Google my business, what is it and how can I use it for my business?

What is it?

Google my business (GMB) is a free tool that helps you manage your presence on Google maps and Google search so clients and prospects can find you! Essentially, it’s a free, local business listing service.

Is it worth it? Most definitely if you want to generate free local leads for your business (who doesn’t?)

Why GMB?

The key advantage over other listing services is simply in the fact that it’s Google and it’s local. Add to this that the GMB search results appear above the other Google listings and its attraction becomes undeniable.

It gets better, unlike the organic listings where you can be competing with millions of other businesses, GMB is local, so much less competitive.

There’s no denying Google’s popularity, “near me” searches for plumbers alone tops 74,000 UK searches per month. Wonder what your type of business gets? Pop along to Ubersuggest and type in what you do, followed by “near me” (without the quotes) so if you are a hairdresser you’d type “hairdresser near me” and don’t forget to select UK from the right-hand side.

Benefits abound, and not least of those is reflected in consumer behaviour. An expert study showed that 67% of clicks come from above the organic listings so it’s well worth the effort listing your business on GMB.

In the image, you can see the ads at the top of the page (you can see where Google make their money!) Followed by Google my business (formerly Maps and Places). Although you can’t see it in the image, the organic listings are below that.

How to get in on the gold rush? Getting listed

Head along to business.google.com. Login using your google account (if you don’t have one just click on “create account”).

If you already have an account, you will be in the main GMB management page, you can skip to “Rise to the top”. If not type in your business name when asked.

If you can’t find your business, you can add it. If your business is unclaimed you can claim it following the instructions given. If it is already claimed the process is not straightforward.

I won’t go into the detail of adding your information apart from stressing the importance of adding as much information as possible. The next section will help you complete your listing to start to rank higher on the list.

Rise to the top

To get to the top follow the steps below, it’s worth the effort!

Note: first you need to consider one important ranking factor in GMB. How far you are from the person searching either at the time of search or based on your distance from Googles estimation of your town centre. If you’re out in the sticks or in between towns, it’s going to be difficult to rank, sorry!

Business name

Use your actual business name, don’t try to be clever and add keywords, it won’t help.

Description

Fill the space – here you can use keywords but make sure you keep it conversational, as if you are describing what you do to a potential client.

Website/Microsite configuration

Don’t have a website, or even if you do, a microsite can help you can do it from within GMB.

Category

You can choose more than one but make sure it’s something you do!

Reviews

The more you get the better chance you have of getting to the top. Ask happy clients to review you on Google, make it easy and send them a link to your listing!

Responding

Always respond to reviews, especially the bad ones (not that you’ll get any!) if you do happen to get any genuine bad reviews, don’t challenge the reviewer, or be defensive. Offer to resolve the problem and thank them for bringing it to your attention. We all make mistakes but it’s how you deal with them that will make the difference to people reading the reviews.

Posts

Do regular posts, make them interesting, community driven and topical. News always goes down well or commenting on local events. Offers and shout outs work well too.

Citations

These are listings on other directories, here’s a list of the key UK Directories (see table 1). The more you get the higher you go up the rankings.

One important factor is to ensure that your name, address and phone number is consistent across all directories and that they match that of your Google listing. For example if you’re on GMB as:

My Company Limited

26 mystreet
Mytown
Mt3 7tQ

01234 546856

then…

My Company Ltd

26 mystreet,
Mytown
MT37TQ

+44 1234 546856

…will be seen as a different company!

Bing PlacesApple Maps Connect118 InformationScootThomson Local
FactualCentral IndexYellYelpFacebook
InfobelFree Index192.comTouch LocalCity Local
FoursquareHotfrogCylexTippedTupalo
My Local ServicesMister WhatFypleThe Best Of iBegin
Brown BookCity VisitorBT Phonebook
Table 1: Top citation websites

Photos

Add as many photo’s as possible, add them regularly. Log in regularly and make updates.

Products and services

Break down what you do or what you sell into as many different categories as possible. Thinks of it as a menu in a restaurant, the more items on the menu, the better.

Invest in software

I can recommend Whitespark and Brightlocal. Both are equally as good as each other and help you see how you are doing and gives advice on what you can do to rise up. For a reasonable charge they will also build citations for you, saving you time and ensuring it’s done correctly.

And finally…make sure your website is configured to work with GMB. This would take a whole article on it’s own but a good web developer will know what to do.

Damien O'Dwyer
Latest posts by Damien O'Dwyer (see all)

Damien O'Dwyer

Damien is a business growth and internet marketing expert with 22 years’ experience in the industry and has a technical IT and sales background. Damien, with his wife and business partner Danielle, possess a myriad of skills and knowledge across the spectrum of internet marketing and business growth in general. Their primary reason for being in business is to help my clients make more money from their business, using the internet.