As a business owner you may have asked yourself:

“Are people going to find me at the time they need to?” , or

“How fast can they look for me in the first place?”

Google My Business is just one of the wide array of tools provided by the dear we-have-everything-you-need company that can help you with your online presence uncertainties. The good thing with this platform is it it is strongly influencing the local or community search.

To make this an interesting read, we have divided the topic according to the following:

Google My Business (GMB) for Local Business 

Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing service provided by Google to help local businesses appear on Google’s local search and maps. It is Google’s efforts to ensure that its customers will have the best user experience, by providing them the most relevant search results in the locality, even if the local business doesn’t have a fully working website.

What is exciting about this feature is every brick and mortar business can pin and claim their business and as soon as verified and optimized, can provide you additional source of free traffic to your store when these customers are looking for the business or the business it is offering.

What is so special about Google My Business?

Google My Business, popularly known as GMB, is useful not only to people who need to save more time or on-the-go but also to businesses constantly eyeing for potential customers.

Basically, it is a free tool for both businesses and organizations alike to build their profile on search results – useful for people trying to check out, let’s say, the nearest pizza or coffee shop in town before they head out to a movie theater – especially if they are in a neighborhood completely strange to tourists or would-be visitors. The end product is a search result card that highlights key information like location, what products you offer, and business hours.

As they say, competition favors the fit. While your business information may be fully available online, it doesn’t mean that your competitors would not stand a chance. See for yourself what’s in the box and how you could make sure you’re not going to be out of business by checking our ultimate guide to the world of Google My Business to take a step ahead of other local businesses (and maybe even learn how to make your very own, personalized website)!

Advantages of Google My Business for Local Business 

What are the benefits and advantages of having a Google My Business (GMB) Account for Your Local Business?

Google My Business Insights Dashboard - ESTRAT X

Here’s what you can get according to Google:

(1) Priority Local Search Visibility

When a prospect client searches the web via mobile, Google will first push content from Google Maps. Verified Google maps listings are Google My Business claimed and verified account and are 26% more likely to be visible on the local search with 60% clickthrough rate when optimized. That is a prime visibility out there to your prospect searchers.

(2) Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy

GMB is a free business listing powered by Google aimed at improving the search for relevance according to intent of the searches. If the GMB is optimized, local businesses are giving prospect customers an inside look of your business (photos, videos), busiest hours, operations time, website, direction how to get there in a click of a button.

(3) Better Reputation for Local Business

Establishments with a verified My Business profile would be perceived by people as reputable, twice as much as their unverified counterparts. The reason? Simple. What’s more reliable than a bunch of information given by Google after a quick search? A page (or small card-like item) of your business is loaded together with other search results in a way that it seems provided by Google in some automatic way. Similar searches may still appear in the standard text form, while others may be in the form of suggestions, photos included. Forbes gives some reminders on how you can improve your image online.

Better Reputation for Local Business

(4) Social and Customer Interaction System

Never did you know that you can add photos, as well as reply to comments (or rants) of your loyal or new customers. You can even get some stars! Read how you can be the master of online public relations here.

Social and Customer Interaction System

(5) Easy to Push Local Business ads

Knowing how your customers found you in the first place could help you make better decisions later on, especially that you can also advertise through AdWords Express.

(6) Higher Conversion from Intent-Based Location Sensitive Search.

According to a May 2014 report by Google, 72% of consumers went to a store near them after searching through a smartphone, and 66% for computers or tablets.

Your address is important

Now, if you have finally claimed and verified your business listing, you can start working on the essentials.

(7) Free Search and Local  Insights for Your Business

If you have claimed your account, GMB will provide you a dashboard where you can see your free business performance and insights in search and how you can improve it.

Free Search and Local  Insights for Your Business

On the sidebar of the dashboard, you will see the SEARCH and MAPS links with their corresponding views in the last 28 days:

Google My Business Search and Maps Links and Views

Lastly You can have AI generated insights on your dashboard sharing to you vital information on how customers are interacting with your Google business listings on how they found you? Where are they coming from? and so on…

(8) Free Professional Website For you

If you don’t have any budget to hire and create a new website for your product and service, Google My Business simply gives you the power to do so. Create one with Google My Business free website feature under 10 minutes with the use of your desktop computer or mobile phone.

