Quick Links

Google My Business 2020

What is Google My Business?

Are you using Google My Business to its full capabilities? Find out with this article detailing all my top tips and experience for those business people who want to be found on Google and improve their visibility. From posts to insights. Here’s the low down to help you get started.


A bit about Google before we begin

Hi, I hope you’re well and thank you for visiting this page. I’ve become a bit of an expert in Google My Business. I’ve been working with the platform, in all its guises since 2012. Because I’m a kind soul and it’s excellent for my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), I wanted to share what I know about why GMB is so brilliant for your business so that you can get all the available benefits too.


Broader look

However, before I get into the details of it, I thought I’d take a step back and have a broader look at Google the company. Google’s been around for a while. It’s been a household name for some years. So, way back, in September 1998 it was founded.


Google’s mission

Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Ten things it knows to be true

Scrabble letters, standing up on a surface, spelling out the word ten.

An excellent Mission Statement, right? Google helps us understand its raison d ‘être by expanding on it with the ‘Ten things it knows to be true’. Google stands by and occasionally reviews these ten things.

I thought you might like to read them to get an understanding of the underlying reasons for doing your best with your Google My Business listing and what is important. Here goes:

  1. Focus on the user, and all else will follow.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Fast is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There’s always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a suit.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough.
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

In summary, providing the best user experience is the key to success on the web. Focus on what you do best, offer it at the highest possible quality and strive to improve and develop what you do.

Fast loading website

Make sure your website loads fast, and you keep up-to-date in a timely fashion. Being the best you can and communicating it clearly on the internet will get you more ‘votes’ and Google will acknowledge this by showing you above your competitors.

Mobile compatibility

Make sure you’re available on mobile devices too. People search while they’re inside and outside.

Advertising

Advertising isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s relevant to the searcher. You can increase your chances of being found by the right customers using Google Adwords.

Update

Always update your information, tweaking your information informs algorithms of your dedication to doing well.

Global & local

Don’t forget Google is a global platform; your message can reach everyone with a computer in distant lands, with Google Translate on hand to help people understand your offering in 130 languages. Or, if you prefer, you can restrict content to one.

No suits needed

It doesn’t matter what you wear; your mindset is more important. Having fun doesn’t mean you’re not great at what you do, and creativity emerges in the right culture. Being inclusive is important. Goal setting, innovation and iteration are driving forces for improvement. Make ‘great’ your starting point! 


What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a Google Platform integrated with Google Maps, Google Search and Google Earth that shows all the businesses, landmarks, organisations, areas and countries on the map, with information about that particular location.

Screenshot of St Albans on Google Maps showing businesses, landmarks, organisations, areas etc inline with the text

Backend

Google My Business is the backend of business listings that appear on Google. This platform is where businesses login to add or edit information about their company or organisation. The information and content contained in Google My Business show up on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Earth. 

Information

Information such as geographical location, address, Company name, phone number, email address, website, opening hours, the latest updates about the business and more is displayed.

This information makes it much easier for people using Google search to find particular information about your company. Google displays the information in a way that is easy to navigate, and travel to your premises in person, once they’ve established, you can deliver what they need. 

Your Google My Business listing appears on Google Search in what is known as the Knowledge Panel or Graph. This panel shows on the right-hand side of top search results. Give it a go by typing your company name into Google Search, and you can see how yours looks. 

Example of Google Knowledge Panel

If your business does not have a Google My Business listing, you are missing out on people who are actively searching for businesses like yours right now. 

Get Google My Business free by setting one up.


Why do I need Google My Business?

It is firmly established by global marketing experts and SEO gurus that Google My Business is the highest authority about your business; people simply trust it!

Sources of information

Chalk board with INFO written on it
Photo by Giulia May on Unsplash

Google sources information about your business from many places, such as Government websites, local authorities, websites that reference your company which has a higher domain authority, including social media platforms. There are 200 signals and ways of checking what your business looks like online, including PageRank™, which is a patented Google algorithm. All this information integrates with the facts provided directly by the business owner.

