Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. If you verify and edit your business information, you can both help customers find your business and provide them with helpful information like hours of operation and key services—like if you are a restaurant, whether you offer Dine-In, Takeout, and Delivery.
What is Google My Business?
- In Google My Business (GMB) a local business can have an enhanced search or Maps listing in Google search results. These listings are mainly for businesses with a physical location. A business with a service area may also be listed, but the rules are different (see “How Does Google My Business Work?”, below).
- GMB results normally show in regular searches below the ads in the “map pack.” Image #1 is an example of the “map pack” which features three business listings.
- While searches from mobile devices usually display similarly to desktop, they are not exactly the same. Mobile searches are driven by the searcher’s phone location and normally include search results of businesses within close proximity.
- GMB results mainly show in Google Maps searches (Image #1). GMB listings may also show in a regular Google search.
- GMB results can also show as a Knowledge Panel. A Knowledge Panel will display associated information about a business like the phone number, website, url, operation hours and related items (Image #2).
- The Knowledge Panel shows only on desktop searches and is slowly being phased out in favor of a more uniform desktop and mobile search experience.
How does Google My Business work?
- A business will have a listing based on either a physical address OR a service area. Image #1 is an example of a store with a physical location.
- Several factors determine if a business will show a specific search result, including Proximity, Relevance, and Prominence.
- The strongest of these ranking factors will be Proximity. Google will nearly always show you physical places that are nearby.
- A service area business (SAB) is one that delivers or provides services over a specific area. Image #2 is an example of a SAB. SAB examples include roofers, plumbers, HVAC, and other home services.
- Google has historically shown a preference for physical address businesses over Service Area Businesses.
How do I verify my business with Google My Business?
- If a business has no reviews or reviews that have not been responded to, this is an indicator it may not be verified.
- If a business is not yet verified, Google will give the business options to start the claiming process.
- To claim a business, log into Google My Business and add your business to your GMB dashboard/account.
- If the business does not yet have a listing, create a new listing in the GMB Dashboard. Enter the relevant info, including official business name, address, and phone number.
- Once you enter the necessary information, GMB will give you verification options.
- Most often GMB will send you a physical postcard with a verification code to confirm your business listing and address.
- Once you receive the postcard, enter the code into your GMB dashboard to verify your listing.
- After the correct code is entered, Google will review the listing before it goes live. The review normally is automated and will be complete in a couple of hours.
- If the postcard does not arrive in 10 days, you can request a second one.
- Verification via automated phone call, email, or video are also possible.
- Do not use a PO Box, UPS store, or virtual office. Google WILL remove these business listings if discovered or reported.
Why is Google My Business important?
- It’s important to create a business listing for EVERY physical business location you have to help drive traffic, leads, and ultimately sales.
- A GMB listing can give a business a highly placed listing in search results AND a great opportunity to build customer trust and awareness.
- Verifying a listing gives a business control over their GMB listing so you can make changes as necessary and respond to customer reviews.