ESTRAT X - Google My Business Free Website

Step-by-Step Guide in creating your Google My Business (GMB) account:

There are two things that you have to consider before you actually “create” your account:

First, you need to check whether your business is listed in Google Maps. If yes, the second thing you need to work on is ownership.

In case your business is not yet visible on Google Maps, just provide all the relevant information and set a phone call or the postcard option (whichever is applicable or more practical) for verification purposes.

Just in case someone already “owns” your precious business page…

Do not try to compete with the first one by creating your own. You should attempt to get access first through the following ways as advised by Google:

For storefront business listings:

  1. Visit business.google.com add and search for your business by inputting name and address
  2. Select your business and click Continue. You can claim and verify it unless someone already did.
  3. Select Request access and complete the form before hitting submit. The current owner will get an email requesting that they communicate with you.

For service-area business listings:

  1. Visit business.google.com add and fill in your business information.
  2. Get verified and wait for the confirmation before signing in to business.google.com.
  3. Choose Request access after you see the “Owner conflict” dialog then check your email.

For bulk-verified accounts:

  1. Claim using the method for storefront business or request ownership by uploading location information via spreadsheet.
  2. Open it in Google My Business.
  3. Choose Request access after you see the “Owner conflict” dialog then check your email.

Now, after being nice to others who “owned” YOUR business listing, they have a week to get back to you. Check the progress of your request by signing in to Google My Business.

If your request was granted, then good for you. If not, you can suggest some changes to the information or make an appeal.

Don’t feel bad if you did not receive any message. You might be able to claim it, that is, if you can see a Claim or Verify button on your Google My Business dashboard.

Solving Google My Business for Local Business Duplicate Accounts

Duplicates can be seen as forms of reserve but they do not always do good to us for their redundant availability. They may have been created due to good-intentioned sources except that they slightly vary from one another due to spelling, or other information. Don’t worry, you would be notified if such a situation occurs.

To solve your twins/duplicate issues:

  1. Go to your Google My Business account, then select Duplicate locations from your Account Summary.
  2. Select the unverified duplicate locations then choose “Delete this listing.” If you want to eliminate several at once, check the boxes then click Remove from the three dot menu icon.
  3. If you want to report the duplicate locations, find them in Google Maps then choose Suggest an edit, before selecting “Place is permanently closed or has never existed.” Set “Duplicate” as reason before hitting submit.

If you are a service-area business, check “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” under the address section of your Google My Business profile if you want your address hidden but check “I also serve customers at my business address” if you want your address shown.

Your address is important because consumers went to a store near them after searching through a smartphone, and 66% for computers or tablets.

Now, if you have finally claimed and verified your business listing, you can start working on the essentials.

Provide all the information that Google asks from you. No skipping. Information include Categories, Hours, Special Hours, Phone Number, Website, Appointment URL, Services, Attributes, Business Description, Opening Date, and industry specific information.

How to optimize your Google My Business account ?

You better include this in your checklist now. Right now. No ifs and buts.

(1) Set Up Your Listing.

using Google My Business, try finding your business. If it is not visible or present, you can add your business there.

(2) You may consider tweaking your name (or your description).

Consider having a rebrand in case you feel the need to do so, when you are just starting your business. Entrepreneur.com says your company name matters. Here’s why.

(3) Provide all basic information – and give a little bit of dedicated support.

Make sure that your customers can reach you with what you handed them in the first place. According to a study conducted by Google, consumers have a preference for location-based ads, and that 4 in 5 consumers utilize the internet to find stuff near them. Know more about the study by downloading it here.

Provide all basic information – and give a little bit of dedicated support.
Google, in partnership with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased, involved a total of 5,153 respondents aged 18 above.

You can also add SMS to your business listing and manage it through Google Allo both on mobile and desktop.

Don’t forget the scheduling option for your customers with the use of a special software. A URL would also do.

People can also ask on your knowledge panel. Make sure that you tend to them. 

