Google My Business is one of my favourite things to talk about (alongside Disney and music of course!).
The reason I am so passionate about Google My Business pages is that local search is extremely powerful for all businesses.
Before we go into the details of Google My Business, I have some big news for you! Google has renamed Google My Business to Google Business Profile. The reason for this is simple, Google wants to have an easy life and they want to move their efforts to bring more of the business profile management out of the Google My Business app and directly into Google Search and Maps.
It has been rumoured that Google might be retiring the Google My Business App completely this year, but don’t worry, nothing has changed yet and when it does… you will be the first people we tell!
So, why do I need a Google My Business listing?
Sorry I just can’t get used to saying Google Business Profile!
If you have a brick and mortar business and you don’t have a Google My Business listing then you are definitely missing a trick. It is the best way to show your customers the information that they need to know about your business.
I am going to go through the different areas you can optimise and implement to create the perfect Google My Business listing.
Do you have a listing that you didn’t know existed?
The first thing we recommend you do is searching for your business on Google to see if you already have a listing. Sometimes, Google can create your profile for you, or maybe an old member of staff who forgot to tell you. If you do happen to find a listing that you do not own, you can claim the listing, by clicking “Own This Business?”
You may have to prove your identity in order to claim the listing, just in case Google thinks you are trying to steal a Google My Business listing!! Once you have claimed it, you are then able to make the changes, no excuses.
Name, Address and Phone Number
It is quite self-explanatory but the name, address and phone number you use on your Google My Business listing need to be exactly the same as what is displayed on your website. If it is incorrect, Google can refuse to publish your listing and it can also make customers have a negative view of your business.
If your address, for example, is a warehouse that customers can’t physically visit then when creating your listing you can choose to not display your address.
It is so important to make sure your opening hours are correct, especially if you are a store that people can visit. I really don’t want to mention the C-word but COVID-19 has had a massive impact on businesses over the last couple of years, which ties in well with the opening hours. The pandemic caused a lot of businesses to have to reduce their opening hours due to a lack of staff or people being off with the virus. Thankfully, on Google My Business you can add temporary hours so your customers are kept up to date.
Another important feature with opening hours is the option to add seasonal hours. For example, if your store is closed on bank holidays or has reduced hours over Christmas, you can add seasonal hours that won’t affect your other hours, but let customers know.
Description & Categories
Within your Google My Business listing, there is an option to add a description, I highly recommend that you do this as it is your opportunity to tell people about your business. Like most content boxes, you are limited on characters so it is important to make sure you get all the vital information that you want the customers to know.
Looking to increase your rankings? Of course you are! Add a keyword to your content to encourage your chances of appearing for relevant terms.
You can add multiple business categories, but make sure you choose the one that represents your business the most as the primary category as this is the one that will appear on your business listing.
Do you know the saying that a photo can speak a million words? It is true! Customers are more likely to engage in your website or visit your store if you are showing them photos of what they can expect to see. This is the first impression of your business, so make sure you are using high-quality images.
The guidelines for Google My Business is that images should be a minimum of 720 x 720 pixels and no larger than 10MB. You should also save them as either jpg or png file formats.
As you may have noticed on Google My Business listings you can “suggest edits”, this is done via the button you can see highlighted in the screenshot below.
Unfortunately, this is available to everyone so anyone can suggest an edit, the editing options are:
- Change name, location, hours, phone number, website URL
- Mark the business as closed, non-existent or duplicate
Suggesting an edit can work in your favour as if you have forgotten to update a bit of information and then someone has done it for you then it’s saved you a job. However, that is not always the case, as it also allows people to suggest edits that may not be true.
Google will give you the opportunity to accept or decline the suggested edits in the backend of your listing but sometimes if you take too long to accept/decline it they can make the changes live without.
Where I have highlighted in the screenshot below is where you will see if you have Google updates. If you do, simply click on the listing and then the suggested edits will be there in the orange text and then you either accept or decline.
We recommend checking if you have any suggested updates once a week to start with and then if you find that you don’t get them regularly then you can reduce the times you check.
That brings me to the end of my blog on how to create the perfect Google My Business listing. I hope you have taken things from this blog and not just that my passion is GMB! If you do have any questions on your Google My Business listing or anything else related to local SEO, please feel free to drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
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