In the mood for Korean food, but not sure what’s in your area? Technology has made it nearly effortless to discover new restaurants, shops, and businesses – no matter where you are in the world. So how do you claim business on Google and get found in local search results? Let’s get started with setting up a Google My Business account.

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free platform that empowers brands and business owners to claim their business on Google. With a Google My Business account, you are able to set up a business listing that is targeted by your brand name, keywords, services, and location. You can display useful information at a glance such as an overview of your company, physical address, phone number, website link, and social media profiles. You can even ask for reviews which helps build trust in new and returning guests – I mean, who would want to go to a burger joint that only has one star?

A Google My Business account is surprisingly easy to set up – and it’s free! Despite all of the benefits, only 44% of local retailers have set up their business listing.

A Google My Business listing helps brands get found in local searches – and those searches are often made by in-market, ready-to-buy audiences.

For example, if you’re passing through Sanford, Florida and get a hankering for pizza, you might search “pizza near me” in your browser or GPS. You’ll get a list of some of the highest-rated pizza places in town! Those results are based on the search term entered and the searcher’s location – which is where local SEO comes into play! Take a look at these brands that claimed their Google My Business listing and managed to snag a local pack SERP feature

Screengrab of Google My Business local listings for pizza nearby.

Google My Business and Local SEO

A strong local SEO strategy is key in driving people to your store. One of the first steps in any digital growth strategy should be setting up a Google My Business account. If you don’t already have a Google listing, you’re missing out.

Local SEO Stats

  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Source: Think with Google)
  • 72% of consumers that performed a local search visited a store within 5 miles. (Source: HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
  • 18% of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day, whereas only 7% of non-local searches led to a sale. (Source: Think with Google)
  • 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions, and 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (Source: Qualtrics)

How to Set Up a Google My Business Account

If you’re still reading, it’s safe to assume you’re ready to start rocking the local SEO scene. So, let’s dive in!

Screengrab of step one in the Google My Business account signup process.

Step One: Account Setup

  1. Visit the Google My Business page to sign into your Google account. Select “Sign In” and use your preferred Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, set up an email to manage your business listing.
  2. Once you’ve logged in, select the “Add business” button. Type in your business name to the search field. Since you’re setting this up for the first time, your business most likely won’t appear in the results list. In this case, you’ll need to select “Add your business to Google”.
  3. Type in your business name.
  4. Select a relevant category – you can only choose one.
  5. Select “Yes” when offered the option, “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?”
  6. Input your location information. This may lead you to a prompt that says, “Is this your business?” If it is, select the address and hit “Next”. If not, continue with “This doesn’t match”.
  7. Assuming you don’t already have an address listed in the Google platform, the next screen you’ll see requests whether or not you serve customers outside of your location.
  8. Input any other service areas in which you’d like to be included in local results.
  9. Add a contact phone number and your business’ URL.
  10. Finish setup and start optimizing your Google business listing!

Step Two: Verify Your Google My Business Listing

In order to finish your free business listing, you’ll need to verify that you’re authorized to manage it. Once you verify your listing, you’ll earn the ability to create posts about events or promotions, get customer reviews, respond to customer reviews, track business analytics, and most importantly – allow new customers to find you on Google!

  1. In your Google My Business account dashboard, select “Verify Now”. If you haven’t yet verified your listing, this call to action button will appear in multiple places including in the “Reviews” and “Verification needed” widgets.
  2. Google lets you choose a call or a text to verify your account. If those methods don’t work for your situation, then you can select “More options”. This will provide you with a “Postcard by mail” option. Fill out the name of the person that is meant to receive the verification. This will send a Google postcard to the business address you provided when setting up the account.
  3. Your postcard will be sent out and should arrive within 5 days. The card will contain your verification code and next steps!

Step Three: How to Optimize your Google Listing

You can make edits to your Google My Business listing even if you haven’t verified the listing yet. Don’t let that fact pacify an unverified listing. Keep in mind: if you don’t verify your account, you won’t get top priority in search results! So don’t skip the previous step!

  1. Add your services. Use keywords that are used on relevant service or product pages from your website. When describing your services, be detailed and include search terms that you think your users might type to find your listing.
  2. Confirm your business hours. This one is particularly important for users that are looking for places open on the weekend, bars that are open late, or markets that open early.
  3. You can choose whether or not to accept messages through your Google My Business account. This is particularly convenient if you plan to download the Google My Business app! You can read messages, respond to reviews, and manage your entire listing with your smartphone.
  4. Add a carefully thought-out business description. You can likely take the text from the “About” page on your website, but be sure to include your mission statement, unique facts, and what products or services you offer.
  5. Additionally, you should add a few photos to your profile. Be sure to include your logo and ideally, show of images that showcase your awesome products, services, and company culture!

Picture of a smartphone that displays the welcome screen of the Google My Business account management app.

GMB and SEO

Whether your company is solely digital, has only one location, or has multiple stores across the world, your brand will benefit from claiming your Google listing. Google My Business can boost your local SEO by delivering your business listing in local search results, which can be further optimized by using relevant keywords in service descriptions, images that showcase your brand, and by earning as many 5-star reviews as possible!

Want help with local SEO and setting up your Google My Business account? The Next Horizon digital marketing team can help.

Get Started with Next Horizon

Next Horizon provides holistic technology solutions for businesses looking to improve sales, increase agility and optimize productivity. From digital marketing to building bespoke business applications, Next Horizon uses its 40+ years of experience and award-winning talent to provide technical business solutions for its clients.

Tags: ,

Categorised in: