What Is Google My Business and How to Create an Account

What Is Google My Business and How to Create an Account

Online searches have risen as the go-to for consumers looking for certain products or services in their area. We no longer ask neighbors for recommendations, but instead take to search engines to tell us which businesses are nearby, as well as what they offer, when they are available, and how to get there. And while creating a website is crucial for businesses, that alone is no longer enough.

This is where Google My Business comes into play. Submitting your business information to this platform will allow you to appear on relevant local searches throughout all Google apps, and provide potential customers with a full profile of your offering. This guide will teach you all there is need to know about this powerful tool, from how to create a Google My Business account to the best practices for optimizing your business listing performance.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business, also known simply as GMB, is an online business directory and a crucial element of local SEO. In fact, research suggests that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, and that 88% of consumers who search for local businesses on a mobile device end up calling or visiting the business within 24 hours. This makes Google My Business an essential tool for businesses of all kinds.

The platform allows you to include a long list of detailed information about your business, which increases your chances of appearing on relevant searches. Furthermore, your Google My Business listing may appear in Google Knowledge Graph, Google Local Pack and Google Maps, all of which offer high online visibility for local searches.

Any business can join the platform for free as long as they have some sort of in-person interaction with customers. This means that you can list your business even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, as long as you don’t operate 100% online.

How to create a Google My Business Account

  1. Sign in

  2. Add your business name

  3. Select a category

  4. Enter your location

  5. Add a website

  6. Verify your listing

01. Sign in

Visit the Google My Business homepage to sign in to the platform. If you have a custom email address for your business, make sure to use it here to keep all your corporate profiles under the same virtual roof.

How to create a Google My Business Account

02. Add your business name

When you enter your business name, a drop-down list of companies with the same name will automatically open. Here, you’ll be able to see whether your Google business listing has already been created, or add new locations to existing business pages.

Add a Google business listing

03. Select a category

Business categories are used by Google to define your target market, so choose the most accurate description possible.

Create a GMB account - select a category

04. Enter your location

If your business has a physical location that customers can visit, add the address here. You can also list your service area if you offer a service or deliver products.

Add your business to Google Maps

05. Add a website

Enter your domain name (aka website address), so that potential customers can learn more about your business, purchase your products or book your services. Additionally, you can add a contact phone number where people can reach you within business hours.

Get your business website on Google

06. Verify your listing

In order to be able to manage your business profile and have your listing appear on Google results, you’ll need to verify that you’re the rightful owner of the business. Check out the next section for a breakdown of the different methods through which you can do so.

How to verify your Google My Business listing

For the majority of business pages, Google verification requires a postcard to be mailed to the listed physical address. However, certain businesses might be eligible for additional verification methods.

There’s a total of five different ways to verify your Google My Business listing. Here’s what each of them details:

  • Postcard: Add a contact name and you’ll receive a postcard in the mail within 14 days. This postcard includes a 5-digit code with which you can verify your business location. Make sure not to edit any of your Google business listing information during the waiting period, as doing so could delay the verification process.

  • Phone: If you’re eligible to verify your business listing by phone, you’ll have a code sent to your contact number via automated message.

  • Email: To verify your listing by email, simply make sure the address that appears in the verification screen is correct. Upon receiving the email, click on the Verify button.

  • Instant verification: Users who have already verified their business’s website with Google Search Console might be able to verify their listing automatically.

  • Bulk verification: Businesses with 10 or more locations can request bulk verification and be categorized as a chain. It can take up to a week for Google to process your request.

How to verify your Google My Business listing

Optimize your Google business page

Once your business listing has been verified, it’s time to optimize your page in order to improve its ranking and performance. Businesses with complete listings on Google are not only more likely to rank for relevant searches, but also to gain the trust of potential customers.

There are five main things you’ll need to take care of to fully optimize your Google business page:

  1. Fill in all relevant information

  2. Add a professional profile picture

  3. Upload photos of your business

  4. Include engaging videos

  5. Monitor customer reviews

01. Fill in all relevant information

You should add as much information to your business listing as possible, as it will boost your local SEO and increase your chances of appearing on relevant searches. In Google’s own words: “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.”

Here, you’ll be able to let potential customers know more about what your business has to offer. While you’ve already included basic details such as website and physical address, contact number, and category, this space will allow you to include more specific data. This includes your business opening hours, what year you first opened and additional details like wheelchair accessibility and free wifi availability.

In order to fully optimize your business listing relevance in the eyes of Google, do some keyword research and include related topics and terms through your page.

optimize your Google business page

02. Add a professional profile picture

Just like on social media platforms, your profile photo appears whenever you upload new content or interact with customers. Since this image will act as the face of your business, it's recommended to use the company’s logo.

03. Upload photos of your business

While search results pages are mainly dominated by text, users are much more likely to base their decision on visual examples of what you can offer them. In fact, several sources report that Googly My Business listings with photos receive 35% more website clicks and 42% more requests for driving directions to their location.

Google My Business has taken another page off the social media book and allows users to upload a cover photo so that visitors can quickly recognize the business. Furthermore, you’ll be able to share additional pictures of your location and products.

These photos will serve as a cover letter for your business, which is why you should only upload high-quality images. If you cannot hire the services of a professional photographer, take a look at these beginner guides on food photography and product photography to ensure the results are up to par.

04. Include engaging videos

In addition to photos, you can upload video clips that drive the attention of potential customers and help your business listing stand out. Pages can showcase videos of up to 30 seconds with a minimal resolution of 720p. You can use free video editors to easily modify existing clips of your business to comply with these requirements.

Unlike photos, videos are not a “must” and therefore you can skip this step if you don’t have any media clips worth sharing.

add photos to your Google business listing

05. Monitor customer reviews

Word of mouth has always been one of the most powerful marketing tools, except now it also includes strangers who write recommendations online. Because of this, you should pay close attention to the reviews of your Google business listing.

One of the most effective ways to encourage happy customers to leave positive messages is to regularly respond to existing reviews. Show you’re thankful for their support and address any feedback they may have left. You might even want to select some of them to display as testimonials on your site.

As for negative reviews, don’t simply ignore them and hope they go unnoticed. Respond to dissatisfied customers in a professional manner and see what you can learn from each of them.

By Judit Ruiz Ricart

Blog Content Expert

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