A guide to Google My Business

A beginner’s guide to Google My Business

Back in 2010, Google launched Google Places, allowing small businesses to put themselves on the map. Many companies set up Google Places listings, alongside Google+ pages; this meant they could acquire reviews and people could become advocates for the businesses they liked, sharing them and their stories with their circles.

Last year, Google got rid of Google Places and things got a little bit more complicated. They created Google+ and Google Local, to integrate the old system and create a new platform that incorporated all of this; Google My Business.

This was launched in June 2014, although it has taken a few months to roll out for all users. The change has resulted in a few challenges for businesses that were using Google+ and Google Places before the change. So off the back of much sleuthing, we thought we’d create a “Google My Business Beginner’s Guides” to help you get on top of the changes for your business.

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Google My Business – if you are starting a fresh

If you are starting a fresh and have never used Google Local or Google+ for your business before, you are in luck. It is really easy to set up a Google My Business account, verify your Local page and link it to your Google+ page. To read Google’s guide on how to do this, click here.

 

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For the rest of you, here’s a small explanation of the new platform. Google My Business (GMB) is basically a dashboard that connects everything together, it looks different from what we have seen before but once you get the hang of it it’s really straightforward.

When searching for your business in Google you will see information on the right hand side including your company name, a map, address, contact details, opening hours, reviews, any images associated with your business and your most recent post on Google+. This is all governed by the information you put into GMB, so it’s a good idea to make sure everything is correct.

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GMB also controls the information that appears under your listing on Google, this includes the link to your Google+ page. The dashboard links your Google+ page to your Google Local listing and lets everyone know your company is a verified Local Business as well as having a verified website link. This is shown by two ticks on your Google+ page.

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With Google My Business you can see and respond to reviews, see analytics for your page and even download an app allowing you to manage your business on the go.

Google+

If you already have a Google+ page, it’s a good idea to make sure that your website is verified. This verifies that you are the owner of your Google+ page and is really easy to do. You will need to send a snippet of code to your web developer, which needs to be embedded in your website. Google will prompt you for this when you log into the Google My Business dashboard and your profile will not show as complete until this is done.

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Google+ Local

If you already own a Google Local listing you will need to get it verified, again, Google will prompt you for this and it involves receiving a code from Google either through your registered address or phone number.

To set up a new Google Local listing you will need to go to the Pages dashboard in Google+, then click on “Get your page”. Google My Business will then ask you to choose a business type and type in your business name, follow the steps from there to create your Local page and go through the verification process. You will need your company phone number, website address, opening hours, address and some photos to complete your listing but don’t worry about a profile picture as this will pull through from your Google+ page when you link the two together.

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Once you have a verified Google+ page and a verified Google Local page you are left with a Google+ Local page, a page that has linked everything together. To do this you will need to go to the pages section of Google+ and select “Manage this page” for the Google Local listing. Under settings there is the subtitle “Profile” here you will see “Connect a different page” and you can select your Google+ page.

When you return to the Pages Dashboard you will see a page called “Backup of…” you can delete this page by following these steps.

Deleting a Google+ or Google Local page that doesn’t belong to you

We have found that a large number of companies have Google+ or Google Local pages that nobody seems to manage or know the logins to. If you can’t access a listing for your business, for whatever reason, there is still a way to get rid of it and start a fresh.

The first option is to request ownership of the page. This is a good idea if the page has good reviews about your business. You can do this by attempting to create a Google Local listing, (following the steps above). When you see your business on the list, click on it and then on the link “Request admin rights”. This will send a message to the administrator of that page and they can contact you to allow you to become the page owner.

Alternatively, you can report the page for impersonating your business. This is easy to do but you will need to provide some proof that you are a business representative, by providing ID. Do this by going to the page you are trying to gain control of, reporting it and follow the steps.

I have more than one location for my business

If you have more than one location for your business, you will need a separate Google+ Local page for each. All of these pages can be seen from your dashboard and controlled, although it might mean that you need to post the same information to all of the pages. A quick and easy way to do this would be through Hootsuite.

If you have more than 10 businesses you will be able to use a special dashboard especially for companies with a high number of locations.

Google is a company that is ever changing the way its products work. From an SME’s point of view, this can be frustrating and it sometimes feels like as soon as you get to grips with a new tweak, it’s changed again. Despite this, once you understand how Google’s products work they are relatively easy to get along with. Google also have a huge volume of help guides for most problems that you might come across, so it’s a good idea to check there before giving up completely. Good luck!

 

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