Google my business is one of the most efficient marketing tools for your business (whether online or brick and mortar). Developed by Google, Google my business is a tool that enables entrepreneurs to expand and manage their digital presence. Through Google my business, you are able to not only update your business’ contact information but further create a platform that drives customer engagement.

Google my business free guide step by step

Google my business boosts your business’ search results and visibility on Google search, Google assistant, and maps. Essentially, GMB comes in handy for your business in terms of attracting new customers, as well as ensuring repeated engagement and continuous engagement with existing customers.

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When setting up your GMB listing, it is important to optimize your digital presence by ensuring that the information added on your GMB listing boosts customer engagement, attracts quality traffic and leads to your brand, and boosts your brand’s digital authority. This checklist provides a guide for setting up your GMB listing.

Setting up your GMB

  1. Check that your business is qualified for GMB listing.
  2. Ensure your business is currently open or opening within 90 days.
  3. Login to GMB official website.
  4. Setup or create the name of your business.
  5. Setup your business’ address (physical address).
  6. Specify your business’ location.
  7. Check that your business location is inserted on the map (for brick and mortar businesses).
    Part 2 – Categorizing your Business
  8. Categorize your business as either primary or secondary for Google optimization.
  9. Check that your selected category best fits your business.
  10. Add your business operating hours.
  11. List your products and services offered.
  12. Consider including the prices of your products and services.
    Part 4 – Verifying/Claiming your Business on GMB
  13. Select a way of verifying your business.
  14. Verifying options include by email, postcard, by phone and instant verification.
  15. Verify sensitive info regarding your business such as location.
  16. Submit a form for requesting ownership of your GMB listing.
    Part 3 – Website and Contact Info
  17. Add your website to your GMB listing.
  18. Consider adding your contact to the GMB listing.
  19. Include the exact URL structure in your website on the BMB listing.
  20. Check that the inserted URL, name, and address are the same across all listings.
  21. Use tools such as Direction local and Smarty Streets to ensure your NAP (name, address and phone number) is consistent.
    Optimizing Your Business For Google Listing
    Part 1 – Business Info
  22. Is your business name included?
  23. Do you have a brief and clear description of your business?
  24. Have you categorized your business according to the nature of products/services offered?
  25. Are your business hours clarified?
  26. Is your contact info and address listed?
  27. Have you verified your listing to prove legitimacy?
  28. Is your appointment URL included in the business info?
    Part 2 – Products/Services Section
  29. Are your offered products/services listed in the dashboard?
  30. Are there accompanying price lists for the listed products/services?
  31. Are your product catalogs added to your listing?
  32. Have you added your business attributes (to optimize refined searches)?
  33. Are your products, services, and menu listings compliant with Google’s requirements?
  34. Are your GMB user access levels set appropriately?
    Part 4 – GMB Customer Reviews
  35. Do you encourage customer reviews for your products?
  36. Do you engage with your customers’ reviews?
  37. Are your GMB reviews embedded on your website?
    Part 3 – Videos and Photos
  38. Have you added a profile photo to your GMB listing?
  39. Are the size, quality, resolution, and format compliant with Google’s guidelines?
  40. Are your photos optimized for SEO?
  41. Is your logo included in your uploaded images?
  42. Are your uploaded videos of high quality and resolution?
    Part 5 – Posts and Messaging
  43. Do you post regularly to optimize your profile?
  44. Have you enabled customer messaging?
    Creating Posts For Google My Business Listing
    Step 1 – Selecting your Post
  45. Include general business information and business updates.
  46. Determine whether the post should be a promotional post about upcoming offers.
  47. Select whether to post new changes such as temporary closures, new hours, price changes.
  48. Determine whether the post should include photos and videos.
    Step 2 – Creating the Post
  49. Check that your posts are short and to the point.
  50. Ensure the length and character count is within Google’s regulations.
  51. Avoid using punctuation and slang.
  52. Check that your visuals and videos exude professionalism.
  53. Avoid using hashtags in your GMB posts.
  54. Use high quality images to maximize conversions.
  55. Select an appropriate CTA from the options provided by Google.
  56. Check that your selected CTA links to a landing page.
  57. Make sure the post appears in the ‘From the owner’ section on desktop.
  58. Check the preview tab to see how the post is presented to your customers.
  59. Ensure your post appears in the updates and overview tabs on mobile.
    Step 3 – Leveraging Analytics
  60. Determine how much site traffic is coming from GMB.
  61. Optimize GMB analytics to see the performance of your posts.
