Setting up a Google my business listing may seem easy at first. The 2019 interface is very intuitive, so it seems. But it has many pitfalls to avoid.
If you are a local business owner and you are just starting out, you probably already know that Google will play a crucial part in driving customers through your doors.
Listing your business in Google My Business is essential if you want customers to find you online either through what is known as a knowledge panel like this one, the Google map pack like this one or the more generic google map results like this one.
In this video, I am going to show you not only how to claim your google my business listing but also how to optimise it from the very start, so customers can find you when they search for your services or products.
I’m luc durand the founder of rankingacademy.co.uk where I help small business owners like you with their online marketing efforts step by step and click by click.
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STEP N#1 Create a Google account
This is super quick and it’s free. If you already have a Google account justlogin . If you haven’t got a Google account yet you’re going to need to create one to manage your listing.
Go to google.com and click on the “sign in” button on the top right hand side then click on the “create account link”. Choose the “manage your business” option , if you don’t see a drop down simply click create an account.
Enter your details starting with your First name and last name then create an email address which you want to associate with your business.
You can either create a brand new Gmail address or, if you already have an address you use for your business which you’d prefer to use click on the “use my current email address instead.” and paste it in there.
I suggest you use this option so you don’t have to handle multiple email accounts.
Choose a password then click next. You will be sent a verification code which you’ll need to enter in order to complete the process.
If you don’t have a business email address simply create a google one. Complete the process by adding your phone number, date of birth and your gender then click on next. Confirm google’s term and conditions and then click on confirm.
Once you’ve created your account stay logged in and move on to the next step.
STEP N#2 Check if your business already exists on Google
Even if you’ve never created a listing before it is possible your business already exists in Google, especially if you’ve been operating for many years.
It is important you check if this is the case, otherwise there is a risk you might end up with two listings for the same business which could be problematic later on.
The easiest way to do this is to go to google and search for the following combinations
your “business name” and your “location”
Your business address
or your business phone number.
Try these combinations both in Google search and Google Maps
Following this you will be faced with three different scenarios:
Scenario number 1 No results come up which means your business is not listed yet and hasn’t been created. You can safely create your listing (demo) which i’ll cover in a minute in step 3
Scenario number 2 Your business is already listed but is unclaimed as shown in this example “Crazy Daze Face Painting” located in bloxwich”. You can tell is is unclaimed because there is a link asking if you own this Business.
If you were “Crazy Daze Face Painting” all you’d need to do is to click on the “own this business” link so you can start claiming your listing and follow the exact same process I will be covering in step 3.
Scenario number 3
You’re business has already been claimed, let’s say by a former employee. Try reaching out to them and ask them to change the ownership of that listing to you, failing that, Request ownership of the business listing through the Google Request ownership process located at url displayed on your screen https://support.google.com/business/answer/4566671
Moving on to
STEP N#3 Create your listing
Time to create your listing. For those of you whose business wasn’t listed already in Google
For those of you whose business was already listed but unclaimed, clicking on the “own this business” will take you to the same stage of the process. The only difference being, the fields will already be pre-filled.
All you’ll need to do will be to verify your business information is correct as you go through each stage..
Let’s go through the process of creating a listing from scratch step by step, starting with your business name.
This is simple enough. Add your business name in there but be careful. The business name you will be entering in this field must be a true representation of how your business is seen in the real world. Many local businesses add keywords to their business name so they can rank higher in Google maps.
If the name of your business is, let’s say “Molly’s Beauty salon”, and you are in detroit, then you should put Molly’s Beauty Salon in this field and not Molly’s beauty salon Detroit .
Once you’ve entered your business name just click next
You will then be asked if you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office.
Your business will fall into 3 different types
· You run a brick and mortar shop like our beauty salon’s example in which case you need to tick the Yes option (add circle to the yes option)
· You run a brick and mortar shop but also visit or deliver to customers such as a pizza restaurant that also does take out in which case you also need to tick the yes option. (add circle to the yes option)
· You run a business that involves visiting or delivering to customers directly, but you don’t conduct business at your address, typical examples would be plumbers, electricians etc… in which case you will need to tick the no option.
Let’s start with the first business type, a brick and mortar location which doesn’t deliver to customers.
Once you’ve selected yes and clicked next, enter the address where your business is located then click next.
You may see a map with a marker pointing to the spot where your store is located based on the address you’ve given. If this is the case make sure it is correct, if not reposition the marker then click next.
