The Internet has simplified our lives. Who would have thought a few years ago that we could have our favorite products delivered to our doorsteps without stepping out of our homes, or learn new skills without enrolling in traditional classes? Given the important role that the Internet plays in our lives, it is unarguably one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.
The Internet has revolutionized the way we do business. It has leveled the playing field for small and new businesses. Earlier, small businesses with limited resources could not dare to think big. Thanks to the Internet, things have drastically changed over the years. Now businesses of all shapes and sizes can leverage the Internet to target a global audience.
If the Internet is the body, search engines are the soul. A search engine is a software system designed to analyze keywords and search for and identify items in the database corresponding to the keywords. Whenever we look for information on the Internet, we use a search engine. They are our personal assistants. All we need to do is use the relevant keyword and they fetch information for us.
Google is the undisputed leader of search engines. The search engine giant is known for providing high-quality results. Google’s algorithm has evolved drastically and has become smarter and more agile over the years. Google does not just identify keywords, but also understands the user’s search intent to find the most accurate and relevant results matching the query.
Over the years, Google has introduced several tools and technologies to help business owners get traction for their businesses. One such resource is Google My Business.
Google My Business or GMB, as it is commonly known, is a tool designed to help businesses manage their Google listings. GMB allows you to add your business name and photos, operating hours, and location. Listings are an online summary of important information related to a business that serves as an effective tool to help customers of the business find it. Listings help businesses attract customers and share information.
GMB is similar to listing on other online directories such as Yelp. That said, Google listings can be incredibly detailed. Additionally, information from Google business listings can be output by Google into different tools with high online visibility, such as Google Maps and Google Knowledge Graph.
Whenever a user uses localized keywords to search businesses on Google, the search engine returns local business results tailored to the search term. Searches can happen in different places, such as Google Maps (in app, desktop, laptop, or third-party browsers), Google Home voice search, and Google Assistant voice search.
The answer is simple – it helps businesses get found on Google. Let’s say you own a car repair shop in the lower east side of Manhattan. Whenever people in your area or nearby search for ‘car repair in the lower east side’, you’d want your business to appear in their search, which is exactly what would happen if you have created your Google business listing.
It is worth mentioning that local results are triggered by anything that Google identifies as a search with local intent. So, if Google knows a searcher’s location, your business would appear in their search even if they do not use near me at the end of their search term.
Depending on the location, the searcher will see Google Maps results or local pack results or can have the results read out loud by Google Assistant.
There are several benefits of setting up your GMB listing. You don’t just get wider visibility, but can also access Google My Business Insights that provides critical customer engagement data derived from your listing. With Insights, you will have important information on your fingertips such as how your customers search for your business.
When you combine this information with Google Analytics data, you will get a comprehensive overview of the methods people use to find your business and the actions they take after finding your business.
Google My Business does not just depend on the information provided by businesses to build listings. Google uses user-generated content (such as customer reviews and photos of a business posted by customers) and information collected from different sources (such as a business’s web pages) to populate Google Business listing.
To list your business on Google My Business, you first have to qualify for a listing. Though GMB is a 100 percent free tool, only businesses that have at least some face-to-face interaction with their customers qualify.
Follow these steps to create your Google My Business listing:
Here are some ways to verify your GMB listing:
If you do not receive your postcard or misplace it, click on the “Request another code” banner to get a new code.
Note: Google allows only some businesses to verify their location by email. If your business is eligible, you will see verify by email option before starting the verification process.
Only businesses that operate in at least 10 locations can use this verification method. Agencies managing locations for different businesses and service businesses are not eligible.
After verifying your business, you need to optimize your listing to help Google better understand what your business is all about and its location. An optimized GMB listing will make it easier for Google to crawl your website. The more Google knows about your business, the more types of searches your listing will appear in.
Add important information related to your business, such as the areas you serve, your business hours, contact details (website URL and a public phone number), and attributes (such as Wi-Fi access and wheelchair accessible, etc.). Make sure the information provided is accurate and up to date. If you want to edit your business profile, log into GMB dashboard. Select the field you want to edit and click on the pencil next to it. Once you have made the changes, select Apply.
To optimize your GMB listing, remember to add:
Here are some proven advantages of GMB:
The best part – the tool is available absolutely free of charge.
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