  62. Consider checking for insights on your posts daily, weekly and monthly.
  63. Optimize the GMB summary view of posts to differentiate what works and what doesn’t.
    Linking GMB To Google Ads/Google Merchant Center
    Part 1 – Linking to Google Merchant Center (GMC)
  64. Check that your website and GMB listing is verified.
  65. Ensure your GMB listing adheres to Google’s requirements.
  66. Validate your GMB listing’s contact and address info.
  67. Check that your GMB checkout process is secure.
  68. Include details such pricing on your product posts.
  69. Check that product data such as availability and shipping are included.
  70. Present the product information in a format accepted by Google.
  71. Ensure that all data required by Google merchant center has been synced.
  72. Regularly update your feed with accurate and detailed information.
  73. Check that your product info on Google merchant center matches the info on your landing page.
    Part 2 – Linking to Google Ads
  74. Ensure you have a Google ads account.
  75. Check that your GMB email is similar to that of Google ads.
  76. Create a location extension on your Google ads account to link with your GMB.
  77. Link your GMB feature to ads to ensure adverts display proper address.
  78. Check that your business location is properly set up to optimize your campaigns.
  79. Optimize your GMB product titles and descriptions for Google ads.
  80. Check your product status to ensure any changes on your GMB listing are synced to ads.
  81. Consider adding unique product identifiers to optimize ads.
  82. Add custom labels to your GMB listing products to boost sales.
  83. Create automations in Google ads for your GMB campaigns.
    Setting Up / Managing User Access To Your GMB Listing
    Part 1 – Adding Users (Desktop Version)
  84. Log into your GMB listing.
  85. If you have multiple accounts, select the location of the business you want to manage.
  86. Select “Users’ on the left side of your listing’s menu.
  87. From the ‘Manage Permissions’ screen that opens up, select the ‘user’ icon.
  88. Click on the ‘new managers’ button.
  89. Enter the name and email of the new user you wish to add.
  90. Select the role to assign the new user from the options of owner, manager, site manager.
  91. Click invite.
    Adding Users (Mobile Version)
  92. Sign into your GMB app on your mobile.
  93. Select ‘More’ and then select ‘Manage Users’.
  94. Click on the + sign in the top right corner of the app.
  95. Proceed with the steps from the desktop version.
    Part 3 – Managing User Access on Individual Listings
  96. On your GMB dashboard, select the ‘Users’ icon on the left side.
  97. A ‘Manage Permissions’ screen will detail users with current permission.
  98. Select the ‘X’ button to delete a selected user from the listing.
  99. On the upper-right side of the listing, select the ‘people’ icon to invite new users.
    Part 2 – Managing User Access for Location Groups
  100. From your GMB dashboard, select a list of the locations you wish to manage.
  101. Click the ‘Create a location group’ icon to create a group and name it.
  102. Select the location group’s detail on the dashboard.
  103. Click the ‘Manage Users’ link.
    Optimizing Your Website URL / Other URLS For GMB Higher Ranking
    Part 1 – Website URL
  104. Check that all your URLs follow properly formatted URL structures.
  105. For a single location GMB business, use the homepage of your website.
  106. Use the specific landing pages for each of your multi-location businesses.
  107. Keep your URL simple and consistent.
  108. Check that your website’s URL is organized in a format supported by Google.
  109. Ensure your URL contain the right keywords for Google optimization.
  110. Always use descriptive keywords in your links.
  111. Avoid using dynamic URLs/parameters in your website’s URL.
  112. Check that all your URLs read well and are easily understood.
  113. Consider using TLDs that are geo-targeted in the Google search console.
  114. Include canonical URLs in your website to build credibility and trust.
  115. Check that your URL is devoid of special characters and stop words.
    Part 2 – Other URLs
  116. Ensure that all URLs are live at the time of entering into your listing.
  117. Consider adding booking URLs.
  118. Add links to 3rd parties and other link options based on your business category.
  119. Consider adding appointment URLs to your website.
  120. Consider adding Google analytics UTM tracking codes to your URLs.
  121. Check that your URLs are static and human-readable.
  122. Use directories, subfolders, and categories for higher ranking.
  123. Consider naming your categories and sub-categories for higher ranking on Google.
    Setting Up Your Google My Business For High Ranking In Local Search
    Part 1 – GMB Listing
  124. Is your GMB profile complete and accurate?
  125. Is your NAP info localized and consistent?
  126. Is your ‘About Us’ page location-specific?
  127. Have you removed any duplicate listings from your profile?
  128. Do you create and publish Google posts weekly?
  129. Does your information match across all platforms?
  130. Is your business description optimized for local searches?
  131. Are category-specific features optimized for your GMB profile ranking?
    Part 2 – Website
  132. Is your website high performing and optimized for SEO?
  133. Is your website equipped with relevant local keywords?
  134. Are Google maps attached to each locations page?
