Think of your Google My Business (GMB) listing as your home page in Google search results as it is often the first thing businesses or consumers see when searching for your name or products and services.
For this reason, it is essential that your Google My Business listing is optimized. You also need to treat it as a social media outlet for posting statuses, photos and videos. That's what people see in a no-click search, where the person bases their search on your Google My Business listing rather than clicking on your website.
Why a Google My Business listing?
Google My Business has become one of the most convenient and accessible ways to promote your business in search results on Google - the most used search engine in Canada with an average 92% market share.
To help you take advantage of the platform and optimize your Google My Business account, we have accumulated a number of tips and tricks to put the spotlight on your business.
What is Google My Business?
- The Google Knowledge Panel
- The Google Local Set
- Google Maps
What are the advantages of Google My Business?
- An opportunity to appear on listings that you would not otherwise
- The ability to collect and display reviews
- Get information about your business
- Google My Business is totally FREE!
Google Local SEO Statistics
Google My Business marketing statistics
Configure your Google My Business page
- Guide to creating a new Google My Business listing
- In brief
Claim a Google My Business page or claim an existing Google Maps listing
FAQ - setting up a Google My Business page
- Image dimensions for Google My Business
- Editing an address on Google My Business
- Do I need a physical address to use Google My Business?
- What do I do if I work from home and don't want my address to be visible on GMB?
- What if your business category is not available on Google My Business?
- What is a short name on Google My Business?
- How do I add questions and answers in Google My Business?
- What are labels on Google My Business and why are they important?
- How to add attributes on GMB?
- How to use call tracking?
- How to encourage users to leave reviews?
Optimize and maximize your Google My Business listing
- Google My Business ranking factors
Tool: Local citations also known as NAP data
- Local citation types
- Search engines
- Primary data aggregators
- Major directories
- Geographic/industry-specific platforms
- Unstructured citations
- Owned properties
- Starting track
Guidelines for Channels, Services and Independent Professionals: Best Practice Tips by Google
- Name consistency
- Category consistency
- Representing multiple brands in the same establishment
- Professional firms
- Sole practitioners representing a brand
- How to encourage users to leave reviews?
Illegal activities, marketing, promotions or contests
How to work with a third party?
- Best practices according to Google
- Automatic calls
- Google Operators
Google best practices
When SEO specialists think about adding keywords, they often think back to the days of keyword stuffing in the meta tag or exaggerated repetition of each keyword in the text of a page. Things have changed a lot today!
When writing your GMB description, it's important to understand that keywords are generally considered to have no impact on your local rankings. So you don't need to stuff your description with keywords. That said, it's worth taking the time to read Google's guidelines to avoid mistakes that could result in your listing being suspended.
Google posts are a great way to enhance your GMB listing and allow you to share content directly to your page, which also appears on the Knowledge Panel, giving you a great opportunity to stand out.
In your GMB dashboard, you will be able to select "publications" from the left-hand menu and go directly to content creation.
The question that comes up most often is this: What type of content should you publish as on Google?
The possibilities are simply endless; just make sure you present content that makes sense and helps your audience.
Here are some great ideas:
Posts around an event you're hosting.Posts to announce a sale you're currently offering.Sharing an excerpt from your latest blog post, with a link to the main content.Announcing a seasonal message to your customers.
Did you know that you can highlight products directly on the GMB sheet that appears in your knowledge panel? It works a bit like highlighting your services.
Note that if you have a website, this information can be used by the Google Merchant Center. This will save you from making manual updates every time you change a product, a price, etc. We tend to use it directly for service businesses since the number of services tends to be less than an online store, for example.
Here's how Google puts it:
The product editor allows merchants to have a presence on mobile and desktop to offer products to customers and encourage them to interact. Users will see a more relevant selection of a store's products under the "Products" tab of the store profile on mobile, or in the "Product Overview" module on desktop. Items added on the product editor will appear in store profiles via Google search on desktop and mobile.
Simply create collections containing at least three products each and fill in the required fields, including the product image. Your customers will then be able to view your collections and click for more details.
We recommend that you spend the time necessary to create collections and product sheets. This is a feature that many companies don't use properly, and chances are your competitors haven't used it yet.
It's recommended to be as specific as possible when choosing how to categorize your business on GMB. That said, it's not uncommon to find that there is no category available in Google My Business that perfectly matches your business. Knowing that the primary category you choose is the one that matters the most, you should choose it well.
There are currently over 3,000 different options. If you are having trouble finding a suitable way to classify your business, it is recommended that you choose one that is broader than your current classification. For example, let's say you run a parcel delivery company. You won't find that category in GMB, but you will find "Shipping and Delivery Services," which is a little less specific, but relevant, so choose it.
It's only natural that customers will have questions, and smart companies are taking advantage of GMB's opportunity to pre-populate questions and answers to improve their record and make the answers as easy to find as possible.
They are displayed as part of your company listing on the Knowledge Panel. Customers can ask questions directly from a search engine results page (SERP) by clicking on the "Ask a Question" button. A box appears at this point, allowing customers to quickly and easily ask questions, but it's important to note that anyone can answer, not just you. This means that you may end up with incorrect answers on the page.
It is essential to regularly review questions that have been asked by customers and provide answers as soon as possible, before someone else has the opportunity to do so. Remember, as a business owner, it's wise to pre-populate the most frequently asked questions in order to help customers as much as possible and make it easy for them to get answers to their queries. This helps build trust, among other things.
Identify the questions you are most frequently asked and add them. It's often interesting and fruitful to sit down with a sales or customer service representative to make sure you're answering as many questions as possible to help potential customers.
Call tracking gives you information about call source metrics, allowing you to make informed business decisions. But you may want to use tracking numbers in your GMB record while being concerned about organic search (SEO) consistency.
