How To Set Up A Google My Business Listing

Last Updated: September 15, 2020

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.

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 localized searches, Google (almost) always provides localized results.

An Example of Google's Local Pack Results for the keyword, "denver colorado dentist"

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:

  1. Sign in to a Google Account
  2. Log in to Google My Business
  3. Enter the name of your business
  4. Choose a primary business category
  5. Add your business address
  6. Specify service areas (Only for Service Area Businesses)
  7. Add your phone number and website
  8. Complete your listing
  9. 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…

Google Account login screen.

If you don’t have one, just create a Gmail account – it’s free.

Google account creation screen.

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”…

Managing a business on Google.

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…

Adding a new business to Google.

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.

Confirming the business name during the Google My Business setup process.

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.

Selecting a primary Google My Business category upon listing creation.

After choosing a primary Google my Business category, it 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 finding competitor categories and performing a Google My Business Audit

These categories should accurately reflect your business and it’s services, and can be changed at anytime 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…

Choosing to add a physical store or office for a Google My Business.

Afterwards, just enter the business’s address.

Setting address information for a new listing.

If there isn’t a physical location where customers can visit, select “no.”

Not setting a physical location or address for a new Google Listing.

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.

Selecting a service areas upon listing creation.

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 service areas, align them with business goals. Focus on a broader service area, and then get a 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.

Adding a phone number and website to a new Google Listing

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…

A notification to continue managing and adding information to Google My Business.

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.

Google My Business Listing Completion Status

This includes adding some additional business information…

Add Business Hours

To add business hours to a Google My Business Listing, select the “info” tab.

Adding business hours to a Google My Business Profile.

Then enter the business hours…

Add A Business Description

Although business descriptions don’t directly improve rankings, it does contribute to profile completion.

Adding a business description to a upon creating a new Google My Business Profile.

No, adding keywords here will not increase the likelihood of rankings.

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.

Adding a business logo and cover photo.

The logo will then be visible on your listing in Google Search.

Just like this…

An example of a Google My Business Listing displaying for a branded search.

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…

Adding an opening date to a new Google My Business Listing.

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 notification that a Google My Business Listing is not verified, and not eligible to show in Google Search.

The most common method for Google My Business verification is by postcard.

Just enter the mailing address…

Entering a mailing address for listing verification.

Using this method, a postcard from Google will be sent to the address provided within 5 business days.

Choosing to verify a Google My Business Listing by postcard

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 setup your Google My Business listing and it’s 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.

Tracking Local Pack Rankings with Local Viking

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.

This includes:

  • 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 Google Reviews from customers

If you’re still unsure, use insights provided by a Google My Business audit 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 your’re on the right track.

Happy SEO-ing 🙂