I get it all the time. How can I get my business to show up in those top 3 businesses on the Google map when someone searches for “my niche & location“? This article will discuss how to add your business to google maps. It gives you another chance to show up in the search results and is a set of my best Google maps tips.
It isn’t magic or a secret, it’s called Google My Business and that is free. Every business can get an account with Google. It was formerly known as Google Places.
There is a caveat.
In order to get included, you need a verified business location in the city you are targeting. In other words, you need the check mark on your page assuring visitors that you are verified.
This is usually done by requesting a postcard to the business address. It can be your home if you provide services at a customers location, such as a plumber.
Google Maps seo is a huge factor in the local seo marketing landscape. Walk through this guide to take your free business listing beyond the 1-5 always listed. Done properly, it takes some time. It also has more power. Read on to improve your Google local business listings seo.
Add Business to Google Maps with Google My Business
If you don’t already have a free Gmail account, I suggest you get one here first so you can seamlessly follow this guide. The link will open in a new tab so you can come back here when you are done.
Head on over to the Google My Business page. You can close the other email tab now if you had to create an account. This will open in another tab again to follow along as you work.
Click the Start Now button in the upper right corner of the screen. Don’t worry about the Sign In link, it will recognize that you are logged in already after you click Start Now.
Enter Your Google Business Account Information
This opens up the screen for you to enter your business details. Ensure that all of the information is entered correctly.
I’m fairly certain I don’t need to explain your business name and address. Just know that Google does not like PO Boxes. If you are using a home address and get mail through the post office, I suggest entering your street address anyway.
You will still be able to verify the account, Google will just send the postcard to your street address. The mail carrier should get it to you despite the discrepancy.
The phone number should be what a customer would call or Google could call/text to verify you. If it is a landline that can’t get a text, no worries.
As you begin to type in the Category section, you will be displayed with some options. Choose the option that best describes your business. You will have the ability to choose additional options later.
Take note of the option just above the “Confirm” button. This is for service type businesses that work at a client location, such as their home. If you don’t want your address visible or don’t do business at the address listed, choose this option.
Double check your work right now. If it all looks correct, click Confirm.
Once you log in you will enter the dashboard area. Yours will look similar to this except without the verification symbol. You also won’t have the image, logo, or insights and reviews section. Reviews aren’t eligible until the account is verified.
Verify Your Google Business listing
You will click the gray shield to verify your business. It looks slightly different prior to verification. Follow the prompts to choose a postcard and receive a verification pin. In a rare instance, if allowed to phone verify, choose that method.
The postcard will generally be there in 5-7 days. I have seen it come as quickly as 3. The point is that the postcard has a unique code on it, usually 6 digits.
You will come back to this screen once you receive it and click this same icon. Then the system will ask for the code. Type it in and you are all set. Follow the instructions beyond to optimize your business map listing.
Get back to the main dashboard if you aren’t already back there. If you log into GMB after leaving and don’t see this, it is because you are in the main portal. Click on your business location.
It is set up this way for those that have multiple listings they manage. I won’t show that since this is for people setting up their first Google Local listing.
Fine tune your My Business Details
Next, you want to click the red Edit button, or simply click the INFO tab above it. This is where you will enter business details for the listing.
By clicking on the pencil next to the category you chose earlier, you will be able up to 9 additional categories. Only choose categories that are appropriate for your business. Some niches only have 1 and some have several.
If you have chosen a service area and haven’t already set one up, you can do so in the next section.
From there, enter the appropriate business hours that you would like displayed in the listing.
Finally, enter you website address and phone number (sorry the screenshot is short). We will get into photos in the next section, go ahead and click the link.
Add some business related photos for improved google maps seo
The GMB photo area has several options. All accounts have a logo, cover photo, and profile image. They also have team photos, photos at work, and additional photos.
Brick and mortar locations will also have 2 other sections, interior and exterior photos of the business location. This is so that you can show customers what they can expect upon arrival.
Don’t be dishonest with your portrayal. Users are savvy. If they come to your spa thinking it rocks because you showed one awesome thing but the rest is in shambles…guess what? You now have a bad review saying your facility isn’t as nice as it looks. A bad review can ruin a business before it ever gets going.
Optimize image titles
Another one my Google maps tips is to name the pictures something other than what your camera gave them. If it is a picture of a fantastic kitchen remodel, call it “kitchen-remodel”.
This makes a lot more sense to Google than “img789493”. Essentially, you are helping Google add relevance between your images and your business listing.
