Google My Business (GMB) is a useful and increasingly more popular digital marketing tool that can improve your small business’s placement in Google Search results and Maps, for free.
Claiming and verifying a GMB page is one of the first steps small businesses should take when looking for simple ways to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While many businesses get this far, some companies don’t optimize their Google My Business page when it can be done in about 30 minutes.
Here is how to claim your Google My Business page and the best practices for setting it up:
According to Google’s guidelines, you can claim your Google My Business page for “businesses that either have a physical location that customers can visit, or that travel to visit customers where they are.” In other words, online businesses cannot claim a GMB page.
Once you are ready to claim, you can head over to Google.com/Business to start the process.
Step 1: Log into (or create) the Google Account you want connected to your business.
Step 2: Go to Google.com/Business.
Step 3: Type in the name of your business.
Step 4: Search for your business category. You can change this or add more later.
Step 5: Choose whether or not you have a location customers can go to. (If no, go to Step 8.)
Step 6: Type in the address and find it on Maps.
Step 7: Choose whether or not you serve customers outside of this location.
Step 8: Add your company’s contact information.
Step 9: Click “Finish”
You may also be able to claim an existing company if it is already recognized by Google. Just search for your business, click “Manage now”, and verify.
How To Verify Your Google My Business Page
Once you are finished claiming your page, you will then be prompted to verify it. This is important, otherwise anyone could claim any business they wanted.
To verify, enter your company’s address and a contact name (optional), and then click “Mail”. The postcard will be delivered to your business in about five days. It is crucial that you do not edit any of the information you just entered during the claiming portion, or you may delay the process.
After you receive a postcard in the mail, log into the Google My Business account you want to verify, click “Verify Now”, and enter the 5-digit code. Click “Submit”.
Note: If you never receive your code, or misplaced it, you can always request a new one in your GMB account.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Optimizing your Google My Business page is exactly where you can set your company apart. While many companies claim and verify their GMB page, not all of them take this extra step.
At this stage, your GMB page will have a lot of information filled out but it is important to flesh out the rest. Below are some quick tips so that you can optimize your Google My Business page in 30 minutes. We recommend that you have your company’s website open in the next tab so that you can copy and paste the bulk of the information.
For stronger SEO and visibility, try these best practices:
- Add a business profile photo – The recommended size is 250×250 pixels (min 120×120; max 5200×5300).
- Add the area you serve – This is different than your physical location. Where is the farthest customer you would serve?
- Add your hours – Customers will immediately know if/when you are open.
- Add your attributes – This is a great place to highlight special features and benefits of your company, such as being wheelchair accessible.
- Add your company’s services – Let people see what you offer without even clicking to your website.
- Add the day and year you opened – Let viewers get to know you!
Optimizing your page is important because not only does it help your SEO, but if a section is left blank, anyone on the internet can fill it out for you with the “suggest an edit” function! This “suggestion” will then become public without your approval.
If you follow these time-efficient steps for claiming your Google My Business page, verifying it, and optimizing your content, your business will immediately stand out in Google Search results and Maps. This will allow customers to learn more about your business in just a few taps, eventually leading them to your website…and through your doors!