Before we start, we recently wrote an article about why it’s important for local business to have a Google my Business account.
The world has changed rapidly over the past few decades and today the internet is at the center of our lives. We rely on the internet to make a majority of choices. This is what business owners should realize if they want to succeed. Before people make purchases, they no longer do the traditional window-shopping, instead, they check online for the products they want and compare prices. For local businesses, people have to confirm if a business indeed exists before making the trip to the location. Without an online presence, a business will lose so much in no time.
Google my Business is one of the easiest ways for businesses to establish their presence online. With a Google My Business account, customers can easily find your business online. Also, customers will get to learn more about the products or the services that you offer, the location of your business and the address they can use to contact you with queries. Furthermore, Google My Business provides a space for customers to read reviews about your business and to leave one of theirs. It is also great for local SEO, which may give your business an edge over the competition.
The Google My Business account may not be a substitute for your business website but it shows enough information to help customers not only find your business online but also make informed decisions regarding your products and services. A Google My business account will show the name of your business, the address of your business, a business phone number, the logo of your business, operation hours, photos of the business and reviews from customers.
What you need to Set up a Google My Business Account
Before we discuss the steps, you should follow when setting up your Google My Business account, it is important to note that not all businesses may qualify to create an account on the platform. Google has set out a number of requirements that must be met by businesses before creating an account. Some of the important requirements are:
Have an Eligible business: To create a Google My Business account one must be an owner or a representative of an eligible business. Most businesses with brink and motor locations where customers can meet the owner or employees of the business during the business hours are eligible business except businesses that deals in property sales or rental. Video-rental kiosks, ATMs, and seasonal businesses such as ice-skating are eligible but the contact information must be provided. Ineligible businesses include all businesses without a physical location or services provided at a location the business owner does not have rights to.
Physical Address: Google does not accept mailboxes, virtual addresses (will be penalized eventually), and PO Boxes as a valid address for businesses on the Google My Business platform.
Creating an Account
To create your Google My Business Account follows these steps:
1. Create a Google account: To create a Google My Business account you will need to sign into a Google account. Your personal Google account can work perfectly well for this. But since you are working for your business it is important to have a separate Google account for your business for this purpose. This is because as the business grows you may want to have someone else to manage the online presence of the business including the Google My Business account. This will be easy when the business has a separate Google account from your personal one.
2. Visit the Google My Business official page: This is the home page of the Google My Business. It will be helpful to also read some of the Google my business guidelines provide hear so that you can proceed when you have greater clarity of what you are doing. You may also get some new updates not found in this article.
3. Fill in the required information: Once on the Google, my Business page click on the “Start Now” button located at the right-hand corner of the page to get started. You will be required to provide the official name of your business, the business address, business phone number, business description, category of business, operating hours and the website of your business among others. Of importance, here is the business name because Google wants that the business must actually be in existence so you cannot use a fake name. The contact details are also important because Google will have to verify your business using this information. Also, remember to select the right business category. This is important because if your business is not in the right category then the Google My Business listing will not be very helpful to your business. Lastly, put more attention to your location. This is because Google uses the information you provide here to show your business on Google maps. Just follow the instruction and provide actual facts about your business and you will successfully complete this section.
4. Verify your business: Once you have filled all the information required and clicked on the “continue” button, Google will automatically create a Google My Business account and profile for your business. But before your account is made live for customers to find your business, Google will prompt you to verify your business. You can either verify your business by physical address, by phone, by email or using the instant verification. Most businesses little presence online will be required to verify their business using the physical address method. Here you will have to verify your address so that the verification postcard can be mailed to your business. It may take up to five days to get the postcard with instructions to complete the verification process. There is an option of verifying the address at a later date but it is always advisable to do it immediately to get things moving forward.
5. Edit the Business Profile: Once you verify your business, you can now go ahead and verify your business profile on the “Home” page of your account. Here you can add your business logo, photographs of your business and additional business information. This is not a requirement but studies show that people trust businesses with more information on their Google My Business account than those with a shell profile. So make sure that you create clear information that will make potential clients understand your business and the products and services you offer more easily.