Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. You can add your business name, location, contact information, opening hours, health and safety measures and more. Add useful links to your website, a service page, or menu. Show your business’ personality with photos, a cover image, your logo, and more to stand out to customers.
Use GMB as a source for customer feedback: customers trust the opinions of those that have engaged with your business. Be transparent with your customers by giving them a place to leave honest feedback.
Your Google My Business listing will help improve how your customers find you. When you’re looking for a local business to help solve a problem – how do you find it? You pull up Google to do some online research, of course. Your customers are no different: when they’re looking for a product or service similar to what you sell, they’re going online to find it. In fact, when people search for a product or service near them, they are usually very close to making a purchase – one in two people who conduct a local search (eg “bike repair near me”) visit a store that day. So it is important to keep your GMB listing updated with accurate and complete information – and it will drive more people to your business.
Read on to learn how to create your Google My Business listing, verify your business, create a Google Post and more.
How to get started
The only requirement to getting started on GMB is that your business must have some face-to-face interaction with customers during the stated opening hours – so you cannot operate 100% online.
Create your Google My Business listing
Step 1) Navigate to https://www.google.com/business/ and select “Manage now”
Step 2) Add your business name
Step 3) Add a business category. This will help you get discovered on Google search results pages and Maps
Step 4) If your business has a physical location eg an office or a store, add those details.
Step 5) Add your business address
Step 6) If your business provides deliveries or home and office visits, add those details. If you go to your customers’ locations, check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” And if you work out of your house or another address and you don’t want to share that information publicly, check “Hide my address (it’s not a store). Only show region.” Then, select your Delivery area.
Step 7) Add your contact info and a link to your website.
Step 8) Choose whether or not to stay in the know: you can sign up for updates and recommendations for your business on Google.
Step 9) Verify that you are the business owner. Choose a verification option or verify later by clicking “More options” and then clicking “Later.”
Step 10) Add business hours. You can customise opening times for each day.
Step 11) Add messaging: choose if customers can message your business over Google. You can also use this option to reply to customers’ reviews.
Step 12) Add a business description to your Google My Business profile that appears on Google search result pages, Maps and other Google services. The description has a 750 character limit – use it to let searchers know what differentiates your business from your competitors.
Step 13) Add photos that show off your business, products and services.
Step 14) When you’re happy with all the information you’ve included, your GMB profile is ready to launch!
How to verify your business
There are several ways to verify your GMB listing. Most local businesses can verify by mail (a postcard is mailed to you). Some businesses can verify by email, phone, Search Console, or video recording. We will go through a few of the verification processes below.
Step 1) If you aren’t already logged into Google My Business, sign in and select your business to verify it.
Step 2) Once you’re logged in to your Google My Business account. Input in your business address to which the postcard will be mailed, and add a contact name – someone who the postcard will be addressed to at the given address.
Step 3) Request the postcard. Most postcards arrive within 14 days. Due to COVID-19, you may experience delays. Make sure you don’t edit your business name, address, or category (or request a new code) before it comes because this could delay the process.
Step 4) Once you’ve gotten the postcard return to Google My Business, choose your business and select “Verify now.”
Step 5) In the Code field, enter the five-digit verification code on your postcard. Click “Submit.”
If your postcard never shows up, or you lose it, you can request a new code by signing into Google My Business and clicking the “Request another code” banner.
Google lets some businesses verify their location by phone. If you’re eligible, you’ll see the “Verify by phone” option when you start the verification process.
Step 1) Log into your Google My Business account. Input your phone number, then choose “Verify by phone.”
Step 2) Enter the verification code from the text you receive.
Google lets some businesses verify their location by email. If you’re eligible, you’ll see the “Verify by email” option when you start the verification process.
Step 1) Log into your Google My Business account. Input your email address, then choose “Verify by email.”
Step 2) Go to your inbox, open the email from Google My Business, and click the verification button in the email.
How long will it take for my listing to appear on Google Search?
