This beginner’s guide to Google My Business for 2021, aims to give you everything that you need to know in one, easy to follow beginner’s guide.
Here’s the different sections of this guide:
Table of Contents
I thought I’d write this beginner’s guide to creating a Google My Business listing (GMB for short) because of how many SME’s, social enterprises and charities that I come across that don’t have their own Google My Business listing.
If you have a business or any other type of organisation that needs to rank in search engines locally, then I can’t recommend getting a Google My Business listing enough.
The purpose of this guide is to help your organisation to get the most out of your Google My Business listing. If you don’t already have a GMB listing or would like to optimise your GMB listing to improve your search engine rankings, then this article is for you…
What We’re Going to Discuss in this Article
- Why Create a Google My Business Listing?
- What a Google My Business listing can and can’t do
- The Do’s and Donts of Creating a Google My Business listing
- How to create a Google My Business Listing
- How to optimise your images for your GMB listing
Why complete a Google My Business listing?
- Creating a Google My Business listing is free.
- Creating a GMB listing will enable your organisation to rank on, and appear on, Google Maps.
- Ranking higher on Google Maps typically means ranking higher in Google Search as well.
- A GMB listing provides an overview of all of your company’s or organisation’s contact details, products or services and you can also provide a clickable button that takes Google users to your website or enable them to call you straight from your listing.
- A Google My Business listing will help to drive more traffic to your website when your company name’s searched for in Google. If your company name is pretty unique, Google will hopefully display your listing in its SERPs. Optimising your GMB listing will ensure that you’re more likely to appear at the top of Google’s SERPs in a prime position for your company name.
What a Google My Business listing can and can’t do
- Allows you to add images that show off what you can do for your prospective customers.
- Allows your customers or clients to write reviews for products & services that they’ve bought off you.
- Show the correct opening times and contact details for your business.
- Allows you to post updates on what your company or organisation is up to, new products or services, or activities that may contribute to potential customers decision on whether or not they use your organisation
- Allows potential customers to ask question questions and you to answer them in a way that helps others to find answers quickly and easily
- Google My Business listings give your company or organisation a way of providing information to Google’s users and assist people who are searching for your company.
- A Google My Business listing is not a substitute for getting a website. Google uses a GMB listing to complement your website, rather than replace it. So, if people search on Google for your company’s name, your GMB listing will provide the core information that Google users need about your organisation or company.
- A Google My Business listing can often appear in regular Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and will display it on any platform that uses Google Maps.
How to create a Google My Business (GMB for short) listing
- Firstly, go to the Google My Business website here: https://www.google.com/intl/en_gb/business
- Click on the blue Sign-in button to the top right of the page to sign-in
- If this is the first Google My Busines listing that you’ve added, then you’ll be taken to the ‘Find and manage your business’ page with a search box. Just enter the name of your business or organisation and a dropdown box with all of the organisations. If a previous listing appears for your name, then it will appear otherwise, click on the ‘Add your business to Google’ link to start creating your GMB listing.
- You’ll next be asked to enter the name of your business. Enter that and then click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- Next, you’ll be asked to choose the category that fits your business best, so enter the primary business category, and a list of related business categories will appear in a dropdown list. Choose the Business Category that best describes your organisation or company’s area of expertise and then click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- You’ll then be asked a yes or no question: “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a shop or office? So select Yes if you have a business premise that people can visit in person then choose yes. For my DJ website, I don’t know I will select ‘No’ once you’ve chosen whether you have physical premises for your business click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- The next question is: ‘Where do you serve your customers?”. Entering the location(s) that your organisation serves is optional but if you serve a particular area then start typing the name of the geographical location of your target market. For example, if you sell frameless glass balustrades to the Hampshire area then start typing ‘Hampshire’, and you’ll be presented with a list of geographical locations. Please note that with my example of entering Hampshire into this box, I was being presented with a list of locations in the USA so, in this instance, I added a comma then started typing UK to be able to find the location that I wanted. You should note that you can enter multiple locations if you want to and you provide your products or services to various different locations. Once you’re happy that you’ve added all of the locations you want to, click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- Next, you’ll be asked, “What region is your business based in?” This is asking which region you are based in so in my DJ example, and I chose the ‘United Kingdom’. Now click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- You’ll then be asked: “What contact details do you want to show to customers?” These form fields Help customers get in touch by including this info on your GMB listing so enter your organisation’s contact telephone number and your website URL here. You also have the option of selecting ‘I don’t need a website’, or you can select ‘Get a free website based on your info’ if you’d like Google to help you to create a website. Then click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- If you entered your website URL will take you to the ‘Stay in the know’ section of the GMB setup process and here you choose whether you want Google to tell you about new products or services. Choose ‘No’ if you don’t wish to be contacted by Google about related services and then click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- You’ll then be taken to the ‘Finish and manage this listing’ section where it will confirm some of the things you can do with your Google My Business listing.
