What is Google My Business (GMB)?
Formerly known as Google Local and Google Places, Google My Business is Google’s own online directory. It’s a kind of online hub that allows you to list your company’s key features and contact details all in one place.
One you have set up a Google My Business listing, all your business info will be fed into Google’s database, ready to be returned when a user conducts a search either for your business name, or for a query that matches what your business can offer.
Where does a GMB listing appear?
Business listings typically show up in the Local Pack, which is the section near the top of the results page, underneath the paid-for Google ads, that contains up to three Maps markers. Listings will also appear in the Google Maps app and be returnable via Google Home and Google Assistant voice searches.
If a business has been added to Google My Business but isn’t placed in the top three results, users may still be able to find it by clicking on the ‘more places’ link, which expands on these listings further.
Additionally, a Google My Business listing may show up in the Knowledge Panel – although this is more likely to happen if the user is searching specifically for the company name.
The Knowledge Panel is a standalone block of information that shows up either above the organic results or to the right of the listings. It contains comprehensive business data that is automatically pulled through from Google My Business and Google Maps.
What information can be added to a GMB listing?
The great thing about Google My Business profiles is they can be tailored to include a whole wealth of information, including your:
Business description or bio
Address or targeted area
Photos, posts, and user-generated reviews can also be added to lend extra weight and credibility to your listing.
Why is having a Google My Business important for online companies?
Having a presence on Google My Business can bring you a lot more visibility in the SERPs.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and it returns 5.6 billion searches for global users every single day. So, if you don’t sign your business up with this unstoppable search titan, you will undoubtedly miss out on a great deal of visibility from the digital market in terms of both branded and local searches.
Having a Google My Business listing in place is also vital for SEO because:
It tells Google exactly who you are, what you offer, which area(s) you serve, and how people perceive your business. This information can be used to satisfy Google’s three most important ranking factors: Relevance, Proximity and Prominence. Put simply, the data held in your Google My Business listing gets rid of the need for any guesswork and helps its algorithm decide how and when your website should be returned for relevant search queries.
Verifying your Google My Business listing – which we will cover in more detail later – proves to Google that you are a genuine entity, and therefore instils more trust in your business and your website.
Adding a Google My Business profile to the system means your business is likely to be presented in the Local Pack, Maps Pack or Knowledge Panel, meaning you get more bites at the cherry where your search exposure is concerned!
What if my business has multiple branches or locations?
Ideally, you should set up a separate Google My Business listing for every location.
You can do this from one single Google My Business account to save any confusion and make it clear to Google that all locations belong to the same organisation.
How do I improve my chances of ranking well in the Local Pack, appearing in the Maps Pack or showing up in the Knowledge Panel?
If you want the best chance of achieving a prominent position on the page, you need to make sure all your business information is accurate and up to date – and you need to work on improving your listing over time by adding relevant images, articles and links to your profile.
You should also encourage all your customers to leave you testimonials via Google’s ‘Write a review’ feature. Collecting genuine, user-generated feedback will instil more trust in the credibility of your business and encourage Google to rank it more favourably.
Is it free to list a business with Google?
Yes. You don’t need to pay a fee to add your business to Google’s database.
How to create your listing in 10 easy steps
If you have all the right information to hand, setting up a Google My Business listing takes a matter of minutes.
Sign into the Google account you want to be associated with your listing. (If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one.). It’s best to use a business account instead of a personal one
Go to Google.com/business and click ‘Start now’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen
Add your business name
Add your business address
Untick the ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ box if you need to
Click ‘Hide my address’ if you don’t want your physical location to appear in search
Set your delivery area. You can specify that you only deliver to a certain region or postcode, or you can say that you deliver to customers within a certain mile radius
Choose your business category
Add your business address and phone number (making sure there are no typos or inaccuracies!)
Choose your verification method
Before Google can set your listing live, it will need you to prove that you are who you say you are. In most cases, you will be able to verify your listing by:
Requesting a postcard to your business address
Google will send a postcode to your business location containing a 5 digit PIN. You’ll need to log in and enter this code to complete the submission process.
Receiving a code to your phone
Google will send you a text with a verification code, which you’ll need to enter online to finish off your listing.
Receiving a code via email
Click the link and you’ll be good to go!
Setting up a Google my Business listing is an important step towards a better search presence. But it’s only the start of the SEO process.
If your website is not performing as well as you’d like it to, contact the team at Multi Layer Media for a FREE SEO audit. We’ll tell you what’s working, what’s not, and what you need to do to start dominating the SERPs.