How many times have you looked up a restaurant’s hours on Google and headed their way, only to finally arrive…and discover it’s closed?
“Curse you, Google!” you proclaim in your hangry disgust.
Google, however, is not to blame. Like that restaurant, if your B2B company hasn’t updated its business profile on Google, it can cost you business, damage your reputation, and make it appear as though you don’t have a clue about today’s buyers. Updating your business profile isn’t just good for local search, it also helps buyers find your website, read and write reviews, get directions to your office, and a lot more.
“But how do I manage my Google business page?” Glad you asked! In this article we’ll cover a number of elements to managing your business’ profile on Google and taking full advantage of its tools, including:
Google Services All Businesses Should Have
Before we dive in, it’s important to know that there are a plethora of Google services offered to businesses. For starters, we recommend creating a Google account and taking advantage of these three features:
- Google my Business. This service allows you to control how users find your business information in search results, such as a phone number, map location, and photos. If you discover that there’s already a listing out there for your business, you can claim it, or you can create one if there isn’t
- Google Search Console. Allows you to see how searchers find your website – and can be used to diagnose any indexing or user experience issues that Google considers important
- Google Analytics. Tracks and reports website activity, with information about session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, and much more. Remember — it’s critically important to update to Google Analytics 4 sooner than later
What You Can Access With A Google Account
Once your company has a Google account and associated Gmail address, you can use that to sign into all of Google’s services.
Here’s a list of several Google tools that most marketers will be interested in and what each does.
- Gmail. Google’s email system, which is both loved and hated. You decide
- YouTube. Most popular video streaming platform in the world, and also the second largest search engine
- Google Analytics 4. In my opinion, the best free analytics tool available for your company website
- Google Search Console. In-depth analytics on Google crawls and indexing of your site (Warning, this is a nerd-only zone!)
- Google Ads. Great paid search service and keyword research tool
- G Suite Certification Program. Google’s “school” which allows you to become certified in the services offered by Google
- Google Drive. Online cloud storage and collaboration tool with shareable word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and form creations
Managing Your Business on Google Search and Google Maps
So we’ve covered the basics of Google tools and how you can use them internally to improve your business. Now we’ll get into the two primary tools to manage your business’ external profiles: Google My Business and Google Maps.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free business listing from Google. It is the dashboard where you can access all the information Google provides about your company when people search for it, or companies like yours, on Google.
From the type of business you are to your phone number, website, directions, pictures and reviews, Google helps you get found locally (and anywhere, really). Think of it as more than just a business listing; it’s also a place where you can connect and engage with customers and prospects.
By going through some simple steps to claim and verify your business, you can keep your company information updated and manage its online presence more effectively.
What is Google Maps?
Google Maps is arguably one of the most popular and widely used navigation systems available. Most anyone who’s ever used their smartphone to get directions is familiar with Google Maps. You’ve probably also experienced the frustration of “arriving” at your destination only to realize you’ve been led down a creepy dead end road.
Edit your company’s information, including your correct address, contact information, and even add photos so that when someone uses the Google Maps feature, they can find you more easily. When you claim your business listing using Google My Business, it can help boost local SEO and your global presence.
Tips for Setting Up Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business profile in conjunction with Google Maps is simple. It’s also free, and there’s only one place to edit, update, and add all the information about your business. The first step, however, is to sign up and verify your business listing.
Once that’s out of the way, you’re probably wondering, “What information should I include in Google My Business?” Everything! Seriously: the more the better. Prospects should be able to find you and get in touch with as little friction as possible.
Make sure the following information is included on your Google My Business profile:
- Hours. Registering your business hours, including days you’re closed, is critical
- Phone number. Include your main number, plus mobile if applicable for your primary marketing/PR or business development contact
- Address and directions. Google’s “directions” feature enables anyone, no matter where they are, to follow the fastest route right to your location in one click. Upload a photo of your business so people know they’re in the right place
- Website and attributes. Under the “Info” tab of your account, include your website so visitors can quickly learn more about your company. You can also indicate whether you have free Wi-Fi or other amenities
- Products and services. Let prospects know what you have to offer. You can also indicate whether you have a specific service area. Simply click “edit profile” then “services”
- Categories. Help narrow people's searches by accurately categorizing your business. Choose a main category, but also select others that describe your company. For example, our primary Google category for Weidert Group is Marketing Agency, but we’re also listed under Web Design, Marketing Consultant, etc. You’re limited to choosing from categories that Google has listed and cannot create your own. Choose wisely because, while you can edit it later, it may require verification again. The categories you select in your Google My Business profile are also important for Maps when people search for local businesses “near them” or “in Wisconsin,” for example:
- Pictures or virtual tour. Enhance your profile with stunning photos or, better yet, a 360° virtual tour. “Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest,” according to Google
Don’t Forget Your Google Business Cover Photo
Optimize your Google presence with a cover photo. The recommended Google Business cover photo size is 720 x 720 pixels (format jpg or png), but you can go as small as 250 x 250 pixels. Simply click Edit profile > Cover photo or Logo.
Request & Manage Google Reviews
The job’s not done once you’ve confirmed all the correct information. You also want to encourage your customers to leave positive online Google Reviews and keep tabs on what other reviewers are saying about your brand. Google used to have a mobile app to manage reviews, but the app is no longer available. However, you can use Google Maps mobile app and Google Search to keep your business profile up-to-date from your smartphone.
Needless to say, customers are influenced by reviews while making a purchase decision. Just as important to note is that Google takes reviews into account for your SEO. Reviews are powerful and make you stand out, so monitor them and respond to reviews when relevant. Connect with your audience and keep the conversation going. When you do, you’ll also help keep your business growth flywheel spinning.
RELATED: Learn about the Inbound Flywheel and assess improvement areas with our free workbook.
Here are a couple more best practices to help you optimize your use of these free Google business features.
- List multiple locations. It’s important to have all addresses registered so that, depending on the location of the search, Google will show the closest one. If your only visible address on Google is several states away, someone will be less apt to contact you. If you have several locations, we recommend you still have only one account to manage them all
- Be consistent. Your website must show the same information that you entered in your Google My Business and Maps pages. Google doesn’t like contradictions and it will try to make your information match what is on your website to avoid customer confusion
The more information you give, the easier it is for customers and leads to find you – and the more likely it'll be that they choose you over competitors who haven’t taken the time to manage their listings.
Of course, there’s more to marketing your business than covering the basics of your Google My Business profile. Understand the power of organic search on Google and other search engines on a global scale by checking out our SEO Survival Guide.