If your business page appears in Google Search or Google Maps, you can edit your page information in Google My Business. This article explores the origins, use cases, and benefits of Google My Business. We’ll show you how your Google My Business profile appears to customers on Google Search and Google Maps, how you can change that information, and how you can reach potential customers directly on Google Maps or Google Search.
The Evolution of Google My Business
Once upon a time, Google Maps as we know it today did not exist. Madness, right? What’s even crazier is that in the beginning there were two products, Google Maps and Google Local. Also, there were apps like Hotpot, Google Places, Google+, maybe you remember some of them? All these applications have evolved into what we know today as Google Maps and Google My Business.
It all started in 2004 when Google Local was released as an improved version of Yellow Pages. It showed users the name, address, and phone number of businesses, as well as their maps, directions, and web pages.
In February 2005, the maps were released into a separate product called Google Maps. But in the infinite wisdom of Google, by October 2005 the maps were merged back into Google Local… And then changed the name to Google Maps in 2006.
By 2009, elements of Google My Business began to take shape. Google Places Pages have appeared, allowing businesses to manage their own listings.
It would seem that we are almost there, but Google has managed to fit at least half a dozen failed products into it, such as Hotpot, Google Places, Google Places Pages, Google+ Pages and Google+ Local. All of them hardly deserve a mention.
In June 2014, Google My Business launched as we know it today. It is a product that allows businesses to manage information in one place for all Google business credentials.
Today, businesses can manage their Google My Business profile on both desktop and mobile devices using browsers and apps. Before we get into the features, let’s see if GMB is right for you
Can your business use Google My Business?
The short answer is yes. Even if you don’t create a Google My Business profile, there is already information about your business from users. Your business profile is updated when someone takes an action, such as leaving a review, asking a question, or uploading a photo.
Therefore, controlling your Google My Business profile and curating the content that appears on your Google My Business listing is essential to ensure that the right information about your business is shared online.
Are You eligible for Google My Business?
Google My Business lists only businesses that have a physical location that customers can visit. Any online-only businesses, or types of businesses that operate at an address that does not belong to them, cannot be included in the list.
This means that rentals and sales of real estate, and classes and meetings held at locations not owned by your company, are not eligible to be listed on Google My Business.
You probably shouldn’t break the rules, as attempting to claim a listing that doesn’t belong to you or using your GMB profile as a platform for fraudulent or illegal activity will result in your account being suspended and removed from Google search results. Blimey!
How does your business look to customers?
Google My Business permits you to deal with your presence on Google Search and Google Guides.
It’s important to know what your business listing looks like because many of your customers will find you through searching for your business on one of these Google products.
How your Google My Business profile appears in Google search
When your business appears in Google search, users will see it prominently on the right. Your top photo and title will probably be the first thing people notice.
Directly below your business name are three call-to-action buttons: Website, Referrals, and Save. Clicking the “Save” button will add a custom icon for your business to Google Maps for that user.
Below, users will see your rating and reviews, as well as basic information about your business. The Online Reviews section displays your ratings from other sites. Facebook, for example, provides a ranking based on the ratings on your Facebook Page.
If you keep scrolling, users can see popular times based on your location’s traffic, which indicates peak hours. Below is probably the most important section – Reviews, which displays some of your best reviews.
Last but not least, links to your social profiles. This gives you the opportunity to drive traffic to your pages. On Google Maps, your business listing will look similar, but with a few differences.
How your Google My Business profile shows up on Google Guides
There are two types of people in this world: those who search for businesses on Google Search and those who are going to search directly on Google Maps. Instead of your top photos, the user will see your cover photo, along with your business name, your rating and number of reviews, and your business category.
Similar to Google search, below are call-to-action buttons. These are “Directions”, “Save”, “Nearby”, “Send to Phone” and “Share”. Most of them are self-explanatory, with the exception of the Nearby button, which shows nearby businesses.
When your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps, you’ll want to make sure that all of the information on your profile is correct. To do this, you need to take control of your Google My Business listing.
Managing your Google My Business profile
Adding information and images to your business profile increases your online visibility and helps your potential customers get the information they need. However, before you can set up your profile, you must claim and verify ownership of your business.
Claim and proof of ownership of your business
When you create a new business profile through your Google account, you claim your business under the name and address you choose. You can choose whether you want your business location to appear on Google Maps or remain private. If your business is already listed on Google Maps, you have the option to claim your business.