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Google My Business: A Simple Guide for Beginners and Local Business Owners

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (or GMB) is a free business listing platform by Google which helps local business owners to gain visibility in search results which includes the knowledge panel, local pack, and maps.

If you own a business and want to be visible to target customers in your area, Google My Business is the perfect platform which will not only increase your local organic reach but can also help you connect to your customers, manage reviews and ratings, provide business updates and much more!

 

Where does your business information show up once you have created a GMB listing?

Once you have decided to create a listing in GMB, the first thing that may come to your mind is “Where will my business information be displayed?” Let’s dive in to understand more about how GMB listings look like in the SERP.

 

Google Knowledge Panel

When you search for a specific brand, a knowledge panel will show up in the SERP. Knowledge panel is a box with your business information in the top right corner of search results in desktop and at the top in case of mobile. Usually, a knowledge panel includes information such as business name, address, phone number, hours of operation etc.


Google My Business Knowledge Panel
 

Google Local Pack

Google local packs will show up if you type in a query which has a local intent.
For example- If you search for “cafes near me” or “salons in New Delhi”, local pack results will be displayed.

GMB Local Pack

 

Google Maps

We all are familiar with Google maps which not only helps people in discovering locations but also local businesses.

Google Maps
 

How to create a Google My Business Page?

Now that we have established the importance of Google My business and the role it plays in Local SEO, let’s understand the process to create a GMB page:

  1. Google My Business Page: Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in with your Gmail ID. Type in your business name and click on either “create a business on this name” or “add your business to Google
    GMB
     
  2. Business Name: Type in your business name as well as the category of your business in the next step. GMB already has several business categories listed which will be auto suggested as you type in.

    Google My Business Name
     
  3. Add Business Address: You have the option to not add your address but in case you want to add, please mention the exact and detailed address which will be helpful for your customers to find your location.
    Google My Business Address
  4. Mark Position in map: In this step, you can zoom the map, drag, and drop the marker to the exact location of your business in the map. This will help your customers find your business location through Google Maps.

    Google My Business Location
     
  5. Delivery Services: You will be asked if your business offers delivery services. Choose from the option Yes or No. If yes, you have the option to mention the areas that you serve.
     
  6. Contact Details: In the next step, provide your contact information and website details (If you have any)
     
  7. Verify your listing: You can verify your listing by either phone, email or even postcard that will be sent to your address.

How to Optimize my Google My Business page for better local search visibility?

Is it enough to just create a Google My Business Listing? The answer is NO. With so many local businesses competing to get the attention of customers, it is important to stay ahead in the local SEO game and optimizing your GMB profile is one way to do that.

  • Business Info: Go to your GMB dashboard and click on “Info”. Add all the necessary information that are relevant to your business-like hours of operation, website link, photos, areas you serve, attributes etc.
    Business Information
     
  • Photos and Videos: Adding photos and videos to your listing can have a huge impact on website clicks. Photos and videos can make your local listing look appealing to customers and increase trust about your business. You can add your business logo, cover photo, relevant videos, and interior photos as well.
    Business Photos
     
  • Manage Reviews: Google My Business gives you the option to manage your online reviews. Online reviews are extremely helpful to get an insight on your customer’s overall perception about your business. If you have many happy customers, encourage them to write reviews and do not forget to reply to them. Positive reviews can influence your potential customer’s decisions as well.

While we discussed about replying to positive reviews, you should also never forget to reply to negative reviews as it implies that you take your customer’s concerns seriously.

  • Google My Business Posts: GMB posts are updates to your customers about events, deals/offers or regular posts related to your business. With GMB posts you can not only promote your products, events, and offers but also engage with your existing and potential customers which can improve their overall experience with your business.
    GMB Posts
     
  • Adding features: Utilize additional opportunities in GMB to add other relevant information about your business-like product listings, services offered, bookings etc.
     
  • Google Q&A:  Populate Google question and answers with most asked questions related to your business.  Reach out to your customer service department and get those questions and reply to them. It is always a good practice for local businesses to prepopulate question and answers so that it becomes easy for customers to find answers to all possible queries easily

How is GMB insights useful to measure Local SEO success?

Google My Business also has analytical features that can help you understand your customer’s interaction with your business. GMB insights can give you an overview about: how your customers found your listing, the actions they took etc.

Through the insights report, you will get the data around direct, discovery and branded searches. You can also get the customer actions data which includes phone calls, website visits, request to directions etc.

Google My Business can be a very powerful tool in managing your local business online and outranking competitors in local search results. Hopefully, with this best practice guide, you will be able to easily create and optimize your GMB listing. 

For more information on GMB or Local SEO, connect to our SEO experts at Merkle!

 

 

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