A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the benefits of Google My Business, and why, love Google or loathe it, if you’re in business, you really should take the time to set up Google My Business. In this post – Part 2, we work through the practical steps to set up Google My Business, and how to keep the page active.
Create a Google Account
Google My Business offers many advantages, not least as part of your SEO arsenal, improving the visibility of your business in Google searches, on Google Maps and on Google +. The starting point is to create a Google Account. You may well already have a Google account – if you’ve used Gmail, or YouTube+, the same log in details will work. In fact, we’d counsel against creating multiple Google accounts as this can cause confusion. In a larger organisation, it may be worth creating a generic account that can be accessed by multiple users – but if you’re a smaller business, you can use a personal google account to set up Google My Business and then give permissions to other people who might need to access your business page. This works in a similar way to Facebook. Information you post on the personal pages won’t be posted onto your Google My Business page.
Try and avoid multiple Google accounts for your business
If you have an account but can’t remember the details it is worth trying to recover it to avoid this. But if you really can’t access it, or you don’t have a Google account, you can set one up from Google My Business, click to ‘Get On Google’ and if you don’t already have a Google account (or don’t have one that your device recognises), you will be taken through Google’s fairly straightforward account set up.
You’ll need to include date of birth details (remember that you can’t have a Google account if you are under 13 – not that we think you are, but if you’re creating a generic account, make sure the date of birth you include puts you older than 13!), a password and a phone number. You’ll also create a Gmail address for your business. There’s an authentication process to go through, and then you’re ready to go.
Set up Google My Business
Once you’ve logged in, Google will take you through the process of setting up Google My Business, from choosing your ‘business type’.
If you haven’t already registered your business on Google in some form or another – you may have set up Google Maps at one point – you will have the opportunity to do this, so that in future, your business does appear on Google Maps if it’s not already doing so.
Keep an eye out for your verification code and use it within 30 days
If you are registering your business for the first time on Google, you will find your Google+ page is set up at this stage, once the business address and location is confirmed. You will also be sent a verification code by post which you will have to add at a later stage – keep an eye out for it in the post.
Once you’ve been through the initial set up steps, you’ll be taken to the obligatory tour.
Don’t groan and skip, it’s worth spending the time familiarising yourself with the features Google My Business includes. This is how you’ll learn about adding in the details you need to include to create a great profile. Information about your business, opening hours, contact information, your website, photographs – these can all be added to your Google My Business profile.
Verify your Google My Business to access Adwords, Insights and Reviews
You’ll also see how to access Adwords, Insights (which will give you information about engagement and your audience), Reviews and your Google+ page which is the equivalent of your Facebook Business page, a place to post updates to your followers. Adwords, Insights and Reviews will become available once you have verified your account with the code that Google will send to you.
Optimising your page
Time is tight – we know that – and it can be tempting to do the bare minimum to get started and tell yourself that you’ll go back to it later. Our advice is to do it now. Set aside time at the outset to get it right. As with social media platforms, you need to spend time looking after your profile, to keep it fresh, and the information accurate. Whether you’re setting up from scratch, or you already have a Google business profile, making sure it’s optimised is a worthwhile use of your time.
Google ‘help’ is really…helpful if you’re setting up or optimising Google My Business
Google already offers plenty of useful information to help you optimise your Google My Business profile. In essence, it’s about ensuring your listing is complete, and is full of accurate and useful information. It’s worth taking some time to read Google’s guidelines, particularly about how you represent your business online. Consistency with your ‘real world’ presence is important. Add lots of photos – you’ll see that Google suggests a minimum number for a series of categories. If you need to come back and add them later, then do so – but do it.
Some useful tips
You’re still with us? Excellent – hopefully by now you are getting the hang of your Google My Business profile, making sure it’s complete and looking shiny. We thought we’d finish with a few useful tips/pointers:
- Your Google My Business profile is just that – a profile. To start using it to engage with followers – or to create a following – you need to start using Google+ as your business.
- You can add ‘managers’ to your Google My Business profile from the ‘settings’, accessed from the ‘Profile’ area in the top left of the screen.
- Persevere! In all honesty, for all its claims of seamless posting, engagement and interaction, we find Google My Business less intuitive than some of the other social networks. However, there are many very valid reasons for actively using Google+ and keeping your profile active and up to date. It’s also a free resource, well supported with online help.
If you’re struggling to set up Google My Business, give us a call. We’ve been there and have the experience to help you not only set up and optimise your profile, but to put it to good use for your business.