- Now click on the blue ‘Finish’ button to complete the creation of your GMB listing and be taken to the next section.
- In this section, which does give you the option of verifying it later but You can’t fully manage your listing until you’re verified, so I always recommend that you enter your postal address and country region. This will be hidden from the general public, and we recommend entering the best postal address to reach you on as Google requires you to verify for your location. So enter your postal address and the country you’re in and click on the blue ‘Next’ button.
- Next, you’ll be taken to the ‘Choose a way to verify’ page which if you entered your postal address in the previous stage, enables you to choose whether your address is verified by Google sending you out a postcard with a verification code in it. Just to warn you, this postcard that Google sends should arrive within four days of you completing this form.
- If you opted to enter your postal address in the previous sections and chose to verify your listing with that address, you’ll be notified that your verification postcard is on its way.
- Click on the blue ‘Continue’ button to be taken to the ‘Add your services’ section. Here you can select the services that your company, business or organisation that are specific to the primary category you chose earlier in this process. Select, or deselect, the options as you see fit, but please be aware that if you can’t see everything that you offer in the list, then I recommend trying to click on the blue ‘Show more’ link to have more options displayed. Alternatively, if you offer something that Google doesn’t provide as a sub-category, then you always have the option to create a custom service by clicking on the blue ‘+ Add custom service’ link near the bottom. Once you’ve completed this section and have added all of the main sub-categories of services that you offer, click on the blue ‘Save’ button.
- Now you need to add your opening hours. You will be presented with a list of days with a sliding button for each day. The default is closed (and greyed out) but if you click on the button for each of the days that you’re organisation is open then it’ll show you fields for entering the opening and closing times for each day. Enter the correct opening hours for each day that you’re available and then click on the blue ‘Save’ button.
- Next GMB gives you the option of adding a 75-character description of your business. Try and use the primary search terms or long-tail keywords &/or the main services that you offer. This description should be an overview rather than a detailed description of everything your company or organisation does.
- Click on the blue ‘Save’ button when you’ve finished, or you can click on the ‘Skip’ button if you’d like to add your business description later.
- Next, you’ll be taken to the section where you can add photos to your new business listing. You can add things like your logo, screenshots, or photographs of your premises. Click on the blue ‘Next’ button when you have added all of the photos you want on your listing (there’s a limit on the number of images you can add so choose wisely!) or again, you can click on the ‘Skip’ button to add your photos later.
- In the ‘Your Business Profile is almost ready’ section, click on the blue ‘Continue’ button to proceed.
- Finally, you’ll be at your Google My Business Listing administration dashboard. Here you can see or change any of the various settings and options for your GMB listing that you just set up.
- So, agree to Google’s terms & conditions (a requirement) and click on the ‘Get started’ link.
Things to keep in mind when you’re creating & optimising content for your Google My Business listing
- 60% of Google users say they give more consideration to using a business listed in their local search results that have high-quality images.
- You need to upload a variety of high-quality photos that use optimised image sizes.
Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Google My Business Listing
Don’t: misrepresent your company with false information on your GMB listing.
Do: keep your customers updated with regular posts on what you’re company has been doing.
Don’t: add keywords you want to rank on to your GMB listing’s title as this is seen as spammy by Google and reduces the quality of your listing.
