Many businesses are missing out on a fantastic opportunity by not setting up their free Google my business listing. Stats are showing that only 60% of businesses have set them up. To immediately get above your competitors make sure your Google My Business is set up. If you are not sure why you should set your free listing up, then check out my other blog Why is it advantageous to have a Google My Business Listing.
To get traffic to your site you need to be found in searches and preferably have your Google My Business listing show in the Google 3-pack. It can take a bit of local SEO work to get into that 3 map pack, but you can only do that if you set up your listing first. So let's go through the steps to achieve your listing.
The first step in that is to search and see if your listing already exists. Put your full business name into the search engine and you'll see over on the right side if a Google my business listing shows for you. You might be wondering why it exists as you haven't actually set one up already. Well, the reason is because someone might have already put in a Google review for you. Google will put that against your business name. Or it might be that Google has tried to find businesses, because they want to be the search engine that answers all the questions and find all the businesses that people need. Google looks through websites and listings to try and find businesses. Or it might be the case that someone else has set your Google my business listing up for you. That might be an agency or someone that you've been dealing with previously on your SEO.
You need to know whether it has been set up or has just come through as an option through because of the reviews. You can tell the difference by looking at the listing, and if you have this "own this business option", circled above, then that means that you can go and claim it. If your business exists, then you need to claim that business entry. If it doesn't, then you'll be setting up a new one.
To claim it you will need to click on the "own this business" option. If your listing doesn't exist at all, then go to google.com/business. In both cases, you will need a Google account and you will sign in with that Google account and choose the manage button.
Whether you came from claiming the business or the manage button, you should come into this next screen.
And once again, you're going to try and type your business name to find it. If it's not showing in the list, you will click on the add option below. Type in your business and name (don't add extra words to your business name - Google doesn't like it) and then make sure you've read your terms and your privacy, and then press next.
Type in your business category that is most appropriate for your business. You add your primary one, but I do suggest you add three to five in later (in the editing screen later).
The next option is whether you actually have people coming to your business location. And if so, you would choose "Yes". If not, then you would choose "No". If you choose yes, you will get the extra step where you will enter the location of your office.
Note for SEO purposes, you should make sure the address is the same address that you list on your website. And I mean exactly the same. If you have "St" for street on your website, then you need to have "St" here as well. The better you match it to your website, the easier it is for Google to make sure it agrees that these are the same places.
You'll then add in all the areas where you serve your customers. Add as many as possible of these locations that you do serve to ensure that you're showing in those areas, when people are searching in those areas.
Then you'll add your phone number and your website. Make sure once again that your phone number is exactly as it is on your website. So, if you put a toll number on your website make sure you put a toll number here.
You might then get an option for Google to send you recommendations.
Of course, if Google is going to give you recommendations, you want to take them. So I would say yes to this option.
Now it kind of says you're finished, but you're actually not finished yet. There are still another couple of steps to go in this process.
The first one is that they need to verify that you are actually a business and they will ask you to enter your postal address. They can then send you a postcard with a code in it, so that you can verify the address. Note, this cannot be a postbox! It also has to be a real street address.
Most people will only get this postal option which can slow down getting your Google My Business setup. Some people might get an email or a phone option that are quicker to get done. And SEO professionals know some little tricks and tips to get it verified faster.
You'll then enter a description about your business. There are no indications that keywords will help in the description. So I don't suggest you do any keyword stuffing, but a few keywords could help, so include a couple.
Google really likes you to add photos of the business, exterior shots, interior shots, team members, and products. They prefer real photos compared to stock images, and the dimensions you should be using are:
Profiles – 1080 x 1080
Cover photo – 1080 x 608
Photos – 1080 x 1080
Google Post photo – 1080 x 608
And then you're almost finished and just waiting for that postal verification to come through. In the meantime, you can check your details in the screen.
Most of the information is in the info area or in the photos section. You can go and update any of the bits that you may not have added. Specifically I would add more categories.
I will point out that the verification process has been slower lately during the Pandemic, so it may take a bit of time.
And what you're waiting for is an actual postcard to come from Google, and it should arrive in your street address mailbox that you entered.
Once you've received it, go into the verifying now area on your home page, and you'll just enter the code that was on the postcard.
And of course, if you need to go back into this at any stage, you can go to business.google.com and sign in with your Google account. Or if you're using Chrome, you can use the Google menu and choose Google My Business.
Of course the next step is optimizing it and trying to get from just being one of the free listings to being in that three pack. If you need a hand at achieving the optimization, then just contact me at [email protected], or look at my SEO packages online.