Google My Business in 2021: Guide for beginners

Gotraffic author

Lovro Prica

12 October 2021 | Digital marketing

Google My Business in 2021: Guide for beginners

It doesn’t matter if you run an online business or only have a physical branch, your potential customers will search Google, which means you have to be present.

A website is a logical start to digitization, but there is also an easier and faster way to be visible to your customers, and that is Google My Business (GMB).

Of course, Google My Business can’t replace a website, but it’s another free way to promote so it would be wise to take advantage of it.

Google My Business is a platform that allows business owners to create and promote their business profiles on Google search and communicate with their customers.

It should be taken into account that today’s consumers are used to getting all the necessary information in a very short time with very little effort, and in this way they can find out everything they are interested in about your company without having to click on your site at all.

Why do you need Google My Business?

In 2021, it is often not enough to just have a website for your business to achieve the desired results.

Google My Business is a great way to communicate with your existing and potential customers because it brings together all the important information that customers might be interested in, such as location, business hours, reviews, contact, and other information that describes your business.

Don’t forget the impact social proof has on consumer purchasing decisions.

If you can choose between two companies you know nothing about, but one has no reviews and the other has over 50 mostly positive reviews praising the quality and commitment of the company you will surely choose a ‘verified’ company.

The platform also gives you the ability to respond to reviews so you can thank customers who praise you or possibly justify yourself and offer your side of the story if someone is dissatisfied with your service and has left you a bad review.

One of the biggest benefits of using this platform is the fact that Google My Business results are above paid ads which increases the chance that you will get a click.

Also, Google My Business results are shown in Google Maps, which also benefits you because research shows that 77% of users use Google Maps to find local businesses near them

Let’s say you have a restaurant in Brooklyn and you don’t have Google My Business.

If someone types ‘Restaurant Brooklyn’ into Google, they will see several results and find out which restaurant is closest to them, which has the best reviews, which restaurant has delivery and phone numbers of all restaurants.

Only if the user is not satisfied with the choice offered or simply wants to explore more will he scroll down to see the rest of the offer and see your ad or organic result.

As many as 82% of smartphone users type in the search engine terms that contain ‘near me’.

This is extremely important because Google uses an algorithm that ranks Google My Business profiles in the same way that it ranks organic results or paid ads.

By optimizing your account and location related keywords to your profile, you can achieve great results with your local customers.

Another big advantage is the Knowledge panel.

Every day, marketing experts are trying to attract the attention of potential customers in new and more creative ways.

Google My Business decided not to play a subtitle game with that. After typing the search term users can see a large box on the right that is almost impossible to ignore and contains the name, image, location, reviews and contact of the company they are looking for.

This is also very useful if your competition is advertising on your keywords.

When users type in a term that contains the company name, they expect the company they entered to be the first result and instinctively click without reading the ad at all. Mostly the company they were looking for is in the first place, but often someone else breaks through to the first position. With Google My Business, users will learn everything they need without having to click at all.

In addition to all the advantages mentioned, another great feature of this platform are insights.

With insights you can:

  • track what terms your users type in to get to your profile
  • track whether customers have found you using Google maps or the Google Search network
  • track what actions they have taken
  • track what performance your images have compared to your competition.

How to set up Google My Business?

  1. Create an account

The first step in creating a Google My Business profile is to log in to your Google Account or create a new one.

When you sign up, enter your business address.

The next step is to choose the category to which your company belongs.

After that, enter your contact information, phone and / or website and you have created your profile.

  1. Profile verification

You need to verify your Google My Business profile before it can appear in the results.

You can easily do this using mail, email or your cell phone.

  1. Profile optimization

You can optimize your profile by entering all the information that might be of interest to your customers.

Make an effort to use all the relevant keywords and categories offered – consider what the customer could type into the search engine with the solution of his problem being your company.

How to confirm my Google My Business?

  1. Via Google My Business

Sign in to Google My Business. Find your business and select it, then follow the steps to verify that you are the owner.

  1. Via Google Maps

Locate your business on Google Maps, then click ‘Manage this listing’

  1. Via the Google search network

Type your business name into the Google search engine then click ‘Own this business?’

How to add social network links?

If you want to further improve your profile, you can also add links to your company’s social media profiles. Google My Business currently supports links to the following networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.

If you’ve already posted social links to your website, Google will probably display them on your GMB profile, but sometimes you have to get involved and manually add social media profiles.

To add a link to your profile, follow these steps:

First make sure you can access the backend of your site and add the script to the source code of your homepage If you can’t, send these instructions to a web developer who can do it.