Do: make sure that you verify your listing.
Do: add high-quality images (that are no larger than 1200x900px; with 4:3 image width to height ratio but no smaller than 400x300px in size images) and that the photos are optimised with a balance between image file size & image quality.
Don’t: add secondary products or services to your listing – keep the focus on your primary products &/or services in your listing.
Do: ensure your listing’s details are accurate.
Don’t: add false locations to your listing.
Do: update the Q&A section on your GMB.
Do: more than the minimum you need to create your listing.
Don’t: Add fake reviews on your products or services to your listing.
Do: send out links to your customers to write a review of your products (or services)
Do: Respond to all reviews that are written to your Google My Business listing.
Don’t: write angry, aggressive or defensive replies to negative reviews.
Do: try to see how you can ‘make it right’ with your customers to solve their concerns.
Don’t: bribe customers to write reviews.
Do: create a professional-looking GMB listing.
Don’t: upload stock images to your Google My Business listing.
Do: post new projects that you’ve worked on.
Do: update the images regularly – keep your listing fresh!
Do: add your primary products or services to your listing.
The top 8 GMB features that help SME’s, CIC’s & Charities to get an overview of their GMB listing’s performance
Google My Business has some great features to help you attract and convert searchers to customers, including:
The more positive and high-rated reviews you have, the better so make sure you send a link to get a review to all of your customers when you’ve completed their project or service. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is from your Google My Business mobile app.
Keep in mind though that Google likes it if you reply to Reviews on your Google My Business listing.
What to do if you get a negative review:
Hubspot has written an excellent guide on how to handle negative reviews effectively:
Add High-Quality Photos to Your Google My Business listing
We can’t recommend that you add photos of completed projects and products to your GMB listing enough as they provide people who come across your listing with a quick insight into your products and services.
GMB listings with photos get a 35% click-through rate boost, so it’s well worth adding some high-quality images to your listing.
Photos you’re going to use on a Google My Business listing should either be in JPG or PNG file formats and need to be at least 720×720 pixels. The optimal image size is 1200×900 pixels. No image used on your site should be more than 2-3MB in size (the maximum is 5MB, but we don’t recommend using images that are that large).
Google My Business will use some of these in your Google My Business listing when it’s displayed on Google Maps or Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Minimum Image Sizes are:
Standard Photo: 720 pixels by 720 pixels
Cover Photo: 1080 pixels by 610 pixels
Profile Photo: 250 pixels by 250 pixels
How to optimise your images for your GMB listing
If you’re on Windows, we recommend using a free image editor like GIMP, Ashampoo Photo Optimizer, Canva, or Fotor.
They all cost nothing, and if you need help with using any of these products to edit your photos then we recommend searching on YouTube for tutorials, or there are often decent tutorials on the software’s website.
Here are some ideas for photos that might interest people visiting your GMB listing
- Logo & Profile Photos
- Cover Photo
- 360 Images
- Product Photos
- Examples of work you’ve carried out
- Photos of your company’s premises: Interior & Exterior
- Try not to use standard photo names used by digital cameras such as IMG_0001.jpg and instead, use keywords that relate to your business but that also describe the image accurately.
- We recommend that you avoid using stock photography, and if you’re going to add photos of your company’s premises (interior or exterior), we recommend hiring a professional photographer or at the very least, a decent smartphone camera!
Add Videos to Your GMB Listing:
Videos are an effective way of showcasing your products or services and increasing conversions from seeing your Google My Business listing to visiting your website to converting to a paying customer.
Videos should be no longer than 30 seconds in length and should be under 100MB in size.
Google My Business Posts
Create posts to add to your Google My Business listing to make sure that your listing is up-to-date and showing your latest products, services, or completed projects, for example.
Posting a link to a new blog post on your website could work well or perhaps you’re launching a new product or service and want to tell viewers of your GMB listing about it?
The Q&A section of your GMB listing provides potential customers with a way of asking questions about your products or services.
Answering these questions can help convert people viewing your Google My Business listing’s to customers, so it’s well worth taking the time to answer questions carefully.