Our 15-Step Guide
Step 1 – Get Started
Find out if your business is eligible for a Google My Business listing. It doesn’t allow rental or for sale properties, for example. Likewise, it doesn’t consider brands, organisations, artists and online-only businesses as local businesses.
Step 2 – Claim or create your Google My Business listing
If you have a local address and already had a Google+ Business Page or a Google Local page, Google will have already created a Google My Business listing for you. You will need to claim it so that you can manage it from this point on.
Search for your business name on Google. If it appears on the right-hand side of the page, click on it and if a ‘Are you the business owner’ link appears, click on it to claim the business. If a link doesn’t appear, go to the Google My Business website and sign in with your Google account. Click ‘Start now’ and follow the instructions.
Step 3 – Use the Correct Business Name
Use the name that appears on your physical shop, website and marketing material. Don’t use location keywords, special characters, your URL, or marketing taglines.
Step 4 – Check your business address is correct
Use your official business address and make sure it’s the same address that appears in any other local business directory. If Google is unable to find your location, you can use a marker on the map to set your location.
Step 5 – Choose the right business category
Select your business category from the list of several hundred that Google offers. You can choose subcategories after creating your Google page.
Step 6 – Provide your service area
If you deliver goods and services to customers at their locations, you need to list your business as a ‘service area business’. You must define the areas you cover based on the postcodes or city names.
Step 7 – Verify your business
Your contact details, description, photos and opening times will only appear on Google Maps and Google search after you’ve verified your business. Google will send you a verification code, either via a phone call to the number you’ve provided for the business or a postcard. Once you’ve provided the verification code, a ‘verified’ badge will appear beside your business name on your Google My Business dashboard.
Step 8 – Link each page to the correct URL
If you have multiple business locations, create a separate page for each and link it to the relevant landing page. If you have more than 10 locations, you can use Google’s bulk verification feature to upload and verify the addresses.
Step 9 – Provide your opening hours
Do include the correct hours of operation for your business.
Step 10 – Write a compelling description of your business
Write a short but compelling description of your business that includes your unique selling points. Google will use a snippet from your description to display under your business name in local search engine results pages.
Step 11 – Add images that showcase your products and premises
Add photos of your products and premises to improve your Google ranking, and to boost your click-through rate. The Google/Ipsos study found listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest. You can add:
- A cover photo
- A profile photo
- Your logo
- Photos that show different aspects of your business.
Make sure the photos are the correct size. Compress them if they are larger than the recommended size. The images must be high-quality and crisp.
Step 12 – Add a Google virtual tour
Hire a photographer recommended by Google to create an indoor street view of your business premises. It will be added to your search results on Google Search and Maps.
Step 13 – Ask your customers for reviews
The more customer reviews you have on your Google My Business page, the better your chances of getting a higher ranking in search results. Ask your customers to add positive reviews of your business. You can ask them when they come to your local premises. You can also send them an email and ask for a review. You can make it easy for them to do so by providing a link to your Google My Business listing.
Step 14 – Provide regular updates to entice them back
Post daily or weekly news, updates and offers on your Google My Business listing to provide your followers, customers and prospective customers with compelling reasons to return. Your posts will appear in your Google listing on Search and Maps and will be seen by everyone searching for your business.
Step 15 – Check your analytics
You can find out what kind of response your posts are receiving by checking your Google My Business dashboard. It will reveal who’s searching for you, and what other sites they’ve visited. You can then use this information to create PPC adverts that target those people and which appear on websites like the ones they’ve visited.