Google My Business — Best Practices for Local Business
By Nathan Pabich
Google My Business is a free Google resource for local businesses. It allows a business owner to provide valuable information directly to Google, which helps a business appear in local results for both brand and non-brand queries. This guide details each section of the Google My Business platform to help you best leverage this free tool.
Best Practices for Google My Business
The Google My Business dashboard is navigated by its left-hand menu. This guide walks through each section of the menu.
This section is the default entry point for users. Here, business owners can adjust the core information about their company. Owners can quickly: create a post, add a photo, or create an ad. In addition, owners can quickly see the latest customer photos and reviews. Also featured on the homepage is a snapshot of your business analytics (views on maps and search), a link to create a virtual tour, a link to access more analytics and a link to the Google My Business app.
Manage Photos (add photos of your business)
Upload an exterior shot of your entrance so customers know they are in the right place
Tip: If there’s a landmark or distinct object in front of your building, include it
Upload a welcoming shot of your lobby or immediate interior
Add photos of anything that makes your location or business unique or a unique selling proposition
Add photos any time you have something worthwhile to share
Flag inappropriate “By Customer” photos
Post photos to the most specific location – such as “interior,” “exterior,” “products” or “team”
Note: You could do one yourself, but a version from a Google vendor is more likely to be trusted by Google
Posts allow you to share interesting information with your potential customers. These posts display in your local listing knowledge graph and help increase engagement. Note that posts expire after 7 days. You’ll receive an email notification when your post is set to expire.
Share relevant information with customers regarding:
Employee of the month
In this section, you can enter and adjust your core business attributes.
Ensure your mailing address is correct
Google looks for consistency between all your online listings (hours, address, business name, phone number). If your address is inconsistent in different online resources, this diminishes the trust you’re building with Google
List your business hours and any special hours your business might have
List your correct phone number for this location — not a call tracking number
Tip: Don’t include your vanity phone number here
Include your main website URL and an appointment URL (like a contact page)
List your correct and relevant business services and attributes
Include a business description
Add your opening date of this location
Include photos of the business
Add a store code (based on your own organization structure)
Note: This is typically used in larger companies and can help with organization
Add labels if you need to sort through many listings (recommended for large companies with many local listings)
Insights are like Google Analytics for your local listing. Here, you’ll see data about how customers are finding and interacting with your local listing.
Learn valuable insights about your audience’s interactions with your Google My Business listing:
How did visitors discover you?
Were they a direct (branded) visit?
Did they discover you through a non-branded keyword?
How many people found your business through search?
How many people found your business through Maps?
How many people clicked for directions?
Tip: You can see a heat map of their location
Tip: A breakdown by zip code and county is available
How many people visited your website?
How many people clicked to call your business?
Tip: You can sort phone calls by day
How are your businesses similar to yours performing?
Learn how many people viewed your photos vs businesses like you
Learn how many photos you have compared to similar businesses
Reviews are a very powerful form of social proof. Your aggregate review score will show up alongside your listing. The better your reviews, the more likely someone will be to interact with your listing over your competitor’s listing. In the top section of your reviews, you can toggle between reviews you have replied to and those you haven’t yet. This makes replying to all reviews easier than ever.
Interested in better managing your reviews? We’d love to hear more and share how we can help. Let’s talk.
Respond to reviews — both good and bad
Tip: You can respond to reviews right from the Review Dashboard, making this process easy
Note: This is a bit different from Yelp, which suggests you only respond to negative reviews
Tip: Be as objective as possible (your responses are public), always stick to the facts and share proof to help validate your side of the story while providing a delightful experience
Messaging is a new service in Google My Business and allows you to interact with your potential customers via text message. As mobile search continues to grow, this can be a powerful way to give customers feedback in real time.
Activate chat (if you have someone on staff who can accept SMS messages from customers), which is a great way to communicate with potential customers and answer questions in real time
Note: There are currently no options for when this is available, so you might be fielding texts at 3 am
Don’t have a business yet? Google has your back and can get you online.
Create a business website using Google’s themes and styles using their WYSIWYG design platform
Please note: DTC has not tested this feature
From here you can control which staff members and partners have access to manage and view your Google My Business account.
Provide access to your partners and people responsible for updating your Google My Business
Tip: Periodically review this section and remove old employees and legacy web partners
Create an Ad
It wouldn’t be Google if they didn’t pitch advertising!
Advertise your business on AdWords
Note: DTC offers expert PPC management services if you need help
Add New Location
Great news! You’re growing! No need to create a separate account — you can manage all of your locations from the Google My Business dashboard.
Add additional locations under the same master Google My Business account
Great news! You’re growing! No need to create a separate account — you can manage all of your locations from the GMB dashboard.
Add additional locations under the same master Google My Business account
In this section, you can customize your Google My Business experience.
Set your default language, preferred email and alerts preferences
Set alerts for new reviews
Enable alerts for changes to the health of your listing
Be sure to also download the Google My Business app for control when you’re away from your office
Confused with Google My Business? This section provides some baseline help and guidance.
Search through the FAQs and most popular Google My Business articles.
Tip: You can also contact Google, depending on the issue, though this will route you through a troubleshooting wizard to try to solve your issue without a direct contact first
If you have an AdWords PPC account with DTC, your account manager will be able to help you connect with Google to solve your problem through our Premier Partner status with Google!
Interested in learning more about digital marketing? Check out these valuable resources: