It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Google My Business platform for any business. While Microsoft has its Bing search engine, DuckDuckGo assures the user a level of privacy as they search, Wiki focuses on the wiki account information, CCSearch offers copyright free content results, Internet Archive will seek and search for archival data, Yandex provides a world view or at least an “outside the United States” perspective, and SlideShare lets you discover posted talks and presentations people have given, it is Google that is the heart of all online searching activity.
Setting up a GMB
Google My Business (GMB) is the deck established by Google to support businesses large and small. It begins by establishing your business account and completing all fields of the profile. It is entirely likely that Google may have created a profile for you business that needs to be claimed. These unclaimed accounts allow people to review your business without your even being aware – or able to respond in any way. Information Google may have generated can be completely inaccurate. Claiming the account will require proving to Google that you have a right to the account. There is a lengthy verification process that even involves Snail Mail.
While you are waiting to become verified and, thereby, have control over your own business listing, you can begin to fill out additional parts of the profile. Google wants photos of your exterior, interior, team and customer pictures, logo images and profile graphics. You should carefully write a business summary that uses keywords to describe your business. Load your hours of operation and the special hours that may be in place over holidays or weekends.
Once your verification code is submitted to your GMB account, Google will review your listing and offer their ideas which you can accept or reject. They will review your responses and eventually approve your listing. At that time you will be listed on the map as a Googleable location and you will have a location page to manage which both allows you to respond to reviews on your location page as well as have the ability to do 7-Day posts. These are posts that promote something about your business for 7 days and then disappear. The other feature that becomes active once you are verified is the ability to purchase ads on Google.
One Location to One Listing
Perhaps the most important thing to recognize about the GMB is that you need to add a completely separate listing for each of your locations. Google tracks you on the map with its primary mission being to help people physically find your business. With that in mind you need to create a profile for each of your locations. Each location will have its own profile, needs its own pictures and summaries, will post its own 7 Day posts and has its own ad profile.
It is also very important to login regularly to your GMB panel. Google will check often to make sure that you are managing your page. They do this by recommending changes to your account that will be implemented if you fail to reject the change. They generally suggest changes to your business offerings, hours of operation and phone numbers.
Don’t Get Locked Out
Getting locked out of your own GMB is a common problem. It is very difficult to regain control of a GMB if you lose access to it. This tends to happen when someone who established the account or who was managing it leaves the company. Be very careful that you have recovery account information in the GMB system that can restore control immediately.