You can use call tracking numbers with GMB without seeing a negative impact on your local visibility. You just need to make sure everything is set up properly with either the Google My Business call tracking tool or with software like Twilio and CallRail.
In the "Info" section of your GMB record, you will see a phone number section, with options for the main number and additional numbers. Be sure to add your call tracking number as the main phone, and your standard business phone number as an additional number. As ironic as it may sound, adding your main phone line as an additional number ensures that it remains associated with your business and keeps your SEO consistent.
While they don't directly impact your GMB listing's performance, labels are a useful feature for many marketers and business owners. They simply allow you to organize your listings within your account; this is a handy tool when managing multiple locations on a single dashboard. Using them, you can easily search for a specific location in GMB.
They are often used to group records by region or country if you are working with an international company that has stores in multiple territories. For example, for the United States, you can add the labels "East Coast" and "West Coast" to group your records.
You can assign up to 10 labels per facility, with up to 50 characters. You can find the option to add labels in the "Advanced Information" section of the "Info" tab.
We've already highlighted the importance of reviews as part of your GMB presence. BrightLocal has found that 5-star reviews increase clicks by about 25%, but a question that often comes up is how businesses can encourage users to leave reviews.
First of all, don't be tempted to leave fake reviews yourself or buy reviews from other people or use companies that offer this type of service since Google removes reviews that are deemed unnatural.
To encourage users to leave reviews, you need to integrate the request into your internal processes, so that customers are naturally asked to give feedback on your company, its products or services.
Here are some ideas:
Use the features available in Google Marketing Kit to create social media posts, visuals and posters that encourage customers to leave reviews.
Send an email to customers after they purchase through your CRM (or use your service) and politely ask them to leave a review on your GMB page, sharing your short link.
Approach long-time customers personally. You'll be surprised how effective this can be if you contact them with a personal request.
If you're a local business, you simply can't ignore the benefits that Google My Business can bring to your visibility.
If you stick to the basics and use as many features as possible, you'll already be ahead of the competition, as many just fill in the minimum without doing anything else.
Be the company that has an active, well-filled listing, gets 5-star reviews and whose profile makes your competitors jealous!
Google My Business listing configuration
You need to make sure that your logo and cover images on your GMB sheet are crisp and catch the attention of your potential customers. Be aware of the right dimensions first, so you can work the design well with the size available.
The dimensions and features you need to know are :
Profile photo: 250 x 250px
Cover photo: 1080 x 608 px
Post images: 1200 x 900 px
Size: between 10 Kb and 5 Mb
Make sure your design team knows the dimensions they need to work with, or use a simple platform like Canva to help you create images that really stand out
All verified GMB listings have the option of choosing a "short name" that makes it easier for customers to find and follow their business on Google Maps and Search.
Once you have a short name for your business, customers will be able to enter it as a URL in their browser's address bar and be directed directly to the GMB page, as in the example provided by Google:
You will probably promote this short name. It is therefore important that it is precise, short and relevant. Google recommends that you include your location to better distinguish it from others. Having a short name will also make it easier to share with customers.
Attributes are an effective way to distinguish your listing from the competition by highlighting the unique features of your business. It's what makes your business great and it's what customers love about you.
From free WiFi to family friendliness, you have complete control over the attributes and strengths you choose to highlight in your listing. Remember, your business category determines the attributes available for your business profile. You will find the available strengths and attributes to choose from in the "Info" tab of your GMB listing. Click on the pencil icon and you will see the options available to you.
Below is an example from a consulting firm's GMB sheet, so you can see the options available. Be sure to choose all of the ones that apply to your business and showcase everything you have to offer clients.
Log in to your Google My Business account. If you have multiple locations, choose the one you want to edit.
In the menu, click on "Info".
Click on the address field.
Enter your address following the guidelines we explained above, then click "Apply".
If Google does not find the address, it will ask you to adjust the map so that the marker matches the address of your establishment.
In the map on the right, move the red marker to the location of your establishment.
If you are a restaurant located in the middle of a shopping mall, you can drag this marker to help users locate your establishment within the building.Then click "Apply".
Note that changes may not be immediate. GMB may review the change before it is published.
To claim your Google My Business page, you must have a business that has a physical location or travels to customers.
In other words, you can't create a Google My Business page if you are an online-only or virtual business with no premises. You will need to use an address when creating and verifying your account, but you can choose not to display it publicly.
Choosing not to publicly display your business address is perfect for those who work from home or provide services to clients on their premises, but do not want the address to appear on their listing.
To do this, make sure you are logged into Google My Business and go to the "Info" tab.
Find your address and click on the pencil icon next to it, which will bring up a window to make changes.
You will find a "Clear Address" button at the bottom of the pop-up window. Click on it.
When you click on "Apply", you prevent your address from being displayed on your form.
Be sure to check that the locations listed as your service areas (the section below on the main "info" screen) are correct, and add any other locations you serve if they are not listed.
That's all you have to do. You will have hidden your address, but people searching your service areas will still be able to find you.
The good news is that if you run and manage multiple businesses that meet the criteria for listing on Google My Business, you'll be able to list multiple locations from a single account.
You can use facility groups as an easy way to manage multiple facilities within the same group or folder in GMB. At this point, you're probably wondering if you can list them in batches. The answer is yes!
When you "Add a Location" on the "Locations" tab in Google My Business, you have the option of adding a single location or importing multiple locations. If you're only looking to list a handful of establishments, it may make sense to do so individually as separate establishments, but if you're managing more, it's best to import them in batches. To do this, you can import multiple locations and list them by downloading and using the template offered by Google.
You can also use this function to edit existing GMB records. Once you have entered all the locations you wish to list, select the file and import it, then check the changes and confirm. All new records will be created, and all updates to existing records will be applied.