Claiming and Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile
Let’s talk about Google My Business. It is a crucial online, digital tool service from Google
that is available to local businesses, true brick and mortar businesses, or service area
businesses. You have to have a business in a location to claim a profile for that location,
but when you do, it does unlock some powerful tools.
If you do work out of your home and you don’t want to put your address in there, you can
actually claim a service area of where you go out and serve your clients, but it does have
to be in your community. You can’t be in Chicago and say, “Well, I’ve got customers in
Dallas. I’d like to actually claim that”. You have to have it in the city where you have your
I want to talk to those that have not claimed your profile, have not created it, or haven’t
implemented this idea at all. Under Google My Business, you really want to make sure
that you claim that thing and enhance it. If you don’t want to, have the time, or are afraid
you will do something wrong with it, hire someone who not only knows what they’re doing,
but also knows how to “deck it out” …
Claim Your Business
If you just want to start from the beginning, set up a Google My Business profile, but once you
find it, if you’ve already claimed it, you should be able to log into business.google.com and do
all the editing we’re going to talk about. But if you find that it’s not been verified, you’re going to
have to go through the necessary steps, and sometimes these are easier than others.
Here’s an issue that we come across all the time. Don’t be surprised if you actually find duplicate
listings. This again, I think, goes back to the days when this data was coming from Google Places
and from Google Local and sometimes, people just set up three or four accounts because some-
body left the organization and they decided they needed one and so they set another one up. So,
don’t be surprised if you find duplicate listings and a lot of times, it might be a variation of the name
or a different phone number or maybe you moved your business and so it has a different address.
So, what you want to do is you want to find the one that is incorrect or that is certainly not right
(maybe it doesn’t have the full information and so it’s the one you want to get rid of). So, what
you want to do is you will typically find a tab that says “suggest and edit”. You want to click on
that and you want to mark that location as permanently closed. I’m finding that Google wants to
clean up that information and so if they can verify that that is accurate, they will close it within a
If it was set up by somebody who no longer works for you or you don’t even really know who set
it up, it’s going to take a little longer because they’re going to actually try to reach out to the email
address that they have on file for that and if they don’t get a response, they will go ahead and
make that change. So, cleaning up that duplicate may be your first step. So, claim or create,
verify that it’s your listing, and then see if you can clean up duplicates. Unfortunately, that’s the
Add your name, address, and phone number
Now, go through your profile itself. The most important information is the name of your business,
address, and phone number. Don’t get cute with this. I mean, in some cases, people will try to
put keywords at the end of their name and all kinds of goofy things that somebody told them to
get so they’d benefit from it. Don’t do it. Make the business the name of your business as you
want your customers to see it, the address, make it consistent with what you have on your website,
and the phone number, make it consistent with what you have on your website as well. Make sure
that those things are accurate. This might be a good time to look at your website as well. Have
you got that wrong on your website? Don’t laugh. I find it all the time. So, let’s make sure that
those are right and the same as your website.
Choose the right category
The next really important element is something they call “category” and particularly, if you
have not claimed your Google My Business profile, Google will take a guess at what they
think it is based on your name, based on a description, based on things they find out there
on the web. Don’t take their advice necessarily. They may or may not have that right.
Some of the other information like hours and things are pretty straightforward. There is
an opportunity for you to upload images and this is something that Google tracks in their
insights and so I do think it’s a ranking factor. Also, particularly on a mobile device, it’s a
good trust building and content element. So, upload 8 or 10 photos of your products, of
your business, of your people. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but make sure that you
have some pretty good representative images that you upload. So, that’s the setting up
of the profile and again, after you claim it and after you do some things to enhance it,
there’s really not a whole lot more to that.
Understand Google My Business attributes
If you’re logged into your Google account, and you do a search for your business, they
have now started showing an editable version of your Google My Business profile. Nobody
else can see that, but you’ll be able to see it and what’s really nice about that is that you
can actually respond to reviews right in there. You can make changes. You can see what
statistical data they’re now sharing, and more.
Google is really investing in Google My Business and adding some very interesting new
features. I think it’s really a sign that this is a key component for them, which to me marks
the reason for actually really getting involved in understanding your Google My Business
profile and viewing it frequently rather than just set it and forget it.
There is some indication that this is actually helping people rank. So, maybe you have a
special coming up or maybe you have a new product or a workshop that you’re holding,
it just allows you to put that information in there and you can set when it expires. People
are finding that they are getting traffic from these posts because you can also put a link to
your workshop sign up or something like that. So, I think it is worth spending a little bit of
time to go in and enhance that and add those posts on a routine basis.
Another tool is called Insights and this will give you a little bit of information on how many
times your profile is showing up in search or in maps and what people are doing. Are they
calling you? Are they clicking on it? Are they looking for driving directions? All the things
that people can do and do frequently, particularly on mobile devices.
This is also a place where you can see not only your reviews but reply to your reviews
and frankly, replying to every one of your reviews. Getting reviews, of course, is extremely,
extremely important. Replying to reviews I think can be very important as well and this is
or both good reviews and bad reviews. Bad reviews, of course, because it gives you an
opportunity to tell your side of the story, if you will, or maybe state the facts as only you
can, but I think when you respond to five-star reviews as well, I think it does a couple of
First off, that person that gave you the review is going to get a notice and, quite frankly,
probably appreciate that you saw that and replied. But it’s also another opportunity for
you to show a personal side of your business.
Another element I want to talk about is messaging. What they’ll ask you to do is connect
that to a phone that can receive text. So, it has to be a mobile device that not only can
receive text, but does, and that you can respond with. If you’re in the right kind of business,
this could be a great leg up because a lot of times when people are searching out there on
Google, they are trying to solve something.
They want to hire somebody right now to do something and instead of sending an email or
even picking up the phone, because a lot of people don’t like to do that, if they can text right
from their browser window and they can get a response from you immediately, you might
win the deal.
If you’re the kind of business that books appointments, they’re now actually making that an
option right off of your Google My Business page. Again, you have to integrate it with one
of the booking kind of services that they work with. There’s about a dozen that are on there
currently, so that might be an option if you’re a hair salon or a massage facility or something
of that nature.
I’m not recommending this for everyone, but they are actually now adding a platform where
you can build a Google website. Essentially, it’ll just be a very simple landing page but they
have got a couple of tools on there to make it pretty and add photos and drag and drop some
things. So, if you’ve been living on your Facebook page and you don’t have a full website,
which is certainly what we recommend, it could be an option for you as well.
So, that’s really all I wanted to cover today on Google My Business, but this is really a key
ranking factor for local businesses and it’s probably the primary building block these days
for a local business. For example, when you see those businesses that show up in the maps
listing when somebody searches hair salon near me, you can’t show up in that unless you
have a profile that you have claimed, that you’ve optimized and obviously, getting things like
reviews, and frequently adding posts, and making sure that the information is accurate is
how you’re going to show up. That’s one of the pieces of the puzzle. There are of course
many others, but that’s the one I wanted to cover today.
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