Google My Business, the very first step to get your business online
Proximity, from the Latin proximĭtas, is a term used to indicate great proximity in space, a link, similarity or affinity.
Proximity is an element that characterises the relationship between local businesses and customers and can represent a major competitive advantage, provided that local businesses make the most of its potential.
Adopting a local SEO strategy is important to intercept the needs of customers who are closest to your business. As evidenced by Google Trends search data, COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption. This seems to be the ideal time for transformation.
Until recently, searching for a business or service on search engines produced results throughout the country. Now, using people’s IP address and GPS, relevant results are returned based on their location.
Insights from Google Trends unequivocally show that searches for the term ‘near me’ have increased during the pandemic period.
According to Google, more than 50% of searches have a local intent, and if we look at the data from smartphone shoppers, the percentage is even higher.
More than 82% of people search locally. The food sector is the biggest source of searches, with a percentage of over 84%.
Now is the right time to start from scratch, change direction and transform your business by adapting it to the expectations and needs that have emerged during this period.
But how can you start adopting digital tools?
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a digital service, completely free of charge, which allows you to register and update an information sheet for your business. The profile can be viewed on Google search channels and Google Maps.
Google My Business allows every business to be present online. It allows you to communicate and keep up-to-date with your customer’s key information, such as the opening hours of your shop or the address of your website for selling products online.
Keeping information up to date and compiling a complete profile of your business, allowing customers to contact you in the ways they prefer, will allow your business to grow.
How is information about your activity shown to people?
Depending on the type of search carried out, local profiles can be displayed in different ways.
The local pack is displayed following a search by category. For example: “shoe shops near me” groups the most relevant activity profiles based on this search.
Three activity profiles appear in the local pack, preceded by the local map. These results can be filtered according to ratings, opening hours and possibly other filters linked to the type of activity being searched for.
People’s searches for local activities can also be performed via Google Maps. On Google Maps, the local intent of the search is even more evident. You will certainly have searched for a restaurant using Maps, especially if you are on holiday.
In this case, a list of activities is shown. The order in which the businesses are listed is determined by several factors. Among these factors, Google also takes into account the affinity percentage (in the case of restaurants).
The affinity percentage is based on your previous visits and the interactions you have had with the activities (left a review, answered a question following a visit).
The information that is displayed following a search on Google Maps are:
- interactive map with placeholders for each activity;
- filters by different criteria, by category of activity, searched for;
- activity sheets
Direct search by activity
If a person searches for a specific business, both the Google search network and Google Maps will directly display data from the My Business tab associated with that business.
What data in Google My Business profile can be shown to people based on their search?
- The name of the activity;
- The link to the website;
- The average number of reviews collected on Google and the number of total reviews;
- The price category (€, €€, €€);
- The category of the business (plumber, restaurant);
- A short description based on people’s reviews and the description on the profile. For example: ‘fish menu and desserts in an intimate setting’;
- The attributes related to the business (online appointments, on-site consumption);
- The address;
- The opening hours;
- The telephone number;
- The link for appointments;
- The products offered;
- The categories of services offered;
- Questions and answers from people in the Google Local Guides community, related to the business;
- The hours of attendance;
- Photos of the business;
- The summary of reviews and the most relevant review based on the search;
- A brief description of the business written by the business;
- The list of related searches;
- Web results related to the person’s search.
How my Google my Business profiles can appear more easily in local searches?
To appear among the activity profiles that are returned to people following a search, you must first have a Google My Business account.
But it’s not just the Google My Business profile influences your business’ web presence. Other factors, such as optimising your website and an SEO strategy, can help you position your business better.
The Google My Business profile, as we have seen, allows you to appear in local searches and local maps. Optimising your profile allows you to rank higher in search results that are more relevant to your business.
To compete better in local searches and attract new customers you need to offer the best experience to people by keeping your business data up to date and making it easy to contact you.
Can people change the data from my business profile online?
If you are not the direct owner of Google My Business profile for your business, anyone on the internet can change and add information about your business. You could always change this information by taking possession of your business profile.
If, on the other hand, you are the owner of Google My Business listing for your business, you will be able to accept changes coming directly from the community.
