Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes adding your business name, location, and hours of operation. You are also allowed to monitor & reply to customer reviews, adding photos even gain insights into where and how people are searching for you online. This even allows customers to make reservations at your location (and get directions and call your locations) and more. Wowser that was a load… The truth is, mastering your Google My Business listing is valuable, and quite easy to do.
Google My Business is important for any business with physical locations. After all, when people search for a product or service near them, they’re usually very close to making a purchase. Stats show that 88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. It’s important the information about your business showing up when people search Google is as accurate, complete, and optimized.
In this post, we will provide a complete walk-through and Google My Business help for account setup, ensuring your Google Page is optimized for the best results.
Categories are a brief description of your business which helps customers who are searching for your products or services to find you quickly and easily. For example; if you are listed as a Mexican Restaurant you may not only show up in Google local search listing under “Mexican restaurants” but you may also be found by customers searching for “Restaurants”, “Tex-Mex” or even “tacos”.
Google has a wide range of categories to choose from Be specific when choosing your primary category. For example, if you operate a hair salon choose “Hair salon” as your primary category rather than “Salon”.
It is also recommended that you choose additional categories to let customers know more about the other services that you offer. For example, if you operate a computer repair store that also sells computer accessories and offers computer consulting services as well, you should choose “Computer repairs” as your primary category and add “Computer accessories store” and “Computer consultant services” as additional categories.
To add or edit categories for your listing:
Please note that you may be asked to verify your business again if you’ve made significant changes.
Verifying your business listing is important. In order to manage your business information, your account needs to be verified. Google does this to verify the accuracy of your business information. Google’s primary method of verification is Postcard by mail. Typically, the verification code will be mailed to you (which could take up to 5 days). Once you’ve entered the verification code into your account, you’ll be able to manage your local business information on Google.
There are other forms of verifications such as email, phone, or Search Console but these are usually not available.
Verification by Mail
To enter the verification code, follow these steps:
Verification by Phone
Phone verification isn’t available for all businesses. If you do qualify for phone verification the “Phone verification” option would be available. To verify by phone follow these steps:
Verification by email
Similar to phone verification, email verification isn’t for all businesses. If you do qualify for email verification you’ll see the “Verify by email” option when you start the verification process.
Your Google business description is a short summary of your business that appears when a user searches for your local business. It usually appears just under your online reviews (pictured below). It is important that your description is accurate and punchy in order to lure visitor on to your site. Keep in mind that there is a 750 character limit on descriptions.
Adding your Google business descriptions
Things to remember:
Photos and videos play a big role. Studies show that 22.6% of all search traffic happens on Google Images so it is important to have adequate photos and videos on your Google My Business listing to help customers find you.
To add photos and videos follow these steps.
Photo and Video guidelines
Google My Business lets customers know when your business location is open. To add or change your business hours on Google, follow these steps:
To better represent your business hours, you can periods in the day that your business would not be opened to customers. One example of that could be lunch breaks.
For example, if your business is open from 9 AM–2 PM on Mondays, closed from 2 PM–5 PM, then open again from 5 PM–10 PM:
Google My Business posts appear in Google search and Maps and is a powerful tool that allows you to promote your products, event, and special offers. GMB offers a 4 post type; What’s New, Events, Offers, and Products. You can think of them as a “mini-ads”. Google My Business post can contain text, photos, and videos. Here are the requirements for photos and videos to be used in GMB posts.
To create a Google My Business post, follow these steps:
Google My Business allows visitors to set up an appointment or book a reservation – all right when they find your business online. This feature is exclusive for restaurants, fitness, wellness and beauty businesses in the U.S and requires the use of a third party booking provider.
Here is a list of Google’s booking or scheduling partners:
To choose a Google My Business provider, follow these steps:
Responding to questions in a timely manner from potential customers shows that you are ready to do business. Google My Business makes it easy to respond to questions from customers who found you online. This messaging feature is currently available to select merchant in select countries. You can communicate to customers via SMS and Google Allo.
Messaging via SMS
To turn on messaging with customers, follow these steps:
When using SMS messaging, standard message and data rates may apply.
