Google My Business is a platform that allows businesses to manage how their business appears on Google search and maps, it has many features allowing you to publish blog posts, get reviews, publish photos as well as company details such as address and opening hours.
It is relatively simple to set up but you do need to prove your premises exists and that you operate there, this takes the form of a google post card that you will receive that contains a code that allows you to take ownership of your business on the platform.
Google have a great page outlining the My Business platform in more detail this article may touch on this however we are here to find out how to get the most from the My Business platform.
To avoid fake or even worse giving people control over businesses that they do not own Google has a sign up process which takes about 1 week to complete.
Firstly you need to visit https://www.google.com/business/ and go through and complete a sign up form, this includes your premisis address.
Once complete google will send you out a letter/post card that gives you an activation key that allows you to claim your listing.
After that you are pretty much done and can start using the various tools to make your listing more attractive.
When people are “Googling” or searching for your business on Google they will be presented with a column to the right of the search results that gives them a wealth of information about your business with out even needing to visit your website.
Apart from your company name someone viewing this will see straight away if you have any reviews (will get on to these later) before then seeing your address, your opening hours, phone number and phone number. It may be that they decide to call you, if any of this information is incorrect needless to say they might not get through because your closed and/or your phone number is incorrect.
Also getting your address wrong may make it impossible for people to find you using te directions button near the top which allows google maps to plot a route from their current location to your premises.
Apart from being a bit lax in detail getting any of these things wrong it does give a bad first impression.
(yes we are open until 10 on weekdays before any one leaves a commend ;))
Reviews are a key area in SEO and building customer confidence, there is not normally much harm in asking people to leave a quick review if you know you have done them a good service.
Clicking on the reviews button will present people with a list of the latest reviews of your company if you have 4-5 star reviews it is a lot more likely that they will engage with your business, too many bad reviews will deter them from visiting your website/premises or calling you.
Whether a review is good or bad it is always a good idea to reply to all reviews thanking people for their feed back or offering assistance in resolving an issue, we have an info-graphic that may help you deal with reviews.
From an SEO point of view google uses reviews to ascertain trustworthiness, the more trustworthy google believe you are the better your website will rank, i.e. having lots of 5 star reviews may be the extra boost your website needs to go above your competitors.
Whilst you get to put some information that potential customers may find useful it is also worth noting that you are limited in how much space you have to present it, adding photos to your google My Business will give a graphical intensive for people to read on, remember the cliche a picture paints a thousand words and as you can see google shows the latest photo you have added so make them informative, interesting, relevant and attractive.
When someone clicks on the photo (at the top of your listing) they will see a gallery of all your photos.
When setting up your Google My Business account a lot of people neglect to correctly categorise their business, It is one of the key fields as it identifies to google what it is you do having the wrong categories set up will limit the success of your My Business account.
You can select up to 10 categories with one of them being the primary category, ensure the primary category is the most important one that your company falls under and is the most relevant to what you do, we also advise not putting more then 4 categories in total i.e. 1 primary and three non primary categories.
The posts feature is great it allows you to publish up to 1,500 characters, an image or video plus a button; the button can either link to a page on your website or as in the example shown here have a “Call now” button that when pressed will make a call from what ever device someone is using (assuming it is capable of making a call)
The posts will only appear on your listing for a couple of weeks however if someone clicks on the “view all” link they will see all your posts.
One extension I use on many websites built in WordPress will actually post content straight from WordPress to Google My Business which saves a bit of time and also almost immediately shows any one searching for your company the latest news,events or posts.
As well as allowing you to store this data and display it google also checks it against directory sites such as Yell, Yelp and The Sun, if your data isn the same i.e. different address it can have a negative effect on your natural SEO ranking,
At AME WebTech we can help not just set up and advise on how to use your My Business account we can also help find inconsistencies across the directory sites and ensure everything matches up so you get the best possible results and make the most of this great tool.
Whats more we can even let you know other websites where you could be adding your company information to in an effort to give you the best chance of being noticed online.