One thing that I don’t understand is why Google doesn’t allow us to customize the “ALT” text on our Google images. That is what a screen reader would speak to those with visual impairments. Google chooses to classify all of our ALT text at “photo”.
Although not necessary, it’s simplicity means I am going to walk through it quick for those that want the best free listing they can build (Windows users).
- Head to the folder where your images are that you will use
- Right click on one of the images
- Select “Rename”
- Type what you want to name it
- Use HYPHENS rather than spaces between words (remember our “kitchen-remodel” image earlier?)
As an example, the image above was named “google-my-business-photos”. It makes sense because that is what the image shows.
Edit Google+ Details
Now, head back to the INFO tab on the top menu area.
From there, click the Google+ link in the right pane.
This will take you to your Google+ page that was created with the GMB listing. It isn’t complete yet though, so we can take it up a notch.
When you arrive at your page, you will see an ABOUT link and a FOLLOW button, with an ellipsis in between. The follow button is for users to follow your page. The about link should contain your business description. That is why we have come.
If you click the about link, you won’t have an option to change it. The reason is because you are logged in as the Gmail user you originally set up. We need to edit our Brand Account.
Click on your user icon in the upper right corner. This will open a list which now should contain another user option. It is named after your business. Click on that option to use Google+ as the admin of the business rather than a regular user. Your screen should not look like below.
There are a couple things to note:
- Your user image has been changed to the company profile image (logo in my case).
- A red Edit icon with a white pencil is in the lower right corner. This button would allow you to make a post to your page.
- The follow button has been replaced with an EDIT PROFILE button, our key to an awesome page.
- You have an option to “Create a Collection”.
As noted, we are interested in editing our profile so click the button (#3).
This brings up a lightbox showing the company name, tagline (enter if need be) and the communities you are a part of if any. You can choose to make those public from here.
Tell your Company story
You want to click the “Manage Page” button. This brings up the About Me page for the business. This is where we can add “Our Story” or the business description posted on Google+ and Google My Business.
I know it’s a journey but the end is near!
Click on the pencil next to “Story”. This will bring up the area where you can enter your business details.
As you can see from the image, you are allowed to lightly format this text, as well as add hyperlinks.
My own description links out to several pages on my site as well as a couple social media profiles. This might be a bit excessive. This was done long ago before it was so difficult.
I would recommend that you make this a detailed description. Don’t be afraid to write a paragraph about each of your services. It is an about section and Google highlights this page for us. Make it shine but don’t be a spammer. And don’t use broken links.
Clicking OK locks in the changes. If you would like to see how it will look when someone actually clicks the About link on your page, click the hamburger (menu) icon in the upper left corner of the blue section.
Click Preview on the slide out menu. If you need to make any changes, just jump back in and do so.
There you have it.
Your GMB listing is now complete and you have the ability to show up in the map pack. In the smaller communities, this level of optimization will likely get you in the top 3 depending on your niche.
Beyond the map listing
Another awesome thing about this listing is what happens when someone searches for a keyword that doesn’t trigger the map pack, but still shows a knowledge graph. You can also see it by searching your company name in Google.
A lot of information is given as shown in the screenshot above.
It displays the business contact information, hours and reviews from Google and Facebook in addition to an image and map. In my case it shows the service area, which unfortunately maxes out at a 620 mile radius. It also displays a button for customers to write a review and for you to add an image.
Sadly, it also displays competitors. It makes total sense though. Any shopper would love a one click option to view the other competitors.
Now that you have the opportunity to be listed in the Google for Business area, make the most of it. Do great work and get some reviews to stand out.
All of the pictures inside of your Google+ page have meta information attached to them. One of the options is allowing geo-location to be added to the image. Click the info button after clicking on any image on your page.
This will bring up the metadata for that particular picture. You can check a box on the bottom allowing the image to be tagged. This can help associate your company with your location. If you image brings up a map such as this one, location data is already applied so the box can be left alone.
Add your business to Google Maps and dominate the local marketing scene
Knowing how to add your business to Google Maps isn’t enough.
Hopefully you can use this guide to turn that free listing into one of your best lead generation tools.
With some effort and research you can make this listing more powerful than the competitors so that you are in the top 3 consistently.
Doing so will render a lot more business for your company if you have a great website to generate leads and a solid on-boarding process.
Of course if you can’t figure out how to add your business to Google Maps or need one of our local SEO packages, you know where to look.