Once your business is verified, it may take up to 1 to 2 weeks for your business listing to appear in Google Search results and on Google Maps.
What will my Google My Business listing look like?
|Once you have completed your listing, you can log into your Google My Business account and make changes to it at any time (click on the ‘Info’ tab on the left-hand menu in your account). |
A good example of a well-optimised Google My Business listing for one of the businesses on inHounslow.com is Hounslow Urban Farm.
They have submitted images, their contact information, a description of their business and uploaded an event. They also use the profile to engage with their customers – they have responded to submitted questions. They also have many Google reviews, which are usually left by customers – businesses can encourage customers to leave reviews in marketing materials such as emails, on social media etc, to boost numbers.
Your Google My Business Account
After you create a Google My Business listing, an account for managing the business profile will be automatically created for you in Google Business Profile Manager. You can access it by going to business.google.com/
On your Google Business Profile Manager account, you can manage everything to do with your profile by using the left-hand menu.
- View all the information you have added to your profile (and preview what it looks like on Google)
- Create and edit Google Posts
- View insights about how your customers are interacting with your business on Google
- Manage customers’ reviews (view and respond)
- Answer customers’ messages
- Manage visuals (add a logo, cover photo, videos etc.)
- Submit your products and services
- View and edit a Google-generated webpage from your Google My Business profile (which is useful if you do not have a website)
- Add more users to the account
How to edit your Google My Business listings
Once you’ve completed your listing, you can edit it at any time by clicking on “Info” in your Google My Business account, navigate to your listing and choose a section you would like to update or fill out. You can also update information from the search listings themselves. First, make sure you are logged into the account linked to your GMB profile, find your business in search you will see a new menu appear above your business in the search results. Then click “edit” to see which fields you can edit.
Add as much information and media to your profile as you can, including contact information, business photo, the area you serve, your opening hours (you can also add special hours eg opening hours on special occasions such as Good Friday), attributes (eg business identifies as women-owned, wheelchair accessible, LGBTQ+ friendly), when you opened, and a website link.
Anyone can suggest an edit to your listing, so it’s crucial to create as complete a profile as possible (so random people do not make their own changes) and to periodically log into your GMB account and make sure all the details look right or update your listing.
Google My Business Photos
GMB photo guidelines
Your photos look best on Google if they meet the following standards:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB.
- Recommended resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide.
- Minimum resolution: 250 px tall, 250 px wide.
- Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.
The cover photo is the one that appears front and centre on your profile, so it’s an important one. Set a photo that accurately represents your business and will help draw customers in.
Logos represent your brand’s identity visually, so add a logo to help customers recognise your business instantly and remember it. For businesses that have their basic information, such as a phone number or hours of operation, the Business Profile highlights the logo.
Along with the cover photo and logo, you can add different photos to highlight features of your business that are informative and engaging.
GMB video guidelines
Make sure that your videos meet the following requirements:
- Duration: Up to 30 seconds long
- File size: Up to 75 MB
- Resolution: 720p or higher
Adding videos is a good way to differentiate your profile and stand out to customers, however, don’t worry if you do not have any – they are not a must-have.
Google My Business Reviews
How do you encourage customers to leave positive reviews? You can examine the reviews customers leave on your listing and respond to current ones. Responding shows the original reviewer that you care about their feedback and are thankful for their support, and positive reviews will stand out on your listing and encourage others to share their own reviews.
When managing negative reviews, you should respond in a courteous manner to show that you’re taking them seriously and that their feedback is important to you. By being courteous, you’re appearing to be a business that cares about its customers – attacking customers in response will make you seem unprofessional and their reviews more credible.
Creating Google Posts
Google Posts is a feature for verified Google My Business accounts that allows them to display content, images, and a call to action for up to seven days at a time. You can use Google Posts to promote events, announcements, new products or services, or a new piece of content. Google Posts can even be used to promote new offers and sales. It is a good way to draw more visitors to your site and is worth trying for your next promotion.
Creating a post is easy. Let’s get started.
