GMB: What Is It?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool that allows business owners to manage their online presence across Google’s platform. It is a display of information on a business, such as who they are, what they do, and much more.
GMB is an essential part of any business’ online presence — especially in a post-pandemic world. In our new digital-age, GMB has become the first destination for inquiring clients, employees, and anyone else looking up a company.
As Covid restrictions continue to lift, it is more important than ever to keep your GMB profile up-to-date with your days and hours of operation. If customers want to find your location, phone number, or read customer reviews, this is also where they’re going to go.
Benefits of GMB for Your Business
Increases SEO Ranking
Completely optimizing your GMB listing will help boost your local SEO ranking. This means that when you properly fill out your address, phone number, opening hours, upload images, etc. it will help Google prioritize your website when ranking in search results.
Sets Immediate First Impression
As we’ve already set out, your GMB has become the first place people go to when searching for a business. This means that it has the potential to set a good (or bad) impression. Properly filling out all of the fields (location, email address, etc.), verifying your profile, and uploading images to your page will make you look both more reliable and professional. In the era of web 2.0, users have the potential to search for local businesses very quickly, so you do not want to give them any reason to stray away from your page.
Google Maps Integration
GMB profiles are automatically integrated with a Google Maps listing. This means that your profile will help your customers find your location, as well as easily follow the directions with a single-click onto the ‘directions’ button directly linked on your GMB.
Direct Messaging and Customer Reviews
Customer reviews and replies are displayed and easy to manage
Finally, GMB profiles display public customer reviews and replies. Did you know that 9 out of 10 customers read reviews before making a purchase?
How-to Set Up Your GMB Profile
Getting started with GMB can be done in a few simple steps. First, you need access to it, and in order to access it, you must verify with Google that you are the rightful owner. To do this, you require two different Google platforms and three different Google accounts, all with similar names. Let’s go through them all.
Google Account: This is the first free account you need to activate. It will give you access to Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Photos, Gmail, etc. You can use one that you already have, if you have it.
Business Profile: This is your free business listing on Google that appears on applications such as Google Maps, Google Search, etc.
Google My Business Account: This is the final free account that you create that will grant you access to your dashboard, where you can manage and optimize your Business Profile.
So, now that we understand what we’re talking about, let’s look at the steps:
1. Ensure You Have a Google Account for Your Business (ie. Gmail Account)
If you do not already have a Google Account set up for your business that is separate from your personal account, follow these steps:
- Go to: accounts.google.com/signin
- Click ‘create account’
- Displayed: drop-down with 2 options. Choose to manage my business
- Supply the necessary information
2. Ensure You Have a Business Profile Activated
AKA your online business listing that shows at the top right of your Search results on Google. If you’re unsure how to create a Business Profile, follow these steps:
- Go to google.com/maps
- Search your business name
- If your business name populates in the drop-down with an address next to it, this means that your Business Profile already exists. However, if your name does not populate with an address, select it, and select ‘add a missing place’
- Provide the requested information in the next pop-up screen. In this window, you will see an option that reads ‘claim my business’.
3. Create a Google My Business Account
Creating a GMB Account tells Google that your account is for a business. You will need to ensure that you already have a Google Account (Step 1) in order to create a GMB account.
- Ensure you are logged into your business’ GMB account
- Go to: google.com/buisness
- Select ‘manage now;
- Provide the basic information in the prompts (business name, address, website URL, phone number, etc.)
- Properly supplying this information is critical for your business local SEO ranking and will attract more visitors.
4. Request to Claim Your Business Profile
This is where it all comes together. Start by locating your business profile on Google Maps and request to claim it:
- Go to: google.com/maps
- Type in your business name
- Click on your business profile
- An option that reads ‘claim this business’ will appear.
Select ‘manage now’ and follow the prompts.
Verify Ownership of Your Business
During the final step of Step 4 when you select ‘manage now’, a screen will appear that asks you to provide information to prove that you are the rightful owner of the business. You will either be validated on the spot, or Google will send you a verification code that you will then enter into your Google Business dashboard.
Once you’ve received the code and properly entered it onto your dashboard, you will receive full ownership of your Business Profile on Google. Now you can manage reviews, edit your hours, update information, add photos, and optimize it for successful SEO!
Although this seems like a daunting process, as the reasons outlined above tell us, it is definitely worth it. Google has changed the way consumers both find and engage with local businesses, so if you want to remain competitive, be sure to take the time to follow these steps.