How to set up a Google My Business account for local SEO
Today I’m going to walk you through how to set up a Google My Business account. A lot of people have a Google account for Gmail or YouTube, but did you know you can use your Google account to help customers find your business in search engine results?
By Kirsty Nelms
By setting up a free Google My Business business profile, you can promote information about your business and your company website on Google Search and Maps results. You’ll be able to post updates and offers, get Google reviews and view analytics to see how people are interacting with your business listing.
In this guide we’ll be looking at how to set up a Google My Business account and how to optimise your profile. Optimising your business profile will lead to more effective local marketing because the more information you provide and the more you use your Google My Business account, the higher you will rank in results.
How to create a Google My Business account
Visit Google.com/business and log in with your Google account. Fill in as much information about your business as possible.
Make sure you provide your business name, registered address, phone number, website, opening hours, key services or products, areas served and business category.
You’ll need to verify your business address. To do this, Google will send you a postcard with a verification code. It usually takes around 4 business days, and all you need to do is enter it into your account when it arrives. Once your account has been verified, your Google My Business listing will show up in search engine results.
TIP: When you provide your business information, consider keeping a document with one record of all your information and use this to fill in sections about your business across the web. For example, use Street or St consistently, and ensure the address is exactly the same across your social media profiles, website, and Google listing. This is because Google’s algorithm checks for inconsistencies and will consider them when assessing your credibility.
Fill in your ‘about the business’ information
Once logged in to your Google My Business account, click ‘info’ and scroll near the bottom of your page. You’ll see a section where you can enter key information about your business. Keep the main crux of what you do in the first 250 characters. You can always use information from your about page or mission statement to do this.
Add a few keywords in there which relate to your business and what you do, so when people search for those terms, they will have a better chance of finding you.
Specify a business category
When someone searches for a product, service, or categorical term, business profiles appear in search results. These are called ‘discovery searches’. Looking at the insights for Peacock Digital Marketing’s Google My Business listing, I can see that 81% of people who viewed my listing came from this sort of search, compared to 19% from ‘direct search’, people who searched specifically for my business name.
Adding categories can make your business easier for people to find, but it will also offer specific features related to what your business does. For example, restaurants can include a menu, hotels can display star ratings and hair salons can specify what they have experience with.
When you select your business category, found under the ‘services’ section, you can add various services which fall under that category. Try to be specific about what your business does.
Add your product information
Include the name, description and price of your products and when someone clicks on one, the full description will show up. This is also a good opportunity to populate more content with keywords.
Consider setting up messaging
To enable messaging, select the “Messaging” tab in your Google My Business dashboard, and download the Google My Business app from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Then, load the app, select ‘customers’ and then messaging, and turn on messaging. People can now message your business through the app, and you’ll get notifications on your phone.
How to get Google reviews
Ask your customers to leave a review for your business on Google. To do this, go to the home page and look for ‘get more reviews’ and there should be a button which says ‘share review form’. You can then send this link to your customers. Always respond to negative reviews and never try to use an incentive to get people to leave a favourable review, as this is against Google’s terms and conditions.
How adding posts and photos to Google My Business can improve your SEO
As with a website, regularly updating your content shows Google’s algorithm that your business is active and currently trading. By adding posts to your Google My Business account, you are sending positive signals that you have fresh content, raising your account’s SEO profile. You should also add photos to your listing for the same reason. I know a lot of business owners don’t feel they have time to upload photos, but a Synup study found “Listings with photos are 2x as likely to be considered reputable and get 35% more clicks”, so it’s worth doing!
You can even add offer posts with details about current promotions you are running and when they expire.
I hope this article has given you some great tips on how to create a Google My Business account and why the free listing is important for your business’ online presence and SEO. If you have any questions about digital marketing, let me know by contacting me.