For other essential information that you should add, be sure to add the following critical information:

  • Accurate Operating Hours.
  • Selecting the Right relevant Categories

(4) Be Consistent with your NAP

NAP? It stands for name, address and phone number of your business. I assume that you are listing your business also in Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook Page? Be sure that the three basic information: name, address and phone number are all similar. This simple tweak can do wonders.

(5) “Give it a good shot”

It would not hurt your budget to do some photoshoot to get all that high definition image you’ll need. Just remember that the final format for uploading according to Google’s standards must be JPG or PNG with a file size ranging from 10KB to 5MB and a resolution of 72-x72 at the minimum. Keep it real, no unnecessary retouches. Your cover photo will also be the one seen in Google search results.

You can even hire a partner photographer of Google to take have a 360 virtual tour of your place taken.

Potato

Your imagination is your limit in photography. Image courtesy of Pexels.

(6) Spice up with videos

Spice up with videos up to 30 seconds long, with a resolution of at least 720p, and 100MB max.

Spice up with videos
According to a study by HighQ, all businesses are interested in video marketing. 69 percent of them are already doing so.

(7) Create posts and utilize the different calls to action.

Don’t forget that images would show in a 4:3 ratio. Remember that it’s more cruel than Twitter, because only the first 100 characters would be seen at first glance. They are also available only for 7 days. Events on the other hand expire after their day.

(8) Everything is mobile!

Keep track of all insights by not forgetting to download Google My Business app here

Everything is mobile!

With mobile, you can do everything from arranging orders, doing follow ups, creating content, so on, and so forth. Read why mobile is important for your business.

(7) Manage Online Reviews

In a reputation-based economy, 92% of your prospects customers look at online reviews with 62% looking specifically at Google My Busines reviews.

A leading Local SEO platform Bright Local noticed in their internal-research with clients that

  • 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation; and,
  • seven out of 1o customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.

This makes review optimisation an integral part of the GMB strategy mix.

BONUS: Create your own GMB free website!

If you are a business owner in this digital age and you still don’t have your website running, your business must be a joke. Friends will laugh at you. =) Yes, you’re right buddy! They’re now dying of laughter.

But you don’t have to suffer. Google My Business offers Free website for you and your business.

If you are planning to professionalize your online store, there are other website hosting providers now available on the internet.

Stop your drama, say “hey, Google” (or hey Siri) if you happen to be on mobile and say or hit the following: H-O-W (space) T-O (space) M-A-K-E (space) M-Y (space) O-W-N (space) W-E-B-S-I-T-E and you might get some 3.85 billion results.

Need not numb your fingers, we’re giving you some tips and compiled some of the best for you.

Online Marketing
Online marketing is one of the time-tested tools used by businesses to promote their products and services. Image courtesy of Pexels/Pixabay.

Step 1: Decide on your domain name.

Domain names virtually serve as a versatile tool for every business and organization.

The usual mistake being done by website creators is to fill in every single character of their business name without even thinking if their clients would get to spell it our correctly or if it can even be remembered in the first place. Keep your domain name short and easy to remember.

If you are ambitious enough, you might as well check if your name means a little bit off in other languages.

Just a reminder, the free domain provided by GMB will be a .site domain. If you want to buy a cheaper domain, check with the following domain sellers:

  • NameCheap.com (highly preferred)
  • Name.com (my first domain purchases were made here)
  • Crazy Domains (they offer promos and sometimes you can spot a very good domain for free)

Step 2: Customise according to your branding

Considering your color and design, you can select from the ready templates or customize one for your business. The important thing is you fill-up all the required information needed.

Will post a link where I will be thoroughly discussing how you can create a website via GMB.

Step 3: Fill it with all the relevant content you can think of.

It’s the ultimate reason why you have created your website, and not just because you want to have a single page website. It’s totally nonsensical. Don’t forget that you can set a section for everything, but planning is a must.

Having finally made your dream website, make sure you’ll update your Google My Business profile to include your painstakingly-made website.

In Closing…

Your chances of attracting people to avail of your products or services increases as long as you are being responsive and keeps on updating content, as needed. The more information you provide and upload in your Google My Business account, the better would be your local online presence.

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