Vital and free

Google My Business is a vital and free source of information about your business. It is not only location-based businesses that benefit from having a Google My Business listing. Any organisation can have a Google My Business page, and use it to promote their products or services.


Google’s corporate mission

Google’s corporate mission is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google wants to make this easy for you, because it serves their purpose, of connecting people with precisely what they want.  Also, the more money your business makes, the more money you might decide to invest in their other business services, such as AdWords, oh and Google Street View inside virtual tours.  It’s a win-win situation, creating customers for your business, and creating customers for Google and suppliers of Google products too. 


What can I do with Google My Business?

What can’t you do? That would be a much shorter answer. But as I’m doing what Google would like and trying to be as helpful and useful as possible, here’s the long and hopefully informative answer.

So many features

There are so many features in Google My Business to help you promote your business even more across the internet! Google has been updating and including more features for the past few years. New features are still being added, in Google’s constant pursuit of development; helping people search for a find precisely what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Here are some of the features that could be helping your business right now:


Posts

Posts in your Google My Business listing are like social media, but better because they are accessible to anyone who is using Google to search. You don’t need to have an account with Google, nor subscribe or sign up to any particular platform.

Posts appear in the knowledge panel or graph in Google Search, to the right of Google Search results. They are displayed to people on their mobile or desktop devices when they’re searching for businesses of your type.

You can highlight any offers you currently have including,

Essentially you can use any marketing content you create that you want your existing and potential customers to see. Below is an example of the kind of post I published just before we were locked-down due to COVID-19. 


Info

Info is where you input and update all the information about your business including useful things such as:


Features & fields

There are also many other features and fields, including the facility to set up and change your profile short name or unique URL (web site address link to your Google My Business listing). You can change your profile short name up to 3 times a year. You’ll also find the Attributes section on the Info page. Attributes provide more information about what your business has to offer. For example, does your company have wifi, is it women-led or is it child-friendly? These attributes appear as badges on mobile devices. Attributes fall into two categories, factual and subjective. Factual information such as whether there is live music, and subjective information like what the crowd is like; is it family-friendly.  Many headings can have attributes; some of these include:


Take ownership

By taking ownership of your Google My Business listing, you can easily update any changes to your business. Update your listing by logging into your Google My Business page on your desktop through a browser (Chrome is a great browser to use as it’s a Google product) or the Google My Business app on your smartphone.

NB// The general public can also make suggestions about your business, so it’s essential to check in to verify any changes people have indicated. 


Hey Google!

People activity use Google search, and “Hey Google!” on their mobiles to find out this type of information. Keeping your business information up to date not only gives people the right information it lets the Google algorithm know your business is being monitored and kept up to date, providing helpful information. Google then presents your business more readily for your business category locally when people are searching for your type of business or organisation.  


Menu

The Menu item only appears if your category of business is one of those included in the ‘Food Services’ or ‘Food industry’ sector. You only need to display a menu if your business is, for example, a restaurant, cafe, pub or fast food establishment and serves food.

If you do own or run an eatery, it’s another excellent opportunity for you to get what you sell in front of people so that people looking to eat the kind of food you serve know where you are and can get to you.

Restaurant owner giving thumbs up with plate of delicious foot
Fouad the lovely curly owner of Bar Meze in St Albans

Populate & update

Populating and updating your menu in your Google My Business listing is another way to let the Google Bot know that you’re open for business and in turn, will get shown to people more readily.

You can upload a picture of your menu, and you can add menu sections, such as starters or appetisers, mains and desserts and drinks and you can add individual items like prawn cocktail or tandoori king prawn masala. Each item has a box for Item price (£) and Item description, including up to 1,000 characters. 

Photos

Upload photos of the dishes you serve is also an option. People can then see what the food you serve looks like as well as read about it in the description. It’s crucial to have excellent quality photographs of your food and premises to ensure you demonstrate a professional appearance. Potential customers see a well-presented business. Presenting your business well from every angle will build trust and encourage footfall. 

By uploading photos of your food and business, you’ll attract people who want the type of food you prepare, and you’ll have customers who are already looking forward to eating it.

