Before even creating a listing, it’s important to know the Google My Business ranking factors. Knowing which factors influence rankings will help ensure that the listing is properly created and optimized.
Google My Business plays a major role in Local SEO and online visibility. This is because over 88% of local searches result in a call or visit within 24 hours, and localized searches that include “near me” have grown by over 900% (ex: “plumbers near me”).
For product and service-related searches, Google (almost) always provides localized results.
This result is also know as Local Pack, and appears in nearly 30% of all Page 1 results.
Getting featured here requires having a Google My Business Listing…
Here’s how to get your business listed on Google:
- Sign in to a Google Account
- Log in to Google My Business
- Enter the name of your business
- Choose a primary business category
- Add your business address
- Specify service areas (Only for Service Area Businesses)
- Add your phone number and website
- Complete your listing
- Verify your Google My Business Listing
1. Sign in to a Google Account
To manage or create a Google My Business Listing, you’ll need a to login to a Google Account. This is just an email…
If you don’t have one, just create a Gmail account – it’s free.
2. Log in to Google My Business
After logging in to a Google Account, head over to the Google My Business Account creation.
And choose “Manage Now”…
This will start the next steps of creating a new Google My Business Listing…
3. Enter the name of your business
Next, you’ll enter the name of your business.
Here’s (about) what you should see…
This field has an autocomplete feature to help determine if a listing already exists. If your business name pre-populates, this means that there’s a pre-existing listing. Instead of creating a duplicate, you’ll want to claim the listing that already exists.
After continuing, you’ll just confirm the business name.
Now is a good time to consider NAP (Name, Address, Phone) info, which influences local rankings.
Pro Tip: To improve chances of ranking your Google My Business Listing, you’ll want to make sure that NAP information is consistent, which can be done by storing the data in this spreadsheet for easy copy & pasting.
Next, we’ll be adding a business category…
4. Choose a primary business category
The Google My Business categories are the biggest ranking factor.
After choosing a primary Google my Business category, it is possible to add up to 9 secondary categories.
Pro Tip: Since these categories influence what keywords a Google My Business listing is show for, it’s extremely worthwhile invest some time into setting these. This includes and performing a Google My Business Audit
These categories should accurately reflect your business and it’s services, and can be changed at any time to reflect seasonality or other changes.
4. Add your business address
If your business has a physical location where customers can visit, choose the appropriate option…
Afterwards, just enter the business’s address.
If there isn’t a physical location where customers can visit, select “no.”
This applies to Service Area Businesses (also called SABs), meaning that the business delivers goods and services to customers.
All Services Area Businesses are eligible to specify service areas…
5. Specify service areas (Only for Service Area Businesses)
Specifying service areas increases relevancy, so be as detailed as possible here in order to have a completely optimized Google My Business Listing.
Adding service areas influences a listing’s eligibility to be shown in different cities, and it’s possible to list up to 20.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of the service areas, align them with business goals. Focus on a broader service area, and then get as granular as possible by listing additional cities and zip codes within the target service area.
These fields can either be a County, specific City within a County, or a specific Zip Code.
7. Add your phone number and website
In order to be eligible for verification, Google requires that either a phone number or website are present.
If your business does not have a website, I strongly recommend creating one as part of a Local SEO strategy.
Once this information has been entered, you should receive this message…
Now, we’re going to add some additional business information.
8. Complete Your Listing
This is the home stretch (almost done).
On average, businesses that have completed Google My Business profiles receive more visibility and customer engagement.
This includes adding some additional business information…
Add Business Hours
To add business hours to a Google My Business Listing, select the “info” tab.
Then enter the business hours…
Add A Business Description
Although business descriptions are unlikely to contribute rankings, it does contribute to profile completion.
No, adding keywords here will not give you any major rankings boost. Instead, focus on writing a quality Google My Business description.
But this information is visible in search, and should be used to provide additional context about your business that makes it unique and why they should choose you.
Add Business Logo
Adding a logo to your Google My Business also contributes to profile completion.
A logo can be added using the “Photos” tab.
The logo will then be visible on your listing in Google Search.
Just like this…
It’s important to upload high quality photos to represent your brand.
Pro Tip: Uploading photos can improve local rankings, and there are several guidelines on how to upload photos to Google My Business for search engine optimization.
Once this has been completed, there’s just one more step before verifying the listing.
Add An Opening Date
Google has a field specifically for an opening date…
Setting this can help establish uniqueness for business with multiple locations, and also help businesses appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Once the Google My Business profile is 100% complete, it’s ready to verify…
9. Verify your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business Listings that are verified will be eligible to show in Google Search.
The most common method for Google My Business verification is by postcard.
Just enter the mailing address…
Using this method, a postcard from Google will be sent to the address provided within 5 business days.
It’s also possible to verify a Google My Business by phone or email, but this is generally not available for new listings to prevent spam (fake profiles).
How to track rankings
Now that you’ve set up your Google My Business listing and it is visible on Google Search, I recommend tracking it’s performance.
This means tracking keyword rankings in Local Pack.
One of the best tools for this is Local Viking’s GeoGrid Tracker, which provides a visualization of rankings in a set service area.
They also have a complete dashboard for managing Google My Business.
Taking the next steps…
After collecting some data, it’s time to optimize your Google My Business Listing.
- Adding photos and video on a regular basis.
- Using the Google My Business Q&A feature
- Creating Google My Business Posts for business updates
- Adding products and services to GMB
- Generate a Google My Business URL to get reviews from customers
If you’re still unsure, use this Google My Business Audit Template to improve your listing. The creation and setup of a Google My Business profile is just scratching the surface of a Local SEO strategy, but this step-by-step Google My Business guide should help ensure that you’re on the right track.
Happy SEO-ing 🙂