If you are a local business, and you aren’t taking full advantage of Google’s free tool, Google My Business, you are really missing out!
Google My Business or GMB is the most important listing for any local brand or company.
Google My Business drives local business search results on Google, Google Maps, Google Assistant, and more. Google My Business is a vital component of a local SEO strategy!
Also known as Business Profile, Google Business listing is a dynamic display of your company that showcases your best products or services, highlights your benefits, and allows potential customers to find your store and engage with you. The best part about GMB? It is entirely free.
To take advantage of GMB, you need to know how to set up your Google My Business account properly from the start.
Toledo Web Designers & Digital Marketing created this Google My Business checklist to guide you through the process and make sure you are on the right path to set up a GMB account.
- Check if You Qualify for GMB Listing
- Verify Your Small Business Information
- Choose the Right Category
- Point Out Your Company Location, Service Areas, Business Hours
- Add a Business Phone Number/Email/Website
- Guide Customers to Your Appointment System
- Add a Short Name
- Describe Your Small Business (Include the Products/Services You Offer)
- Select Google My Business Extras That Suit Your Business
- Insert Menu/Booking Items (For Hotels, Restaurants, Bars)
- Add High-Quality Photos/Videos Only
- Enable the Messaging Option
- Check Reviews
- Update Your Account Regularly
- Add Your Opening Date
#1. Check if You Qualify for Google My Business Listing
Not every small business in Toledo qualifies for a Google My Business account. To verify your business, you need a physical (brick-and-mortar) location. Potential customers should be able to come to your store and make personal contact. If you fulfill all the criteria, you can open a Google My Business listing account. If you are a service area business you may qualify for a Google My Business listing as well. Service area businesses bring their services to their customers. Plumbers, electricians roofing contractors, mobile pet groomers, and lawn and landscape companies are all examples of service-based businesses that operate within a certain mile radius of their headquarters delivering services to other businesses or to the homes of their customers.
#2. Verify Your Small Business Information
When setting up a Google My Business account, you should verify your company information, including a phone number, email, and business website. Don’t forget to add your physical location where Google can send you a confirmation letter. If you are a service based business this address does not need to be visible to the public, but necessary for Google to verify the legitimacy of your business.
Confirm your business listing, and make sure that when you are entering your business name, you do not stuff keywords or additional words to describe your business in the name field. Stick to Google’s rules and add a business name that represents your brand in a professional way and an accurate way to avoid getting your listing suspended.
#3. Choose the Right Category
When you create your listing, Google allows you to select one main category and nine subcategories. The main category affects your business and how you will rank online.
Suppose your business relates to cleaning. Choose cleaning service as a primary category and house cleaning service, residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, etc. as secondary categories. Avoid choosing categories that are not connected to your type of business.
#4. Point Out Your Company Location, Service Areas, Business Hours
Next, it is essential to specify your physical storefront address and the service area in which you operate. Avoid using general locations — keep in mind that today’s customers usually don’t want to do additional searches.
When adding a service area, you may run into a problem. If your business provides services at your customers’ homes, including commercial window cleaning, lawn maintenance, or pool cleaning, you can’t add a direct address. If this is your case, it is better to add a broader service area (places where you operate).
Don’t forget to state your business hours and update them if the hours have changed (for some reason). You don’t want a customer to drop by your store when it is closed.
#5. Add a Business Phone Number/Email/Website
Adding a phone number, email, and the company website is crucial. When ranking, Google considers different factors to select the best SERPs’ results. The website is one of the most important ranking factors for a local search, so adding one can increase your chances of ranking higher on Google.
If you still don’t have a website, use Google’s Business Site option, add relevant information, and put it into use.
#6. Guide Customers to Your Appointment System (URL)
The appointment URL is visible to all customers who want to use an appointment system or leave a short message via the contact form option.
#7. Add a Short Name
Keep your business name as relevant and as straightforward as possible. For example, if your business name is “Tony’s Cocktails Bar & Club,” use “Tony’s Bar” as a short name.
#8. Describe Your Small Business (Include the Products/Services You Offer)
Good business owners can describe their companies with a few words. Successful ones can describe them thoroughly. If you want to be the owner of a successful business, this is your chance to describe your business, from A to Z. Be specific and include the company’s unique perks, qualities, and features.
Don’t forget to describe your products and services adequately, so your potential customers know what they’ll get from your company.
#9. Select Google My Business Extras That Suit Your Business
Select attributes and highlights that best describe your business. For example, for a coffee shop, add free Wi-Fi, and for a house rental, add sauna/pool.
#10. Insert Menu/Booking Items (for Hotels, Restaurants, Bars)
If your customers don’t know what you offer in your bar, coffee shop, or restaurant, they won’t come. Insert your menu or booking items, and don’t forget to add high-resolution photos of your most wanted and popular items.
#11. Add High-Quality Photos/Videos Only
First impressions matter, and in the online world, photos attract people and get them closer to your business and the products/services you offer. Post only high-quality, high-resolution photographs. It’s also unacceptable to post stock photos to your business listing. You may use stock photography for your posts, updates, and offers.
#12. Enable the Messaging Option
Activate the messaging feature and get the “request a quote” option under your Google My Business name.
#13. Check Reviews
Online reviews, comments, and feedback play a key role in local SEO. They connect to CTR, and if you want to build a positive reputation, you need to get positive reviews. Good reviews lead to a higher CTR, which means more customers and more sales.
When you receive a comment or feedback, say, “Thank you,” and answer adequately (especially if it is a bad review).
#14. Update Your Account Regularly
It is essential to be present on Google My Business, so write posts and updates often. New product arrivals, special events, discounts, and promotions are some things about which you can write.
#15. Add Your Opening Date
Last but not least, add your opening date and earn the “Recently Opened” symbol next to the listing.
Thanks to our Google My Business checklist, you can now create a page that will stand out and attract new potential clients in and around the Toledo area and beyond