You will then be asked if you also serve customers outside your location. Tick no then click next.
If you fall into the second type of businesses i.e. you run a brick and mortar business and deliver to customers directly, follow the exact same process but tick the yes option when asked if you also serve customers outside your location.
Click next then add the areas where you deliver to customers by choosing cities or postcodes, then click next.
The final business type is for those of you who only visit or deliver to customers directly.
Let’s go back to the initial screen where you’re asked “if you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?
Select the “no” option then click next
Add the areas where you operate by choosing the cities or post code then click next.
Select the region where you are based then click next.
If you have followed this tutorial correctly, Whichever business type you fall into, you should all by now have reached the stage where you need to select the category that fits your business best. This is also known as your primary category.
This is a very important step. Google business categories are a very important ranking factors when it comes to showing your business in Google search results. It tells google what your business is about, and it will be visible on your listing.
There are many categories to choose from and picking the wrong one can be detrimental to the type of traffic you will be getting in google search results so choose very carefully.
Start typing what you think your category should be then select what is most fitting. Click next
Add your business phone number, your website address if you have one. Google also gives you the ability to build a webpage for free based on the information you have provide which you will be able to access and modify through Google my business.
Tick this box if you want to but I would recommend you invest in a real website instead. Once you’re done just click next.
You should now see a message telling you that all you need to do is verify your business.
Click on finish. You will be asked to choose a way to verify you are the genuine business owner of the listing you’ve created. This is done via postcard you will be receiving by Google in a few days at the address you have specified for your location, like this one, in which you will find a secret code that will enable you to verify your business.
If you haven’t specified an address, you will be able to do so in the very last stage as shown on this screen.
Click on next. Google will confirm the arrival of a postcard in a few days at which point you can verify your business so it is live on Google.
But we are better than that and we don’t want to waste any time. While you are waiting for the postcard verification to turn up, I strongly recommend you optimise your listing, so you hit the ground running as soon as it gets published on Google.
Let me show you how.
STEP N#4 Optimise your listing
Once you’ve completed your listing click on continue. You should automatically be redirected to your Google my business Home screen. If not go to https://www.google.com/business/ and log back in.
From the dashboard you should be able to see how complete your profile is. The more complete your listing will be the more likely you will be found in search results.
Lets start improving our chances.
On the left hand side menu click on the “info” option You should see a recap of the information available for your business starting with your name.
You can modify any of the sections by clicking on the pencil icon.
At this stage your name should be correct but if not change it.
Next thing is, your category. I told you category was super important for ranking and should be chosen carefully . When you’re initially setting up your listing you can only choose your primary category. Here, you have the option to add secondary ones. Use additional secondary categories which you think are relevant to your business. Don’t try adding anything that is mildly relevant hoping you will rank as it will have the opposite effect, and don’t select too many either.
If you deliver directly to customer you can add in which area by using the service area option if you haven’t done so while setting up the listing.
Add your regular business hours and don’t forget to add what google calls “special hours” which will cover bank holidays and days where your operating hours might change
If you haven’t added your website address do it now.
If your business relies on appointment use this appointment URL option to either point to your contact page or your online calendar if you have one.
Some of you will also have access to a ”services” option which allows you to describe the various services you offer using upt to a 10000 characters. Please note that this option will only display for your listing in Google map apps.
You can add various attributes to your listing such as wheelchair access, amenities available on the premises and payment types.
Add a business description of up to 750 characters. Don’t think about using this space to add loads of keywords, links, hashtags or anything of the sort as it is not taken into account by the algorithm. Instead, try using this space to give more information about what you do and why people should consider your business.
add an opening date
Ignore the “Add photo” option for now
Click back on the home button and check the completion of your profile. You should see a significant improvement
A picture is worth a thousand words and this is so true when it comes to Google my business. Time to bring your listing to life with some images.
Click on the photo link on the left hand side menu. This will bring a panel of options covering multiple angles to showcase your business where you can add photos ranging from your logo, the interior and exterior of your business and your team members.
You can also add videos which i would highly recommend as they are even more powerful than photos. Try adding as many relevant images as you can to really enhance your listing.
We’re done with images. Let’s go back to the home screen and check our progress. And check this out we’re almost there.
Until your business is verified this is pretty much everything you can do, but it should definitely keep you busy until that postcard arrives.