With the Google Local Guides programme, people are at the centre of interactions with local businesses. Everyone can add information about your business that requires your approval to be confirmed.
If you are not the manager of your business’ Google My Business profile, this information will be approved directly by the Google community.
Remember that people about your business can leave reviews, ask questions and follow updates about your business.
Your job is, therefore, to take ownership of or create your business’s Google My Business listing, keep the information up to date and respond in as timely a manner as possible.
What other services can make my business visible on search engines?
Between December 2019 and December 2020, Google was chosen for more than 91% of web searches.
But apart from Google, other search engines are also used for local searches.
Your business cannot do without having a profile on Google My Business, but my advice is to register your business profile on the other main search engines as well.
- Bing Places, the default search engine for Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, with 2.71% traffic;
- Yahoo Small Business Yahoo accounts for 1.46% of searches worldwide;
- Yandex for Business, the service of the Russian search engine that moves 0.78% of searches worldwide;
- Duck Duck Go, is the search engine that protects the privacy and has a 0.66% share of searches.
How do I create a Google My Business profile?
In this tutorial, you will see step by step how to create the profile for your business on Google My Business.
Go to Google My Business homepage and click on the Manage now button.
Log in with your Google account, or create an account to access the service.
Search for the name of your business to make sure it hasn’t already been added by someone else.
If your business is not already listed on Google, at the previous step click on Add your business to Google and start by typing the name of your business.
Enter the full name of your business, which must be the same name your customers recognise you by.
Choose the category that fits your business best. Don’t worry, you can change the category at any time.
State whether you have a location that customers can visit, for example, a shop or an office.
Now indicate the areas where you serve your customers. You can choose one or more than one area.
What is the geographical area of your activity?
Enter the contact details you want to show to customers:
- Contact phone number;
- Current website address.
To verify that your business exists, you must enter the correct mailing address.
Please confirm your contact details for the postcard that will be delivered by mail. The postcard contains a code that you can enter to verify your activity.
Since you are waiting for the postcard to arrive, add the services that you offer.
Enter business hours, making sure you enter the correct ones. Customers will rely on this information when they want to visit your shop or contact you.
Fill in the business description. You have 750 characters to describe what you do every day.
You do not know how many 750 characters there are? This tool can be very useful. https://wordcounter.net/
Add photos of your business. Does your business have a logo? You can add it here! the Recommended size for the logo is 720 x 720px.
Upon completion of registration, you will receive an advertising credit to spend on Google ADS. If you want to set up your first advertising campaign and don’t know how to do it, contact me.
While you are waiting for the postcard you can complete the information necessary to be easily found by customers.
From the Information tab fill in the Attributes of your business and then the Special hours.
If you sell or offer products directly to the public, add them from the Products tab, carefully filling in all the required info:
- Product name
- Price, fixed or price range (optional)
- Product description
- Button (optional)
Then create each service offered by your business from the Services tab, indicating:
- Service name;
- The price that could be free, fixed or from;
- Service description
Approximately 12 days after your request, the postcard should be mailed to you. Now you can enter the verification code to list your business.
To use the code:
- Go to google.com/verifymybusiness
- Select the location you want to verify
- Enter verification code
- Receive the activation confirmation
Proceed to complete your business profile by following the instructions in the ‘Complete your business profile‘ section. In this section, you can monitor the percentage of completion.
Enter a profile short name so that people can find you more quickly on Google Search and Maps.
Add new users to help you manage business info and customer reviews. You can learn more about Google My Business roles here.
When your business will be verified and listed you will receive an email from Google. From that moment on you can Share business profile and give your customers a link to find your business on Google.
Puoi inoltre chiedere ai tuoi clienti di lasciare una recensione condividendo il modulo.
Due to the continuing Codiv-19 pandemic, Google has introduced questions that allow business owners to inform customers about the status of their services.
You can show whether you are receiving online appointments, whether your business is open or temporarily closed, and what steps you are taking to ensure compliance with Covid regulations.
Congratulations! You have completed your business profile on Google My Business, now you are ready to attract new customers, taking advantage of proximity searches and making it easy for your customers to find you. Communicate with all your customers by creating your first post.