{ “@context” : “http://schema.org”,

  “@type” : “Organization”,

  “name” : “Your Organization Name”,

  “url” : “http://www.your-site.com”,

  “sameAs” : 

[ “http://www.facebook.com/your-profile”,

    “http://www.linkedin.com/yourProfile”,

    “http://www.instagram.com/your_profile”]

}

Copy the script and change the following parameters:

In the name, instead of “Your organization”, enter the name of your company.

You will paste the URL of your website into the url.

In the “sameAs” section, instead of the listed links, place profile links on social networks.

Once you’ve pasted the code, Google will ‘crawl’ your website and place profile links to your Google My Business profile. It takes a while for this to happen, sometimes a couple of weeks so don’t worry if you don’t see a change the next day.

How to get a high position on Google Maps?

  1. Choose a ‘good’ primary category

Google allows you to choose one primary and several secondary categories that your business belongs to, with the primary carrying a much higher ranking value.

For most companies, this is not a problem. For example, a divorce lawyer can choose the category ‘Divorce lawyer’. But a law firm that employs many lawyers who deal with various branches of law has a slightly more complicated situation.

Few some tips for choosing a primary category:

  • Which service are you best known for?
  • For what service do you need new clients the most?
  • Keep seasonality in mind (e.g., you optimize your profile so that your primary category is air conditioning in summer and heating in winter)
  • If you have more than one practitioner each can have their own profile (e.g. each lawyer in a law firm can have their own GMB profile).
  1. Add high quality images

According to research, about 60% of people say that local searches with good images successfully catch their attention.

We suggest a few specific photos:

  • your logo
  • your branch from the outside (to make it easier for people to find you physically)
  • the interior of your branch
  • your employees / your team
  • your employees interacting with customers.
  1. Get reviews

Reviews are key to the smaller businesses success. Not only do they have a big impact on SEO, but they also have a big impact on potential customers.

According to a Bright Local survey, 86% of users read reviews, and 57% of users say they will only do business with a company if they have 4 or more stars.

You can achieve this by, after a job well done, asking your customers to leave you a review if they are satisfied.

  1. Respond to reviews

According to a Bright Local survey we’ve already listed, 89% of users read reviews the company leaves on their profile. Take this opportunity to interact with your customers and show your human side.

You don’t have to respond to all the positive reviews, but you should respond to the majority and respond to all the negative reviews because that way you can resolve disagreements and misunderstandings in a dignified way.

  1. Publish posts

Posts are a relatively new feature of Google My Business. It’s a quick and easy way to keep your customers informed of offers, products, services and general news about your business.

There is no specific research on this topic, but many marketers believe that regular posts containing relevant keywords have a positive effect on your Google My Business profile ranking.

What if the competition leaves me fake reviews?

Some business owners find themselves in trouble when they find that their competition is deliberately leaving them false and malicious reviews in order to discourage customers from doing business with them.

The first step in solving this problem is, of course, to detect which reviews are really fake and which were left by real customers who didn’t have a good experience.

Recognizing fake reviews

Typical features of fake reviews are:

  • You cannot find the name of the user who left the review in your database. If the user did not buy from you or used your service, there is a good chance that it is a fake review.
  • The user has left several similar negative reviews on other Google My Business profiles.
  • If a user mentions a product or service that you do not have on offer, there is a high probability that there is confusion.
  • The user did not leave any reason or justification for the bad grade he left.

Detecting fake reviews is the easier part but removing them from your profile can be a little more complicated.

Responding to fake reviews

Reviews, positive or negative, can be a good chance to communicate as they give you the opportunity to convince other readers of your professionalism, kindness and expertise.

If you can’t find information about the user who left you a bad review, you can respond as follows:

“Thank you for leaving a review. We take our customer feedback very seriously; however, unfortunately we cannot find you in our customer base. We will be happy to solve your problem if we can. If you have had a bad experience with our service, please contact us by e-mail. ”

This shows that you are not stubborn, that you are sincerely sorry if someone had a bad experience and that you are willing to correct it. It also lets other readers know that something is wrong with this review because you cannot find customer information.

How to remove fake reviews

Anyone can report reviews they believe are fake. You can do this by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner and then clicking on ‘Flag as inappropriate’.

You will then be redirected to the Google Privacy Policy page where you can leave your email address and describe the problem you are having.

After you submit your request, Google will review your complaint and take the action it believes is correct.

Conclusion

  • Google My Business gathers all relevant information for your customers in one place: name, location, opening hours, reviews, etc.
  • Google My Business results appear above paid ads and on Google Maps
  • almost 80% of users use Google Maps to find local businesses near them
  • Google ranks Google My Business results the same way it does with ads and organic results, so make sure you fill out all the information you need to be in a better position.

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