Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to expand their online presence and improve their searchabilty. Through Google My Business, you can post a variety of important information about your business such as hours, contact information, location, web address and more. It also allows you to interact with your customers by responding to reviews and posting pictures, all the while attracting potential new ones.
Google My Business is exceptionally important for SEO as well. Google wants their users to find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. Therefore, if your business has a Google listing, you will be ranked higher in the search results accordingly.
Here are instructions for how to set up your Google My Business Listing:
1. Log into your Gmail account. If you don’t have one, you will need to create a free account first.
2. Go to https://business.google.com/create to fill out information about your business. Start with your business name.
3. Next, tell Google if your business has a physical location that customers need to visit such as a retail store, restaurant or doctor's office. This location will show up on Google Maps when customers are looking for your business.
4. If you do have a physical location, it will ask for your address next. If you do NOT have a physical location, it will jump straight to asking what area you serve. You may add multiple areas if you service a couple counties or cities, for instance. If you have both a physical location and serve customers outside that location, Google will prompt you to add both an address and the areas you serve. It's important to fill out this information accurately as this determines how Google displays your business to relevant customers.
5. Next, choose a category for your business. This will determine how Google ranks your listing when people search for general needs such as "Restaurant Nearby". Make sure you choose the category that represents your primary business. For instance, if you serve milkshakes at your hamburger restaurant, you should choose "Hamburger Restaurant" instead of "Ice Cream Shop".
6. After that, add in your contact information including website and phone number.
7. Finally, choose FINISH. This will prompt you to verify your listing. Google verifies listings via mail. Once you enter your address, Google will send you a post card with a verification code. Once you receive the postcard, log back into your Google My Business account and enter the code. It is extremely important to follow-through with this verification process. It helps Google verify that you are indeed a legitimate business at the location you say. Without verifying your business, your listing will not show up in search results and you cannot fully use your Google My Business account.
Once your account is set-up and verified, it's important to maintain the account. Responding to reviews, updating business hours to reflect certain holidays and adding new pictures can help increase your visibility in Google's search results.