Messaging via Google Allo
Google’s own smart messaging app, Allo, is a great alternative to SMS.
Google Allo can be downloaded from the Android Play Store or iOS App Store. Register Allo with the same number you used to sign up for messaging on Google My Business. Messages will start to appear on Google Allo instead of SMS.
There is no shortage of review sites out there but studies show that Google is the fastest growing. That is certainly not surprising. Consumers are likely to have user accounts on Google already. That means there’s less friction in leaving reviews of businesses.
Google also makes writing a Google review is extremely easy, which is why it is such a powerful review platform. Reviewers must be signed into their Google account to write a review, no anonymous reviews are allowed. They type your business name into the google search bar and click on the Google review link Write a Review button in your Google knowledge panel (shown below).
Waiting for organic reviews to roll in is not effective. The reality is that when left on their own, your Google My Business page may accumulate customer complaints, rather than get genuine reviews. Generating review requires a proactive approach.
The quickest and most effective method of generating Google my business reviews is using a reputation management platform. While there are a few online review management tools out there, 5StarRocket offers the best value by providing a robust feature set at the most competitive price. 5StarRocket also offers a full 30-day risk-free trial (no credit card required) to ensure that they are the best fit for your business.
Google My Business notifies you of new reviews via email. This is useful as it allows to take swift action in responding to reviews, especially those negative and potentially damaging reviews. This feature is enabled by default but you can verify that it is set up correctly by following these steps.
Reviews are important to any business. They provide valuable feedback and help nudge customers who are on the fence to make a purchasing decision. Replying to reviews can help build your customers’ trust. Google allows you to respond to reviews right from your GMB dashboard. When you reply to a review, your response will appear below your customer’s review on Google Search and Maps under the label “Response from the owner”. People on Google will see both the customer review and your response when they look at your Google My Business reviews.
To respond to a review do the following:
Removing Google Reviews isn’t as easy as clicking the delete button (there isn’t a delete button). A review can be flagged as inappropriate and marked for deletion by Google. Keep in mind that a user can’t directly delete a review. Only reviews that violate the Google review policies can be removed from Google My Business listings.
Flag a review in your account
If one of your reviews violates Google review policies, you can flag it for removal. The review will be assessed by Google and possibly removed from your listing.
Follow these steps:
There are a few reasons why your reviews could vanish from your Google My Business Listing. We will take a look at the causes and solutions to getting your reviews back.
Inaccurate Listing Information
Incorrect or inaccurate information can prevent your customers from leaving a review. Ensure that you have the correct and complete address listed. You can do so by:
Wait a few minutes. This should refresh your GMB profile and your reviews should reappear. If the reviews still don’t appear, try clearing your browser’s cache.
Ensure that there are not duplicate business listings. You can do so by searching Google Maps for your business’s exact name and address. This might seem like Google removed a review from your listing, but it appears on an alternate listing.
You can remove a duplicate listing by either reporting it to Google via Maps or removing the location through the GMB dashboard.
To remove a listing via GMB dashboard:
If a business changes location but keeps the same name, Google should transfer the reviews to the new location, which is reflected on Google Maps. Relocating usually require re-verification. See Google My Business Verification.
A customer would not be able to leave a review if an account is inactive. An account is deemed inactive if the owner fails to log into their Google My Business dashboard or show any activity such as post updates, upload/share photos, respond to reviews, etc after a significant length of time.
Accounts that have not been verified would also be considered inactive.
Google will attempt to contact you via email before it revokes the status to see if there is someone actively managing the listing.
Reviews with Links and URLs
Google can also remove reviews and responses that contain any links or URLs.
Google won’t show the full set of reviews until at least five people leave a review or rating of a business. It may be difficult in the early stages of your business to generate reviews. It is recommended that you use an online review management platform, such as 5starRocket to help direct your customers to Google, or any other online review platform, in order to grow your positive reviews.
Conclusion: Google is the most powerful and fastest growing review site. It is essential that you are listed on Google and that your listing is optimized. It is also important that you have meaningful reviews on Google. 5starRocket allows you to do just that by giving your happy customers an opportunity to share their experience with others on the most powerful online review site out there.