  135. Is your website mobile-friendly?
  136. Have you added tracking codes to your URL?
  137. Does your website contain high quality backlinks?
  138. Is your website URL optimized for Google ranking?
    Part 4 – Reviews
  139. Have you requested your customers for product reviews?
  140. Have you included the Q&A feature in your profile?
  141. Do you respond to customers’ reviews to boost engagement?
  142. Have you set up messaging to allow direct messages from your customers?
    Part 3 – GMB Images and Videos
  143. Are your GMB images geo-tagged?
  144. Are your GMB images posted regularly (weekly)?
  145. Do your videos have high quality content and resolution?
    Part 1 – Monitoring your GMB Listing
  146. Monitor webpage views and traffic.
  147. Implement UTM parameters on your website.
  148. Monitor customer actions on your page.
  149. Consider monitoring how customers search for your products.
  150. Determine whether customers are searching you on maps or through listing searches.
  151. Use GMB insights to evaluate the nature of customer searches (direct vs. discovery searches).
  152. Determine how the GMB statistics relate to your goals.
  153. Use GMB insights and analytics to determine what is working for your business.
  154. Leverage customized reports to measure performance.
  155. Monitor how customers are finding you (Are they searching for your name, address, or specific products?
  156. Track the number of calls from your customers and the time of calls.
  157. Use GMB insights to determine how often your photos are viewed.
  158. Use insight reports on competitor photos to determine what works.
  159. Monitor the trends by phone calls at different time frames.
  160. Identify the common spots from where customers request for directions to your business (mostly for brick and mortar).
    Part 2 – Maintaining your GMB Listing
  161. Keep updating and improving your profile on a regular basis.
  162. Make it easy for customers to contact you.
  163. Constantly ask for reviews to know what is working for your clients.
  164. Actively engage with your customers.
  165. Respond to negative feedback from your customers in a positive and respectful manner.
  166. Flag inappropriate comments and reviews on your GMB listing.
    Checklist 9 – Reporting GMB Spam Listing
    Step 1 – Identifying Potential Spam Listings
  167. Does the business name on the GMB listing match the name on the business license?
  168. Have you called the listed contact to verify the business?
  169. Is there keyword stuffing in the business name?
  170. Does the listed business name match the name in the Street view?
  171. Does the listing have a website?
  172. Are there multiple listings for the same business?
  173. Is the listed business name the name of a residence?
  174. Does the listing have a modifier?
  175. Does the listing contain an ‘About Page’ with real company history and real people?
  176. Are the company’s logo/branding similar to the business name?
  177. Does a Google search on the address return UPS store website or mail service?
  178. Does a zoom on Street view confirm the listed address?
  179. Do the reviews under the business appear fake?
    Step 2 – Reporting Spam Listings
  180. Have you filed complains on Google’s redressal form?
  181. Have you suggested an edit for a potential spam listing on Google maps?
  182. Have you suggested edits for an incorrect landing page URL.
  183. Do you constantly check your Contributions tab on GMB to confirm the approval of your suggested edits?
  184. Have you sent suggestions to Google for the removal of a spam listing’s location?
  185. Have you suggested public edits to spam my GMB listings?
  186. Have you flagged fake reviews as inappropriate?
  187. Are there specifications of how the listing is in violation of Google’s guidelines?
  188. Have you contacted Google Product Experts at the Google My Business forum for additional help?
  189. Identify your local competitors to understand what is working for them.
  190. Use target niche or Primary Google My Business category to search for your competitors.
  191. Base your competitor search on location and keywords related to your products and services.
  192. Audit your competitors’ business hours, photo uploads, and reviews.
  193. Audit the competition’s landing pages to identify opportunities.
  194. Audit competitors’ titles to optimize title listings.
  195. Consider auditing your competitors’ URL structure.
  196. Optimize GMB categories.
  197. Consider referencing your competitors’ titles to optimize your listing title.
  198. Compare and optimize schema markups for your listing.
  199. Ensure your NAP is consistent across all platforms (including Bing Places, Facebook).
  200. Use automation tools to fully automate and track NAP consistency across platforms.
  201. Optimize your business description.
  202. Add links to your website for optimization.
  203. Optimize your visibility by adding a short profile name.
  204. Geo-tag your photos to optimize your listing’s visibility.
  205. Add parameters to your URL for tracking traffic to your website.
  206. Prioritize verifying your listing (failure to verify implies that your listing will not feature in searches).
  207. Optimize keyword in your URLs, title.
  208. Regularly measure your Google my Business optimizations.
  209. Utilize GMB’s posting feature for SEO optimization.
  210. Generate Google reviews.
  211. Check that your set business hours are accurate