Smoked salmon rolled on a white plate with twirled lemon and a blob of rose marie sauce
Delicious food from Bar Meze in St Albans

Insights

Insights are the analytics of your Google My Business page. They give you information about the performance of your Google My Business listing. How many people discover your business, how many people visited your website, and even what search terms they used to find you. 

How people find your business

You’ll see which queries people use to find your business, such as, ‘St Albans restaurants’ or ‘home improvement companies locally’. Use these search terms as keywords for your website pages, posts and blogs. You can also use the words from the correct queries search terms to inform the next post you create to support Google to show your post to more people who are interested in precisely what you sell. 

How customers search

Customers search for your business using different methods. People searching the internet arrive directly, perhaps because you’ve met them and given them your card. They discover your firm because they search online for a category, product or service that you sell or provide. They also come across your business by searching for a brand related to your business. It’s possible to filter the results by the previous week, month or quarter. Graphs provide a pictorial representation of results to help identify trends, peaks and troughs.

The option to post to your listing and to promote your business using Google AdWords is also in this section.


Reviews

Reviews and recommendations are digital word-of-mouth marketing. It’s a well-known fact that one of the most compelling reasons people buy from businesses is from a testimonial or review from a third party. If someone else says what you do is brilliant, it’s way more believable than you saying it yourself.

Get over 100 reviews

To optimise your listing using Google My Business you’re aiming at 100 reviews. You can get people reviewing your business on Google by sharing your unique link. If you’ve found this page useful I’d love a review from you too:

I love what I’ve read so far, found it useful and learned at least one new thing. I would like to leave a 5* review for Striking Places Photography on Google My Business 🙂

child with a red t-shirt grinning with their right hand showing thumbs up
Photo by Tetbirt Salim on Unsplash

Messaging

Messaging is only possible using Google My Business App. The desktop/browser version provides links where you can download the app to your smartphone. Here they are for your convenience.

On your desktop, the Messaging tab will display whether messaging is active. 


Photos

Photos are important to Google. 

Have I mentioned?! Google LOVES photos! And of course, as I’m a photographer, I do too. I’m a Google Trusted Photographer involved with a Google project, now called Google Street View inside, since 2012. I was accepted into the programme after applying, learning the strict rules, passing rigorous tests and shooting and publishing many panoramas to Google Maps for location-based businesses.

Creating Google Street View inside

To create Google Street View inside a string of 360 panoramas is joined together to form a virtual tour. We published virtual tours to Google Maps. We link the virtual tour to Google My Business listings with their unique codes. As you can probably tell, being a Google Trusted Photographer means Google My Business is not only vital for your business, it is for mine too. 


Bookings

Is your business in dining, activities, beauty or fitness? If your business takes bookings, you’ll love the choice of scheduling providers available under this tab. Below is a list of some of them. You can access the booking tab on the left of the screen in your GMB listing providing it is available for your business category and in your geographical region. It takes a week to link providers to your account.

#TopTip

#TopTip Make sure you’re aware of any charges your scheduling partner may charge for using Google My Business to make reservations. Check out and understand how your customers are using Google Reserve to book appointments and keep track of their booking history.


Share on social media

Once you’ve set up Bookings, you can share the booking link, found in the top right of the page, anywhere your customers are looking for an example on Facebook, Instagram profile, your website and Yelp. 

Your scheduling provider’s software is where you’ll turn off, update your availability and manage your services if you are running group classes, for example.

hand holding a phone showing social media icons
Photo by Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

There’s other stuff!

I started writing this while I was in lockdown and worked my way through pretty well. I didn’t get to the end, and now I’m full-on crazy busy with shooting 3D virtual tours for Estate Agents. I’m helping people to keep safe while virtually viewing properties for viewings ‘in the first instance’.

Sorry

This sudden surge of work means I haven’t yet written the bit where I talk you through Products, Services and Users; however, I need to get this published, so I’m going to forfeit perfection for timeliness. I’m doing this mostly because Tracy will find it useful. Thanks, Tracy! 🙂

I promise I’ll come back soon and do that 🙂

In the meantime, please stay safe and well and if I can help you with anything I’ve written about here or anywhere on the website please do get in touch.