is also very important, as it’s the way you tell Google what your business is about. Unfortunately, you cannot personalise the category and you will have to choose the best fit for your business. Be aware that the first category you choose will appear as the main category of your business. You can add up to ten categories but make sure that the first category you choose is the one that best fits your business.
- Hours: This section provides information about the working hours of your business and is extremely helpful, especially for mobile searches, as often people will want to know if your business is open at the exact time they are searching for it.
- Introduction: This is the bit where you can add all the information you want about your site, and you have 4,000 characters to do so. An interesting feature of this field is that you can add Links to different sections of your site. They won’t add any value for link building purposes but it’s a good way to engage with searchers and take them to specific sections of your site.
- Photos: Google My Business also allows you to add photos in different sections. Make sure to add profile and a logo picture at the very least. You can also select the pictures that can be shown in Google Maps and as a Google+ Cover. If you own a physical store or a restaurant you should also add interior photos to show users what they may expect to find in your business.
Editing these elements should be enough to have an optimised profile for your business. And if you are wondering where you will see your listings in Google, there are 3 places where it may appear:
- Google Search
- Google Maps
So now you have everything you need to have a perfect Google My Business profile, which is the best starting point for a local SEO campaign. If you find any trouble setting up your account do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.