Navigate to your Google My Business profile and in the left-hand options menu choose “Posts.” Then you will need to choose a post type. The available options are: COVID-19 update, offer, what’s new, event, and product.
Each post type provides your audience with specific details and allows you to add an action button to your post.
- COVID-19: Provide an update about changes related to COVID-19, which can include:
- Hours of operation and temporary closures.
- Changes to how the business operates, such as takeout or delivery only, a suggestion to call for details, or others.
- Updates to how the location manages safety and hygiene.
- Requests for support.
- Offers: Provide promotional sales or offers from your business. Offers require a title as well as start and end dates and times. A ‘View offer’ call to action button is automatically added to the post, which should link to a landing page. You can also include a photo, video, description, coupon code, link and terms and conditions with the post. Offers appear near the top of the Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. They also appear with all other posts in the ‘Updates’ tab.
- What’s new: Provide general information about your business. You can include a photo or video, a description and a call to action button. For example, a restaurant can make a post to promote a new menu item.
- Events: Promote an event at your business. Events require a title, start and end dates and a time. If there aren’t start or end times, then the system will default to 24 hours on the date that it’s posted. These posts may also include a photo, video, description and an action button. For example, a bookshop may advertise a local author’s book signing or a book club meeting. Events that meet certain criteria may also show on the ‘Overview’ tab of the Business Profile to make them more prominent to customers.
Navigate to your Google My Business profile and in the left-hand options menu choose “Posts”
Start your first post
Step 1) Decide on a goal for your post: Before you begin, it’s best to decide on the purpose of your post. Are you looking to bring traffic to your site, to attract event attendees, or to invite people to fill in a form?
Step 2) Upload an engaging photo: Choose a high-resolution photo that is visually stimulating and relevant to your purpose to help boost engagement with your audience.
Step 3) Choose a call to action: Select the call to action most relevant to your post (this will be a button to which you can add an appropriate URL). There is a preset list of call to action buttons to choose from, they are: “Book”, “Order online”, “Buy”, “Learn more”, and “Sign up”. There is also a “Call Now” call to action, which calls the number on your Google My Business listing.
Step 4) Set details for your event: If your post is about an upcoming event, you’ll be able to create a title for your event as well as set start and end times. Titles should be around 58 characters, using 4-5 words to describe your event.
Step 5) Write a compelling description: Use up to 1,500 characters (the ideal length for readability is 150-300 characters) to describe the details of your promotion or event.
Step 6) Publish your post: That’s all it takes! Make sure to preview your post before publishing to be sure everything is correct and displays properly. When you’re ready, click “Publish” and your post will be live on your Google My Business profile for the next seven days. If you need your post to display for longer, you can edit and republish the post once it has expired.
And you’re done!
Google My Business Update
In late 2021 Google announced it was retiring the Google My Business App in 2022. As well as renaming Google My Business to Google Business Profile, Google also said it wanted to encourage businesses with single location listings to access and manage their profiles through Google Search or Google Maps (either through the web interface or on mobile) instead of through Google My Business itself. Google said that the current Google My Business web portal would “transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations.”
How does that affect my Google My Business Listing?
Search for your business name in Google Search or Google Maps to see the business you have already claimed and verified as your own. You can also do this by typing in “my business” if you are logged in and then click on the profile that comes up. Google hopes that this should make it easier to complete verification or resolve other issues with Google Business Profiles. As part of the move, small businesses will be able to take advantage of the upgraded merchant experience on Google Maps and Search as additional tools to manage online performance will be available on Search and Maps.
What has not changed?
Despite changes to the way you manage your business profile, the principles are the same as before so it is still essential that you maintain a complete, up-to-date and accurate Google Profile.
Most important is making sure you have selected the right primary category (there are over 3,000 to choose from), with new ones being added all the time.
And ensure you are using the specific terms that you want to be searched for. It’s also worth checking the list of Attributes that you can assign to your business as these are regularly updated by Google too. These are services, features and qualities (eg contactless payments, disabled access) that you can use to describe your business as part of your profile.