Get Ready to Improve Your Engagement on Social Media

Social media marketing is a must – but getting organic engagement is becoming increasingly difficult. With sites like Facebook and Twitter tweaking their algorithms constantly, local businesses need proven strategies to ensure that their customers see and engage with their posts.

Engagement isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition, but it’s undeniable that some strategies to increase engagement work better than others.
So, instead of wasting your time with a bunch of ideas that may not work, let’s focus on the ones that do. Here are some of the most reliable ways to get the social media engagement your business deserves.

Live Video

The thing about static social media posts is that they’re, well… static. People may engage with them or they may not – but there’s no real incentive to jump in and get involved.
The same cannot be said of live video. Live video is of the moment – and it requires audience participation.
Instead of filming a video, editing it, and then sharing it, try using live video instead. Live video is ideal for:
Answering questions from your followers
Giving a “behind the scenes” look at your business
Streaming events as they happen
Unboxing or demoing products

One of the biggest benefits of live video is that it doesn’t need the same production value as a professional video. All you need are a good microphone and decent lighting – and you’re good to go!

Ask Questions

If you’re posting content that doesn’t specifically ask for your followers’ opinions and responses, then you’re missing an opportunity to engage with them in a meaningful way. The best questions to ask are often open-ended questions because longer, more detailed responses are more likely to positively impact your visibility on social media.
Here are a few suggestions of the kinds of questions you can ask:
What do you think about X, and why?
What’s one thing you would change about X?
What are the qualities you look for in a [product or service]?
What’s your daily [fill in the blank] routine?

How do you use our product?

What these questions have in common is that they encourage detailed responses. And because they also stimulate curiosity, they may encourage your followers to reply to each other’s responses and check back in to read responses later.
Go for Laughs
Whatever kind of business you own, there’s some humor to be found in promoting it. And social media is the perfect place to share frustrations and odd events. Let’s face it, people love to laugh!
The things you post can be lists, images, or even questions. The key is to find the humor and make it irresistible for your audience to chime in. Here are some ideas:
Post a picture of a wardrobe malfunction (a G-rated one, of course) and ask your followers to tell you about their most embarrassing wardrobe mishap.

Post a list of bad advice related to your business and ask people to tell you about the worst advice they ever received.
Tell a story about a humorous but frustrating event you experienced at work.
Keep in mind that posts with images get more engagement than text-only posts – and have fun!
Stop Them in Their Tracks
One of the trickiest things in social media marketing is finding ways to make your content stand out. After all, you’re competing with your followers’ friends and family (whose posts are prioritized on Facebook and other sites) and with our ever-dwindling attention spans.

An option that works is to find eye-catching, surprising, and irresistible images to include in your social media posts. The kind of thing that will grab your audience’s attention and hold it – making it impossible for them to resist clicking, reading, and watching.

Some ideas include:
Surprising or funny images
Unique graphics and illustrations
Intriguing video thumbnails

The thing to remember is that standard stock photos and images aren’t going to do the trick. You need something that’ll take your audience by surprise and give them a reason to stop scrolling. Think original images, candid photographs, and creative designs.
Take a Poll

A well-designed social media poll can get the people in your target audience to engage with you in a whole new way. Polls on Facebook and Twitter – and other sites – are easy to design and post. They take very little effort and no money.
You can use a social media poll to:
Learn about the kind of content your followers want to see
Collect demographic information about your followers
Find out which offers your followers are likely to take advantage of
Polling options are somewhat limited so you may need to give responders the option of expanding on their answers in the comments.

Add a Messenger Chatbot to Make Connections
Chatbots are here to stay and you can use a Messenger chatbot to make new connections and increase your engagement.

One option is to run a promotion (with a lead magnet, for example) on Facebook and let people know that if they comment, they’ll get a freebie via Messenger. It’s a good way to open a dialogue without spending a ton of money.
If you’re looking to attract new leads or build a list, this is a good option to try.
Put Your Emoji Game to Work
There’s plenty of evidence that adding emojis to your social media posts can increase your engagement on social media. That being the case, why not experiment with including them and see what it does for your engagement?
Here are some pointers for adding emojis to boost engagement:

According to HubSpot, novelty emojis tend to get more engagement than faces
Choose emojis that are easy to understand and relevant to your post
Stay away from emojis that don’t fit in with your brand’s message and personality

Ask your followers to answer a question using only emojis

You should use emojis sparingly in your posts. You don’t need to do it every time or replace every other word with an emoji. If you try this method, make sure to track your results and adjust according to what your analytics tell you.
Increasing your social engagement may be a bit of a crap shoot, but it’s possible to do it without spending a ton of money promoting posts and running ads. The ideas here are proven to help companies get the attention they deserve on social media.

•When setting your address, determine whether you are a service area business (SAB) or brick and mortar.
•If your business is a SAB, let Google know the radius you serve.
•When signing in to your GMB, use your business email domain.